Top Ten Scientific Breakthroughs of 2007

by VR Sreeraman on  December 31, 2007 at 6:01 PM Research News   - G J E 4
Top Ten Scientific Breakthroughs of 2007
The development of a procedure to turn skin cells into stem cells has been named the biggest scientific breakthrough of the year by science journal Wired News.

Research teams from Kyoto University and the University of Wisconsin coaxed a type of skin cell called fibroblasts into forming muscle, heart, fat and nerve tissues without using any eggs.

Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University even revealed a procedure to prevent the lab-grown skin from becoming cancerous.

Another discovery that female chimpanzees make spears for hunting smaller mammals was termed the second biggest groundbreaking work. The discovery was made by two anthropologists— Jill Pruetz of Iowa State University and Paco Bertolani of Cambridge.

Third on the list was top breakthroughs of 2007 was excavation and scanning of a nearly intact plant-eating dinosaur by palaeontologists from England's University of Manchester. The fossilized hadrosaur was preserved by minerals for over 65 million years.

University of Copenhagen researchers' method to convert any kind of blood into Type O, which almost every person on Earth can tolerate, was named fourth biggest breakthrough. The procedure implicates enzymes that shear the problem-causing sugars from the surfaces of A, B and AB type red blood cells.

Wrapping up the top five was Wellcome Trust-affiliated researchers' study of mice that produced evidence that Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder that afflicts one in every 10,000 female births, might be curable.

This was followed by the analysis of the soft tissue from a 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. The researchers had concluded that the deadly predator had a lot in common with chickens.

Seventh on the list was the creation of transparent material as strong as steel by University of Michigan engineers, while a study suggesting that red dwarf star Gliese 581 may harbour life came in eighth.

Cloning of a Rhesus Monkey to produce stem cells at Oregon Health and Science University was the ninth top groundbreaking work of the year.

Intel's new technology, codenamed Penryn, which can help make millions of switches on very small microprocessors wrapped up the top ten. The technique, which involves an element called hafnium, may increase energy efficiency.

Wired News' Top 10 breakthroughs of 2007:

1. Researchers turn skin cells to stem cells

2.  Chimpanzees make spears for hunting

3.  Mummified dinosaur excavated and scanned

4.  Enzymes convert any blood type to O

5.  Laboratory mice cured of Rett Syndrome

6.  Soft tissue from T. Rex leg bone analyzed

7.  Engineers create transparent material as strong as steel

8.  Planet that may harbor life discovered

9.  Rhesus monkey cloned to produce stem cells

10.  Transistors get way smaller

Source: ANI

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