Editors of Science name the biggest science advances of the year

This short video from Science magazine lists the editors’ picks of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of 2017. It’s generally okay (well, CRISPR antedates this year), but that bit about a new species of great ape‚a new orangutan—is bogus (see my take here and here).


  1. Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Is that the faith-based breakthroughs we see in the blank space beneath?

  2. Scientifik
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Just an FYI, they are talking about a new super-precise gene editing technique that is based on older CRISPR.


    • Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      The importance of this (reported here; https://www.nature.com/articles/nature24644) can not be understated. This development, built off the ground changing CRISPR, is a major, bigly big advancement.

      They engineered an enzyme, which doesn’t exist in nature, to precisely (>99.9% correct change) and accurately (>50% of the time) edit the Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) responsible for 48% of the known human pathogenic SNPs. Chinese scientists were able to do something similar to human embryos last year, but this is a significant improvement over their efforts and it will usher in a hugely potent and exciting new approach to all sorts of genetic pathologies.

      Hold on to your hats…

      • Janet
        Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Cannot be ‘overstated’ perhaps?

        • Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

          derp. Yes, of course.

  3. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    The neutron star collision continues to provide exciting data if I understand correctly. Last I heard they still had not seen the jets thought to be associated with them, weakly supporting a thrown off cocoon in earlier stage. (Or simply unlucky alignment between the event and us.)

    Also, the impact of the West Africa 0.3 Myrs anatomically modern human (or not) finds should be placed in context with near enough simultaneous publication of gene evidence for the same:

    “The deeper estimate for modern human divergence at 350,000-260,000 years ago coincides with the Florisbad and Hoedjiespunt fossils, contemporaries of the small-brained Homo naledi in southern Africa. “It now seems that at least two or three Homo species occupied the southern African landscape during this time period, which also represents the early phases of the Middle Stone Age,” says Marlize Lombard. It will be interesting to see in future if we find any evidence of interaction between these groups.

    “We did not find any evidence of deep structure or archaic admixture among southern African Stone Age hunter-gatherers, instead, we see some evidence for deep structure in the West African population, but that affects only a small fraction of their genome and is about the same age as the deepest divergence among all humans,” says Mattias Jakobsson.

    The authors also found that all current-day Khoe-San populations admixed with migrant East African pastoralists a little over a thousand years ago.”

    [ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170928142016.htm ]

    [Disclaimer: Author Mattias Jakobsson was one of my teachers in Population Genetic Analysis this year.]

  4. rickflick
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    For anyone who knows someone with breast cancer, or any other type, new treatment innovations are eagerly awaited coming from research labs. Progress has been rapid over the last 10 years. The new tumor oriented treatment is a welcome sign.

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