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Science News

Top Scientific Breakthroughs of 2009 57

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the still-can't-cure-stupid dept.
Wired has posted their favorite scientific breakthroughs of the past year. The feats include things like the confirmation of element 114, a cancer-detecting breathalyzer, the power of jellyfish and more. What other discoveries should have made the list and what might we look forward to in 2010? "Also this year, researchers at the University of Washington cured two adult monkeys of colorblindness by giving them injections of a gene that produces pigments necessary for color vision. After the treatment, the animals scored higher on a computerized color blindness test. In the coming years, gene therapy will be tested as a remedy for all sorts of inherited diseases, cancer, viral infections and even high cholesterol."
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Top Scientific Breakthroughs of 2009

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 01, 2010 @11:18AM (#30614500)
  • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Friday January 01, 2010 @12:08PM (#30614786) Journal

    According to the article, he can't sell the wing-mirror in the USA because leglislation bans curved wing-mirrors, so he's going to have to try selling them in the EU instead. Why is there such legislation, anyone?
  • by drooling-dog (189103) on Friday January 01, 2010 @01:13PM (#30615124)

    With all due respect to the achievements heralded in the Wired article, the scientific paper that most blew me away in 2009 was Synthesis of activated pyrimidine ribonucleotides in prebiotically plausible conditions by Powner et.al. in the 14 May 2009 issue of Nature. The authors demonstrated an efficient synthesis of a phosphorylated ribonucleotide under mild conditions using only a small number of simple molecules likely to have been present in the "pre-biotic soup" of early Earth. The reaction is so facile that it would be surprising if it didn't occur given the presence of these molecules (cyanimide, cyanoacetylene, glycolaldehyde, glyceraldehyde, and inorganic phosphate). Because the products are activated ribonucleotides, they would have readily polymerized into something like RNA and quite probably the first self-replicating molecule.

    To me this was one of the biggest "missing links" in the story of how life might have arisen from simple organic molecules, and that scenario now seems like a slam-dunk. The rest, as they say, is history...

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