Hemophilia often doesn’t make the news, but it really should. It’s rare, but debilitating and currently incurable. It’s not perfectly understood, and many suspected its two main types – A and B – would not be remedied for a long while.
Two groundbreaking studies this December, however, revealed that a cure may actually be around the corner after all. Using a specific type of virus to infect the patients in order to give them artificially engineered DNA strands, it was found that most participants experienced normal levels of blood clotting, and didn’t require their usual treatments to live their lives normally.
Make no mistake: This was a huge breakthrough, and normally cautious journal editorials lavished them with well-deserved praise.
It’s easy to see why the story of our own species enraptures us more than almost any other, whether it’s looking into our future or peering deep into our past. This year has seen a slew of new – and sometimes controversial discoveries – about our own species, including one that suggested our ancestors visited the Americas 100,000 years earlier than anyone previously thought.
One incontrovertible piece of research, however, tops this list: the discovery and subsequent re-dating of skeletal remains in the mountains of Morocco. After careful analysis, it was found that they were 350,000 years old, and belonged to our very own Homo sapiens. This means that the origin of humans has been definitively pushed back 100,000 years.
Like we said, it’s been difficult to pick. How about that interstellar asteroid that paid us a visit this winter? What about the dragon blood that may give us a new weapon in the fight against antibiotic resistance?
In any case, the real MVPs are the scientists themselves. Never have they worked harder, strived further, or stood up for their profession and the wonder of discovery like they have in 2017.
Science is, to put it simply, very hard. It cannot be summed up with one simple discovery, let alone a top 10 list like this. It’s often a long, slow process of self-correction; it’s a tiring quest to drag our entire world into the future, one step at a time.