Regulation genetic editionreviewing biosafety management in laboratories and finding new mechanisms to mitigate changing of the climateHere are some of the scientific achievements that will begin in 2019, reports the prestigious journal Nature.
Over the next year, genetics will continue to deal with the consequences of the statement by the Chinese researcher He Jiankui that he helped produce the world's first genetically modified children. The researchers hope to confirm whether Jiankui changed the genes of two embryos, which resulted in two twins. After protests from the international scientific community, scientists will try to uncover any potential side effects of this process and create a framework to ensure that any future efforts to edit the human hereditary DNA – eggs, sperm or embryos – Responsible and regulated.
By the middle of the year, the World Health Organization plans to complete a major revision of its Laboratory Biosafety Manual, the first since 2004. The widely used guidelines describe best practices for safely managing pathogens such as Ebola. Reviews will pay more attention to creating risk assessments for specific sites and experiments, as well as to improve management, practice and training of laboratory personnel.
Another problem that bothers is Changing of the climate As carbon emissions increase in 2019, the first experiments may appear, clearly aimed at understanding how to artificially cool the planet using a practice called solar geo-engineering. Scientists from Harvard University are conducting an experiment on controlled destruction in the stratosphere (SCoPEx), with which they hope to spray 100 grams of particles in the stratosphere to observe how they disperse. Such particles may eventually cool the planet, reflecting some of the sun’s rays back into space.
Besides genetic editing, biosafety, and climate change, Nature also includes on its list polar projects in Antarctica. In January, researchers from the United States and the United Kingdom will begin their largest joint mission on the continent for more than 70 years. The goal of the five-year project is to understand whether the distant and seemingly unstable Thujats glacier will begin to collapse in the coming decades. The mission includes the study of the state of the ocean using autonomous underwater vehicles and sensors mounted on seals.
European scientists are also planning to begin drilling the ice cover in Little Dome C Antarctica, in search of recovering the ice core of 1.5 million years. If successful, the kernel will create the oldest intact record of weather and atmospheric conditions.
The Anglo-Saxon publication also focuses on future results, which could reveal more details about the origin ancient hominin species Islands in Southeast Asia, a region of particular interest to archaeologists since the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003 discovered a hobbit that resembles a human being. Existing excavations can tell more about the first people living in this region. The Philippine island of Luzon, even if its isolation has led to diminishing growth, similar to what seems to have happened in Flores.
Large scientific infrastructures
In the field of astronomy stands out the world's largest radio telescope. Spherical introductory radio telescope 500 meters from China (FAST), which should be fully operational and available to researchers from September. Since the start of the commissioning phase in 2016, the megatelescope has discovered more than 50 new pulsars: dense and rapidly rotating dead stars. Soon he will look for weak signals that arise from such phenomena as the rapid explosions of the radio and clouds of cosmic gas.
In the meantime, astronomers will decide whether to continue the construction of the 30-meter telescope (TMT) on the Hawaiian Mauna Kea mountain, a project that is also fighting the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands.
Similarly, China may become the world's largest research and development company in 2019 after adjusting the purchasing power of its currency when countries publish their spending data for 2018 at the end of 2019. Spending in science in China has accelerated since 2003, although the country still lags behind the United States in terms of quality in research.
For their part, Europe will try to reach an agreement on how to allocate the proposed 100 billion euros in the next European Union research funding program (the Horizon program), which will begin in 2021. It is unclear how they can participate researchers from the United Kingdom, since the uncertainty regarding Brexit is still present in the country.
2019 can also be a decisive year for plans to International Linear Collider (ILC), successor to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva (Switzerland). Japanese physicists have proposed to carry out this project in 2012 after scientists from the LHC announced the discovery of the Higgs boson, which will be studied in detail by a new instrument. But in the report for 2018, commissioned by the Japanese government, the project was rejected because of its huge cost (about $ 7,000 million), but Japan is the only country that has shown interest in conducting ILC. The government is expected to issue a statement on whether it will be made before March 7.
In October 2018, Canada legalized cannabis for all purposes (the second country in the world after Uruguay), which unexpectedly led to research by marijuana provincial and federal governments. By the end of 2019, researchers from the University of Guelph hope to open the first academic center devoted to cannabis research in Canada, in which everything will be studied – from plant genetics to its health benefits.
Canádá legalized cannabis for all purposes.
With all the achievements that will appear in 2019, subscription journals can change their business models to adapt to Plan S, the initiative to turn academic publications into a completely open access model, a system that many journals currently prohibit.