Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Year in Bioscience: 2007

Happy New Year readers! It's January 1st, an time for a round up of the end-of-the-year biology roundups.

Science Magazine's "Breakthrough of the Year" is our increased understanding of human genetic variation (more on this in a later post). Runners up include recent breakthroughs in cells and research that suggests our "brain's memory systems may splice together remembered fragments of past events to construct possible futures".

Nature's 2007 in Review looks at pluripotent stem cells made from skin cells and personal genomics (subscription required), and picks "next generation genetic sequencing" as the method of the year. They also round up some cool videos, including how to make a zombie cockroach, eels imitating Alien, speedy glowing squid, and the Celldance prizes.

Wired Science lists the top 10 organisms of the year, from red fluorescent cats to insulin-producing lettuce and bacteria that produce butanol.

Astrobiology Magazine reviews their top 10 stories of the year, including the recovery of DNA from ancient organisms, scientific evidence against the panspermia hypothesis, a look back to when fungi ruled the world, and an inventory of the water on Mars.

Scientific American reviews their top 25 science stories of 2007. Making the list: "Kill the Virus, Stop the Cancer", "Is Human Growth Hormone the Key to Eternal Youth?", "Did Neanderthals Talk?", "Human Stem Cell Breakthrough: No Embryos Required", "Primate Stem Cell Barrier Broken", "Personal Genetics: Within Spitting Distance?", and many others.

Not to be outdone, Discover Magazine lists the top 100 science stories of 2007. Included in the list: learning about consciousness from a man reawakened from a coma, alien planets, proteins recovered from a T. rex, transplant of a whole genome from one bacterial species to another, how to erase a single memory, and more.

I can't wait to see what 2008 brings!

Image: detail of image of an elephant seal with recording sensors on its head, from Nature News images of the year.

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