Marys Medicine

the year in science Two of the biggest breakthroughs of this leap year relied on breathtaking amounts of data. The ENCODE project has generated 15 terabytes of data over the past five years to uncover the functions of human DNA sequences; CERN has stored 26 petabytes of data this year alone from its Large Hadron Collider, as physicists worked to prove the existence of the Higgs boson. But data were a source of controversy as well as discovery. Arguments raged over whether information about in review a potential y dangerous flu virus should be published, for example, and funders, publishers and researchers discussed how to make raw data — as well as peer-reviewed research — more openly available. Meanwhile, high-profile cases of dubious or fraudulent results offered a reminder that above all else, findings need to be trustworthy.
THE HIGGS AT LAST Applause, relief, joy and tears: in July, the world's largest physics experiment official y discovered the Higgs boson. It took more than 500 trillion proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Europe's particle-physics lab near Geneva, before physicists could confidently announce that they had seen a new boson with a mass of around 125 gigaelectronvolts. Nearly 50 years ago, theorists including Peter Higgs had proposed that a Universe-filling quantum field imparts mass to some particles. The Higgs boson — the embodiment of that field — is looking disappointingly mundane so far, with no convincing hints of behaviour beyond that predicted by the standard model of particle physics. Nor has the LHC spotted evidence for the additional particles predicted by supersymmetry, a theory that would extend our understanding of the subatomic world and help to explain mysteries such as dark matter. Vindicated: Peter Higgs's prediction gained weight this year.
GOING TO EXTREMES In this Olympic year, science provided But not every record-beating attempt was successful. After six years of plenty of its own records. After two decades of drilling, a Russian team trying, the US$3.5-billion US National Ignition Facility in California — broke through 3.8 kilometres of Antarctic ice in February to reach Lake the world's most powerful laser — failed to meet its target of achieving Vostok, a huge body of water isolated for millions of years. Early sam- ‘ignition', a fusion power milestone in which a small pel et of hydrogen ple analysis has not found any signs of the life many scientists thought isotopes blasted by the laser would generate as much fusion energy as the lake might host. As Nature went to press, a British team hoping the beams put in. to reach Lake Ellsworth, one of the continent's other subglacial lakes, was battling technical problems with the high-pressure jet of hot water RETHINKING ENERGY Nations' energy policies are continuing to used to bore through the ice. Film director James Cameron, meanwhile, shift in the wake of last year's nuclear disaster in Fukushima, with Japan became the first person to dive solo to the deepest spot on the planet: outlining options for a future almost free of nuclear energy. The country the bottom of the Mariana Trench, almost 11 kilometres deep. Just as switched off its last operating nuclear reactor for maintenance work in gripping — though less scientifically valuable — was skydiver Felix May, and faced widespread public protests against turning any reactors Baumgartner's jump from more than 39,000 metres above New Mex- back on — although it did manage to restart two in July. In Europe, ico, breaking the speed of sound and a height record held since 1960. stress tests of more than 140 reactors concluded that widespread safety 172 NUMBER OF PAPERS IN WHICH ATMOSPHERIC CONCENTRATION YOSHITAKA FUJII IS THOUGHT TO OF CARBON DIOXIDE (IN PARTS HAVE FABRICATED RESULTS 392.9 PER MILLION) — A RECORD HIGH 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved oil accident in the Gulf of Mexico. The fledgling Curiosity's
clean-energy industry had its own problems: arrival on Mars
lithium-battery maker A123 Systems of Waltham, was cause for
Massachusetts, went bankrupt in October as the celebration at
market for electric cars remained smal . DATA ON DISPLAY Science, famously, self-corrects. By March, researchers had firmly scotched last year's suggestion that neutrinos might travel faster than light, and a number of experiments had refuted the 2010 claim that a bacterium can use arsenic in its DNA. But correc- tion does not always come so quickly: when studies are hard to replicate, bias or error can linger for years. Anaesthesiologist Yoshitaka Fujii and nutrition researcher Eric Smart were both censured this year for decades of misconduct that had gone undetected until relatively recently, and psychology came in for particular criticism after a number of accusa- Superstorm Sandy ravaged New York in October.
tions of massaged data led to some high-profile resignations. Scientists worried more generally about the issue of irreproducible results and upgrades are needed. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, mean- set up efforts such as the Reproducibility Initiative to get independent while, granted a licence for a plant that uses lasers to enrich uranium for labs to replicate high-profile research. The idea that scientists should nuclear fuel, a technology that some fear could enable bomb-makers to communicate and publish their data more openly also gained momen- covertly enrich uranium. Countries also continued to explore uncon- tum. High-profile online open-access journals such as eLife and PeerJ ventional sources of gas and oil to keep the lights burning and cars on launched, and the open-access movement made headway in Britain, the road. The United States proposed rules for the booming shale-gas where government and private research funders said in July that they fracking industry, which has enabled the US electric-power industry to would pay for papers to be made publicly accessible from April 2013.
