May you live in interesting times was an apt way to describe 2018. Science seemed take a lot of heat from politics and pop culture, but managed once again to launch a pretty good counter offensive with headline-worthy discoveries and breakthroughs.
Our editing and writing elves are taking a bit of a holiday breather from the latest news, and instead offer this whirlwind tour of the year that was. Our next newsletter will light up your Inbox in mid-January with another edition of Genomics in Society.
All the best for 2019 from all of us at Genome Alberta!
The future arrived in 2018 because PC World has decided to review the best direct-to-consumer testing kits in the marketplace. There is an explainer on what DNA testing is and the criteria they used for the review. Their choices are broken down into multiple categories including Best bang-for-your-buck, Best DNA kit for genealogy, Best kit for privacy, and Best DNA kit. There is even an ‘at-a-glance’ summary much like the magazine does for tech equipment.
Science Media Centre in New Zealand went for the biggest national and international science stories that made headlines down under.
Gene therapy for blindness, bigger brains and bigger cancer risk, scientific fraud, quantum processor used in genetic study, and of course the CRISPR babies all find a spot in this 2 minute video from Technology Networks
. You can also find more details on each story.
Science for the People
is a long-format interview program heard on many radio stations in Canada and the U.S. and is available online. The program explores the connections between science, popular culture, history, and public policy now and into our future. This 60 minute podcast included writers from Science News
to come up with the best stories of the year.
Gizmodo is all about technology and the site knows how to dig into tech while having a little fun at the same time. What Facebook knew and when, size creates competition, and AI, all find a spot in Gizmodo’s pointed poke at some of the big tech developments of the last 12 months.
Strange diets and misinformation has made for an interesting few years in the health information realm. ConscienHealth
is a website focused on obesity and health. It took a look back at 2018 to see what stood out as making the grade or needing further investigation. The site also served up “The Biggest Whoppers of 2018 in Health and Obesity”.
Health News Review uses independent reviewers to look at health related articles and, much like a film or book reviewer, gives them an objective review. Stories which make a specific claim about the efficacy of drugs, medical tests, diet advice, supplements etc, are chosen for a review and reviewers use set criteria to analyze the content. Apart from the reviews, the site also has a regular podcast which provides greater insight into some of the issues facing healthcare today. In this 20 minute podcast, some of the more memorable moments around precision medicine, Alzheimer’s cures, and ‘science-ploitation’ are collected in a very listenable production.
This is the 5th year for the citation list which has grown to include 4,058 researchers. U.S. researchers are represented the most often, followed by the UK, and mainland China. Canada comes in at a distant 7th but not bad in a list of 80 countries. The link offers a sortable list of the results.
Even when other stories had the better part of a year’s worth of momentum, November’s news about gene-edited babies managed to make it into second spot in Science News’
year-end list. Genetic genealogy to track down criminals, genetic tools to eradicate mosquitoes, and climate chage were also considered noteworthy. Each heading includes a link to a full story.
We’ll stick with Science News
for one more list. This one covers the favorite science books of 2018
from the site’s writers and editors. They said it was a “banner year for science books”.
Trust Vox to come up with a unique headline to cover fat bears, a new standard for the kilogram, and the power of trees. Vox is an interesting online site with a range of stories that appeals to an eclectic audience. They also have a decent stable of writers to get the job done. Check out their year-end offering and then check back in the New Year for more from the folks at Vox.
There is some truth to the expression “follow the money” so why not look at some of the companies leading the biotech pack in the past year to get some idea of where the sector is headed. Genetic Engineering and Biotech News
ranked companies by their market capitalization as of October 30, 2018. The story has a lot of pop-up ads – another case of following the money….
Lists to cap off the year that just flew by also need the support of crystal ball gazers. Wired magazine
turned to some of the top science and technology talent to see what lies ahead. No flying cars or floating cities are on the horizon – but we can look forward to enhancing our senses, monetizing motherhood, and top notch fake videos.
also looked over the horizon with its look into "A Crystal Ball: Some Healthcare Predictions For 2019."
The New York Times
has a feature which summarizes new highlights throughout the year whether it is the NFL, history or politics. The end of the year versions are always worth reading. When the editors opened up their story files in science
they chose gene editing, ants and our genetic legacy to name a few. The medical files
coughed up conflicts of interest, flu shots, and hemophilia, while the climate change files
had almost too much information to choose from. Each section has additional links to the featured content so you can drill down as much as you need to. Just try not to run out of your NYT free stories!
Round up of the most-read stories related to food science and research from the year gone by. This list was compiled by Food Navigator
which is a website covering food & beverage development & technology in the Asia-Pacific region. If your research interests need some market context, this is a quick tour of important trends.
And if you are wondering what food trends lie ahead, this Washington Post
story reminds you that there is a “little science to predicting food trends — but there’s a lot of guesswork, too”.
The good news is that more than 100 new plant species were found but The Guardian
story comes with a warning that extinction may be near for many new discoveries. In addition to the new plants, 44 new fungi are making it into the databases. There is even a new species of allspice! At the other end of the size scale is a new rainforest tree which will tower over the allspice by 24 metres. BBC also covered the new finding with its "The secret life of plants: Ten new species found this year"
Labiotech is an online site covering the European Biotechnology Industry. Some of the site’s content is presented in the form of a Q & A with experts in the field. This roundup includes industry leaders specializing in CAR-T cell and gene therapies, anti-Alzheimer’s disease drugs, more effective pain relievers, and biomaterials from spider silk.
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