[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
It’s the time of year to take a look back—and that’s just what the journal Science did as they listed their most important breakthroughs of 2008. At the very top of their list: reprogramming cells. Scientists were able to successfully transform cells from ill patients into stem cells. This is important in understanding exactly how cells develop, and it could be a crucial step in finding a way to treat disease by using a patient’s own cells.
A few other top achievements of 2008:
-For the first time, scientists have been able to actually see planets orbiting a distant star.
-A team discovered a catalyst that can facilitate using electricity to split water into hydrogen for a fuel cell.
-An entirely new family of high-temperature superconductors was discovered.
-And there’s been a genome sequencing bonanza, as new techniques make the process faster and cheaper. Mitochondrial genomes sequenced this year include extinct cave bears and most of a wooly mammoth. Not to mention a first draft of the full DNA sequence of a Neanderthal. Their genome sequence could explain why they could never sequence genomes.