A lot of people won’t be sad to see 2017 go. Even though our culture is at an 11, underneath all the madness there have been some major scientific breakthroughs this year that show us that no matter what, we’re still moving in the right direction. There’s still hope!
From increasing mortality for premature babies to space exploration to literally drawing water from a stone, here are 10 of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of 2017.
1. Pour Me Another
Scientists have discovered a gene that makes some people more prone to drinking and craving alcohol. In studies, mice without the gene were more likely to drink water and those with were twice as likely to drink alcohol. Researchers hope to use the results to develop drugs to regulate alcohol consumption.
2. Make Mine Extra CRISPR
If you haven’t heard of CRISPR gene editing, chances are good you will in the next couple years. CRISPR is an abbreviation for “Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats,” and if you understand what that means, then you’re smarter than I am.
It’s basically a tool that allows scientists to edit genes inside the human body. Scientists claim that the cure for rare genetic diseases and even cancer may be within our grasp.
3. A Life Well Lived
With all the advances in science and medicine, some hypothesize that near-immortality will one day be within reach. Don’t get too excited about being around for the next time the Cubs win the World Series, though. Scientists this year figured out that the current maximum lifespan for a woman is 115.7 and 114.1 years for men.
4. Just Grow It
There have been huge strides made in growing human tissue (and even whole organs) in the lab. Semi-related, some researchers are exploring ways to make non-viable organs usable again, which would be pretty much a game changer all its own.
These breakthroughs could end the long waiting lists for organ replacements and help repair nerve damage.