15 DNA Science Events of 2015

Here are the 15 DNA science events that captured our imagination in 2015. Enjoy!

  1. 5 January – Scientists from the US and UK have mapped the genome of the bowhead whale and identified genes responsible for its 200-year lifespan, the longest of any mammal.
  2. 7 January – In a world first, researchers from New Zealand have observed mitochondrial DNA moving between cells in mice and triggering cancer growth.
  3. 9 February – Researchers have extracted isopropanol fuel from genetically engineered bacteria and solar-powered catalysts, achieving the same efficiency as photosynthesis.
  4. 3 March – NASA reports that, for the first time, complex DNA and RNA organic compounds of life, including uracil, cytosine and thymine, have been formed in the laboratory under outer space conditions.
  5. 19 March – Scientists report on a genetic modification that can spread much quicker than conventional genetics would allow, copying itself to other chromosomes with CRISPRs. Possible applications include malaria-resistant mosquitos.
  6. 19 March – Scientists, including an inventor of CRISPR, urge a worldwide moratorium on using gene editing methods to genetically engineer the human genome in a way that can be inherited.
  7. 22 MarchDNA from the extinct woolly mammoth is spliced into that of an elephant and shown to be functional for the first time.
  8. 18 April – Researchers in China publish results of basic research using CRISPR to edit genes in non-viable human embryos.
  9. 30 April – Progeria researchers have shown how the disorganisation of DNA contributes to the cell disorder and is linked to aspects of aging.
  10. 8 July – Scientists announce a project, as part of the Global Genome Initiative, to sample and freeze DNA from half of the world’s plant species within two years.
  11. 7 October – Tomas Lindahl, Paul L. Modrich and Aziz Sancar win the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for explaining “the basic mechanisms that help to guard the integrity of our genomes.”
  12. 11 November – Scientists report finding a 110,000-years-old tooth fossil containing DNA from Denisovan hominid, an extinct species of human in the genus Homo.
  13. 19 November – For the first time, the FDA approves genetically modified salmon for human consumption.
  14. 23 November – The genome of the tardigrade is published, revealing that 17.5% is foreign DNA (from other organisms). It is the only animal known to survive in the vacuum of space.
  15. 3 December – Scientists of major world academies call for a moratorium on inheritable human genome edits, including those related to CRISPR-Cas9 technologies.

For a complete listing and references, please visit Wikipedia.

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