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1. Cellular Reprogramming: The top honours in this list has been given to a research that produced a "made-to-order" cell lines by reprogramming cells from ill patients - a method known as "Cellular Reprogramming." It opened a new field of biology almost overnight and holds out hope of life-saving medical advances.
2. Exoplanets: For the first time in 2008, astronomers directly observed planets orbiting other stars, using special telescope techniques to distinguish the planet's faint light from the star's bright glare.
3. Expanding the catalogue of cancer genes: By sequencing genes from various cancer cells, including pancreatic cancer & glioblastoma - two of the deadliest cancers, researchers turned up dozens of mutations that remove the brakes on cell division and send the cell down the path to cancer.
4. New mystery materials: Researchers created a stir in 2008 by discovering a whole second family of high-temperature superconductors consisting of iron compounds instead of copper-and-oxygen compounds.
5. Watching proteins at work: Biochemists encounters major surprises in 2008 as they watched proteins bind to their targets, switch a cell's metabolic state and contribute to a tissue's properties.
6. Renewable energy on demand: Researchers found a promising new tool for storing excess electricity, generated from part-time sources like wind & solar power, in the form of cobalt-phosphorus catalyst.
7. The video embryo: Researchers observed, in unprecedented details, the dance of cells in a developing embryo, recording and analyzing movies that trace the movements of roughly 16,000 cells that make up the zebrafish embryo by the end of its first day of development.
8. "Good" fat, illuminated: In a study that may offer new approaches to treating obesity, scientists discovered that they could morph "good" brown fat (which burns "bad" white fat to generate heat for the body) into muscle and vice versa.
9. Calculating weight of the world: Physicists now have the calculations handy to show that the standard model, which describes most of the visible universe's particles and their interactions, accurately predicts how much mass the protons and neutrons have.
10. Faster & cheaper genome sequencing: Researchers reported numorous genome sequences this year - from w0olly mammoths to human cancer patients - aided by a variety of sequencing technologies that are much speedier & cheaper than the ones used to sequence the first human genome.
(The above list is inspired from a report published in The Science magazine.)