shift 10% of its generating capacity from coal to gas. According to the International Energy Agency, the United States is also on course to be THE ROVER HAS LANDED "It's the wheel! It's the wheel!" came the the world's largest oil producer by 2020, and almost self-sufficient in cry, as NASA scientists saw the first images of their Curiosity rover on energy by 2035. But there were reminders of the dangers of searching for the surface of Mars, where a hovering sky crane had gently deposited new oil reserves. Shell was unable to begin its drilling programme in the it. Since landing at Gale Crater in August, Curiosity has provided star- Arctic sea after damage to drilling vessels, and BP was hit by US$4 bil- tling images and analysis of the Martian surface and atmosphere, but lion in criminal fines relating to the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon has not yet found any methane or organic molecules that might hint at For an interactive look at the year in 2,932 NUMBER OF AUTHORS ON THE ATLAS COLLABORATION PAPER THAT ANNOUNCED THE DISCOVERY OF THE HIGGS 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved SCIENTIFIC PAPER TRAIL Number of research papers published in 2012 by leading science nations, and the proportion of each country's research PERCENTAGE INCREASE FROM 2011 this year that is in the top 1% of most-cited papers*.
❏ 7,037✪ 0.30% ❏ 29,924✪ 0.43% SWITZERLAND❏ 21,796✪ 1.91% *Figures estimated from data for January–October; 39 countries with total above 6,000 papers shown.
†Papers in the top 1% by citations for their representative field and age.
the presence of life. Outside the Solar System, new planets swam into a controversial act that may weaken protection for forests. In June, focus thanks to the eagle-eye of the Kepler space telescope, which has Australia unveiled plans for the world's largest network of marine now racked up some 3,000 candidate new worlds. Earth-based scopes reserves — but proposals for international protection of three large played a major part, too, discovering an Earth-sized exoplanet in our areas in the waters around Antarctica were knocked back in November. neighbouring star system, α Centauri, a mere 1.34 parsecs (4.4 light And in the Galapagos Islands, the death in June of the iconic giant tor- years) away. Among space successes, NASA's Dawn craft found evidence toise Lonesome George — the last of his subspecies — cal ed attention of water on the asteroid Vesta, and China sent its first female astronaut, to the plight of endangered species around the world.
Liu Yang, into orbit. But it was a private firm, not a government, that made the year's headline launch: in October, SpaceX sent its capsule SCIENTISTS SPEAK OUT Many researchers prefer to keep their Dragon on the first commercial resupply mission to the International heads down when scientific controversies blow up, but they can cer- Space Station. The craft has been so successful that the company, based tainly put up a fight when whole fields or scientific values are threat- in Hawthorne, California, is even considering a trip to Mars. ened. In May, UK scientists spoke up for the value of their work on THE EARTH UNDER PRESSURE genetical y modified (GM) wheat when an anti-GM campaign group, The summer's dramatic melt of Take The Flour Back, threatened to destroy it. And in October, research- sea ice in the Arctic set a record that exceeded the predictions of cli- ers across the world reacted with dismay when an Italian court sen- mate models, and the United States faced its most extensive drought in tenced a group of experts to jail for six years, for al egedly playing down half a century. But for many east-coast Americans it was Superstorm seismic risks before the devastating earthquake in L'Aquila in 2009. Crit- Sandy, in late October, that came to embody the nebulous threat of ics warned that the precedent might make scientists reluctant to offer global warming. The storm, which caused $50 billion in damage, trig- expert opinions for fear of prosecution or reprisals. But scientists have gered discussion that focused more on how to adapt to increasingly been quieter about other challenges: slowly but surely, animal-rights likely weather extremes than how to prevent climate change. Global activists have this year restricted the transport of lab animals by a large talks on the environment were overshadowed by economic concerns. number of cargo carriers, without facing effective opposition. At June's United Nations Earth Summit in Rio, develop- ing countries argued against constraining their growth, Lonesome
THE HUMAN ENCYCLOPAEDIA Little more than 1% of the human and rich countries were reluctant to pledge George died
genome's 3 billion letters of DNA — just 20,000 genes — code for more development aid. Similar political proteins. But vast regions of non-coding sequences still have a vital inertia hit climate talks in Doha in Decem- function, affecting the way the genome is packaged, regulated and ber, although delegates did agree to extend a read in different cel types. In September, a consortium of some weakened Kyoto Protocol to 2020. Individual 440 scientists released 30 papers from the ENCODE project countries did more: Mexico set legal y binding (the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements), estimating that at TUREPL.COM emissions cuts in April, for example. In Brazil, least 20% of the genome can influence gene expression. the rate of deforestation in the Amazon Other ambitious projects to crunch big biological data fell to another record low this year, included the first results from an effort to map the cir- although in October the country passed cuit wiring of the entire mouse brain, and a project to MORLEY READ/NA 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved SCIENTIFIC PAPER TRAIL Number of research papers published in 2012 by leading science nations, and the proportion of each country's research PERCENTAGE INCREASE FROM 2011 this year that is in the top 1% of most-cited papers*.
SSENTIAL SCIENCE INDICA SOURCE: THOMSON REUTERS/E ❏ 29,924✪ 0.43% SWITZERLAND❏ 21,796✪ 1.91% *Figures estimated from data for January–October; 39 countries with total above 6,000 papers shown.
