What was the top breakthrough of 2021 according to Science readers?

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In summary, the original list of 10 candidates for Science's Top Ten list has been narrowed down to three: ancient soil DNA, in vivo CRISPR, and artificial intelligence-driven protein structure predictions. These three breakthroughs cover a wide range of fields, from understanding the history of species through DNA to using AI to predict protein structures and revolutionizing medical treatments with in vivo CRISPR. The winner, as chosen by both the editors at Science and the readers, is artificial intelligence-driven protein structure predictions. This breakthrough has been a long-standing goal in the field of computational biology and has the potential to greatly impact our understanding of basic biology and drug development.
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The original list of 10 candidates has now been parred down to 3.

The Science Top Ten list:

First footprints in the Americas?​

23,000-21,000 year old human footprints in New Mexico. (al local record)

Dragon Man skull​

Great looking old skull with a great backstory of it's discovery.
Maybe the first Denisovan skull found. Denisovans (Neanderthal relatives) are mostly known from their genome rather than their skeleton.

Ancient soil DNA​

Identifying what species lived in a cave from the DNA they shed there.

The homeland of horses​

Where the ancestors of domesticated horses came from.
Here's a thread on it.

In vivo CRISPR​

Shooting specific Crispr's into sick people to make them better.

A psychedelic PTSD remedy​

Using psychodelic drugs to treat PTSD.

Early human development​

Mouse embryos in a jar for studies.

Powerful pills for COVID-19​

Anti-covid meds.

Measuring muon magnetism​

Something's a little off, but a big deal maybe.
Physic Pholk can better talk about this than me.

Uncovering Mars’s core​

A seismometer on Mars shows some internal structure. (I like this one. I find the geological history of Mars interestingly weird.)

Artificial intelligence predicts proteins​

The long quest to be able to predict 3-D protein structure from their sequence.
This is a big problem in computational biology.
It seems to rapidly becoming solved.

If fulfilled, this will extend a bottom-up understanding of biology from sequences to detailed structure-function assembly of biologically designed proteins. Reproducibly, making large chemical structures that do biologically important things.

To me this is the most important breakthrough!

Fusion’s day in the Sun​

Fusion reactors are getting closer to breaking even.The final three are:

Ancient soil DNA​

In vivo CRISPR​

Artificial intelligence predicts proteins​


You can vote on Twitter.
Please cast your vote, via Twitter poll, by Monday, 13 December at 9 a.m. EST. The winner will be announced on the Science website at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, 16 December, the same day Science will reveal its own pick for Breakthrough of the Year.
 
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Fusion reactors are getting closer to breaking even.
Still, how many years/decades away?
 
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I think your #10 brands you a wild -eyed optimist.
 
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Both the editors at Science and the readers chose protein structure prediction as Science's breakthrough of the year:
In his 1972 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, American biochemist Christian Anfinsen laid out a vision: One day it would be possible, he said, to predict the 3D structure of any protein merely from its sequence of amino acid building blocks. With hundreds of thousands of proteins in the human body alone, such an advance would have vast applications, offering insights into basic biology and revealing promising new drug targets. Now, after nearly 50 years, researchers have shown that artificial intelligence (AI)-driven software can churn out accurate protein structures by the thousands—an advance that realizes Anfinsen’s dream and is Science’s 2021 Breakthrough of the Year.
https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.acz9822

People’s Choice
Our readers weigh in with their picks for the top breakthrough this year
For the first time since 2018, your winner was our winner! This year’s race for the People’s Choice award—an annual honor chosen by Science readers—was tight, with three finalists running neck and neck in the last week of voting on Twitter: ancient soil DNA, CRISPR gene editing in the body, and artificial intelligence–powered protein structure predictions.
But after a final surge of support for ancient soil DNA and more than 2100 votes cast, AI-powered protein structure predictions—Science’s 2021 Breakthrough of the Year—kicked it into capture the gold.
This year’s breakthrough was itself predicted in 2020, when it appeared as a runner-up. Since then, the field has exploded, with AI able to predict not only protein structures, but also how they form complexes and interact.
Protein structure predictions 39%
Ancient soil DNA 34%
In vivo CRISPR 27%
https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.acz9823
 
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Related to What was the top breakthrough of 2021 according to Science readers?

What is the "Breakthrough of the Year 2021"?

The "Breakthrough of the Year 2021" is an annual recognition given by prominent scientific journals to a significant scientific discovery or development that has the potential to greatly impact the field of science.

Who decides the "Breakthrough of the Year"?

The "Breakthrough of the Year" is decided by a panel of experts and editors from various scientific journals, including Nature, Science, and Cell. They review and discuss the most notable scientific advancements of the year before selecting one as the breakthrough.

What criteria are used to select the "Breakthrough of the Year"?

The selection of the "Breakthrough of the Year" is based on the potential impact of the discovery or development on the field of science, the level of novelty and originality, and the significance of the findings. The panel also considers the quality and impact of the research and the potential for future advancements.

Has the "Breakthrough of the Year 2021" been announced?

As of now, the "Breakthrough of the Year 2021" has not been announced. The selection process typically takes place in December and the announcement is made in January of the following year.

What were some previous "Breakthroughs of the Year"?

Some previous "Breakthroughs of the Year" include the first direct detection of gravitational waves in 2016, the development of CRISPR gene editing technology in 2015, and the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012. These breakthroughs have had a significant impact on their respective fields and have garnered worldwide attention and recognition.

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