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What Was Named Science's Top Breakthrough of the Year?


Each year the American Association for Advancement in Science names a top 10 list of scientific breakthroughs for the year. This year, a study finding that taking antiretroviral drugs helped reduce transmission of the disease by 96 percent took top honors.

This finding, AAAS states, ended a long debate over whether taking antiretroviral drugs could not only benefit the patient with the virus but also act as a preventative measure by cutting transmission. Research from the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine in Chapel Hill and an international team of colleagues found that the drugs can act as treatment and prevention when it comes to HIV.

Here are the runners-up from Science magazine:

  • Hayabusa, Japan's spacecraft, solved the mystery of the source of Earth's most common meteorites.
  • Most humans have DNA that is evidence of "ancient interbreeding" with Neanderthals. (Read The Blaze blog post where Bill Clinton jokes that he's part Neanderthal.)
  • Japanese researcher map Photosystem II, a protein in photosynthesis.
  • Observation of pristine clouds of hydrogen gas, which scientists speculate could be left over from the big bang.
  • Discovery of three different enterotypes, types of bacteria ecosystems, in the human gut.
  • Human trials of malarial vaccine RTS,S show more promising results.
  • Discovery of hundreds of exoplanets, some of which have been compared to Earth in temperature and size. (Find more Blaze articles on these discoveries here.)
  • New, cheaper methods for customizing the size or pores and membranes of zeolites, material used for absorption in commercial applications such as water purification and laundry detergents.
  • "Dead cells", those that are no longer dividing contribute to aging of other cells. Removing these cells could help humans live healthier, longer lives. (Read more on this research in this Blaze article.)
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