†Papers in the top 1% by citations for their representative field and age.
track gene activity in some 900 anatomical parts of the human brain. cut in 2012. In the United States, scientists spent most of the year worry- At the cellular level, the flexibility of stem cells continued to astonish. ing about the ‘sequester', an across-the-board budget cut that may take US researchers found stem cel s in women's ovaries that seem to be able effect early next year, although some cuts were made in this election year to produce new eggs, contradicting the dogma that women are born with too: NASA's planetary scientists held a cake sale to highlight their field's their life's supply of gametes. And Japanese scientists showed how to coax dwindling support. Talks on the enormous 2014–20 European budget — stem cells from mice into becoming viable eggs. Fertilized and trans- including a proposed €80 billion (US$104 billion) for research under the planted back into foster mother mice, they produced healthy offspring. Horizon 2020 programme — broke down in November and will restart VIRAL STRIFE in 2013. Even India scaled down its historic funding growth to more Two papers showing how mutated versions of the cautious inflation-level increases for 2012–13. But it wasn't all bad news: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus can transmit between China's central government boosted its spending on science by nearly ferrets sparked international strife and a bitter intragovernmental feud in 12.5%; France's 2013 austerity budget still found room to boost science the United States. Some feared that disseminating the recipe for a mam- cash by 2.2%; Germany channel ed more federal funding to universities malian-transmissible H5N1 would aid terrorists or increase the likeli- (creating a large health-sciences institute in Berlin); and the US biotech hood of an accidental release. And at the end of 2011, the US National sector saw the glimmers of a revival from public-market investors. Science Advisory Board for Bio security (NSABB) recommended that the papers be published only in redacted form. But others said that censoring PHARMA'S FUTURE The US Food and Drug Administration the studies would fly in the face of the scientific ideal of open commu- approved two weight-loss drugs — Belviq (lorcaserin) and Qsymia nication, and shut down potentially life-saving research. The NSABB (phentermine plus topiramate) — this year, the first since 1999. The reversed its position in March, and the papers were published in May agency also gave a green light to Truvada, the first drug designed to pre- and June. But the controversy continued: politicians lambasted the US vent HIV infection. But two monoclonal antibodies designed to fight government for acting too hastily in approving publication, while some Alzheimer's disease, bapineuzumab and solanezumab, failed keenly scientists chided it for taking too long to reach a final decision. Govern- awaited clinical trials — although solanezumab may have slowed cog- ment regulators are now considering tightening the restrictions for work nitive decline in some cases. Researchers think that preventing Alzhei- on such viruses. While the details are being hashed out, a ‘voluntary' mer's at an earlier stage could be a more promising strategy, and hope moratorium on similar research has been in effect since January, anger- to set up pre-emptive trials in 2013. Among significant business moves, ing some scientists who are anxious to get back to work. California-based sequencing company Complete Genomics went to China's BGI for $118 million, despite competition from Illumina; bio- As rich nations scaled back their public spend- tech giant Amgen said that it would buy deCODE Genetics for $415 ing, research funding was also cut — although not in every country. mil ion; Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca paid US$5.3 bil ion to Canada slashed spending on the environment and shut down a string acquire biotech firm Amylin; and GlaxoSmithKline got Human Genome of research programmes, including the renowned Experimental Lakes Sciences in a deal worth US$3.6 billion. Pharmaceutical companies also Area, a col ection of 58 remote freshwater lakes in Ontario used to study paid a record amount in malpractice fines in the United States this year. ■ pol utants for more than 40 years. Spain's 2013 budget proposal would reduce research funds for a fourth consecutive year, and fol ows a 25% Additional reporting by Brendan Maher 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved


Bioscience Reports, Vol. 25, Nos. 5/6, October/December 2005 (Ó 2005)DOI: 10.1007/s10540-005-2897-2 Cytochrome c Effect on Respiration of Heart Mitochondria:Influence of Various Factors Adolfas Toleikis,1,2 Sonata Trumbeckaite,1 and Daiva Majiene1 The effect of exogenous cytochrome c on respiration rate of the rat and human heartmitochondria was assessed in situ, using permeabilized fibers. It was (i) much more pro-nounced in State 2 and 4 than in State 3 with all the respiratory substrates (pyru-vate+malate, succinate, palmitoyl-CoA+carnitine and octanoyl-L-carnitine), (ii) differentwith different substrates, (iii) much higher after ischemia in both metabolic states, partic-ularly in the case of succinate oxidation compared to pyruvate+malate, (iv) the highest inState 4 with succinate as a substrate. Similar results were obtained with the isolated rat andrabbit heart mitochondria. The differences in the degree of stimulation of mitochondrialrespiration by cytochrome c and, thus, sensitivity of cytochrome c test in evaluation of theintactness/injury of outer mitochondrial membrane are probably determined by the differ-ences in the cytochrome c role in the control of mitochondrial respiration in the above-described conditions.


General Assembly A/HRC/11/12/Add.2 5 May 2009 Original: ENGLISH HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL Eleventh session Agenda item 3 PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF ALL HUMAN RIGHTS, CIVIL, POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment