Genome project is voted top discovery

The decoding of the genetic information of life has been voted number one in the top 10 scientific discoveries of the year by editors of the journal
Science.

The decoding of the genetic information of life has been voted number one in the top 10 scientific discoveries of the year by editors of the journal Science.

A year ago, geneticists had managed to sequence fully the genome of just one multicellular organism - a microscopic worm. But by the end of 2000 they had added the genomes of the fruit fly, a plant and, most important of all, man.

Gene sequencing - when the DNA code is broken letter by letter - has also unravelled the digital language of the genes of several killer microbes, such as cholera and meningitis, holding out the hope of developing life-saving drugs. The top 10 scientific achievements of the year are chosen for their profound implications for society as well as for their importance in advancing scientific knowledge.

Genomics, the study of gene data, is now in "hyperdrive", Science says. "A new breed of computer-savvy biologists is hacking through the thickets of the DNA code, discovering not just genes but also other important bits of genetic material, and even evolutionary secrets," says an editorial in America's leading journal.

The advances in genomics will bring new insights into cancer, ageing and the immune system but will bring with them equally a host of ethical questions that society has only just begun to address, says Science.

Other breakthroughs:

* Discovering the structure 10 of the cell's protein factory, the microscopic ribosome.

* Making plastics that can conduct electricity, which may form the basis of revolutionary electronics of the future.

* Finding 1.7 million-year-old fossil skulls in the former Soviet republic of Georgia that may represent the first humans to live outside Africa.

* Advances in cloning technology and stem cell research, which promise new treatments for incurable illnesses and novel ways of saving endangered species.

* The completion of the most detailed map of the universe using high-altitude balloons.

* Isolating the receptor molecules that allow hormones to communicate with cells, leading to new targets for treating diseases.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'