Advances in equine reproduction and 100% Argentine beer, among the 5 milestones of science in 2018
The progress in horse breeding, the granting of licenses for a 100 percent Argentine beer, the discovery of the remains of a dinosaur over 200 million years old, the leap in genetic engineering and the local contribution to the global climate change report, are the milestones that the country’s science reached in 2018, according to researchers.
The five advances became “milestones” because they generated changes of magnitude that will impact people’s quality of life, various activities and the same research, agreed the scientists consulted by Télam.
“ The gene edition, which came to stay, revolutionized genetic engineering and will impact fundamentally basic research and experimental medicine,” Marcelo Rubinstein, senior researcher at Conicet and director of the Institute of Research in Genetic Engineering and Molecular Biology, told Télam Marcelo Rubinstein. It is a tool (CRISPR-CAS) of experimental work in mice that allows you to edit, correct and alter the genome of any cell in an easy, fast, cheap and highly accurate way.
“ This revolution opened a door for basic research and new therapeutic treatments,” Rubinstein said, who nevertheless warned that the use of this technology to modify human embryo genes “aroused the alert, and scientists around the world reacted with great concern.”
It is expected that in 2019 “precise regulations will be established regarding the scope and limitations of their use, which should be internationally respected,” he added.
In this sense, the Secretary of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation, Lino Barañao, said about genetic editing that, although it promises to “revolutionize” the genetic improvement of species of agricultural interest, “in terms of their applications to humans, there are different approaches, some do not offer higher taxes, such as application in tissues in adults, while all those involved in germ life modification are subject to serious ethical debate and it will take several years to see some relevant application.” But progress exists, it is concrete, it is real, say local scientists.
Another milestone this year was the discovery in San Juan of the remains of a dinosaur over 200 million years old, which was published in the prestigious journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
The discovery of the new species, named Ingentia prima, revealed that the first giants appeared, in fact, about 30 million years earlier than was thought.
“ The name of the species’ Ingentia ‘means immense and refers to its colossal size for the time in which it lived, while’ prima ‘indicates that it is the first known giant until today,” Cecilia Apaldetti, lead author of the study and assistant researcher at Conicet told Télam.
The study of gigantism of these species was modified as a result of this finding, said the researcher, who warned that this paradigm shift will impact the rest of the world.
A third milestone of Argentine science in 2018 was the use, for the first time, of a technique that allows the reproduction of horses, even in mares with fertility difficulties.
“ Our contribution was to achieve assisted fertilization in horses through the technique that was first used in humans 25 years ago,” Daniel Salamone, professor at the Faculty of Agronomy of the UBA, and principal researcher at Conicet told Télam.
Known as Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) “the technique we have managed to apply in horses will revolutionize the reproduction of high value horses in the country,” explained the researcher.
“ This time, mice (experimentation) were humans because it was first applied to these mice, 25 years ago. Now we can say that we have had an achievement because the reproduction of the equine was refractory to all kinds of assisted fertilization technique,” he concluded.
A fourth milestone was the contribution of scientists invited to participate in the preparation of the Sixth Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which enabled Conicet to become the second South American institution to contribute most scientists to the international organization’s working groups, only surpassed by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
Finally, the fifth milestone was the granting of licenses for the manufacture of a leaven beer from Rio Black, a conquest along the way of transferring scientific and technological knowledge to the productive sectors, since it will allow the development of the first 100 percent Argentine beers with regional identity.
The person responsible for this finding was Diego Libkind, a researcher at Conicet and the Universidad Nacional del Comahue, together with experts from Argentina, Portugal and the United States.
Argentina, licenciada en Comunicación Social y correctora. Me apasiona la escritura, la propia y la ajena. Mi amor por las palabras, por las frases mágicas y perfectas, me llevó a dirigir mi carrera profesional hacia la redacción, a lo que luego sumé la corrección para mejorar mis textos y, también, los de otros autores. Porque una imagen no siempre vale más que mil palabras. Gracias por leerme.
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