The field of biology had a big year in 2016 with several amazing breakthroughs making the news all around the world. Here are two of the biggest advancements biology saw last year.
The origin of multicellular life
When scientists found GK-PID, a molecule almost as old as life on this planet, they knew right away it was special. It was found that this particular molecule was a catalyst for what was to be one of the most important steps in the evolution of life on the planet. Around 800 million years ago, GK-PID was responsible for the transformation of single-celled organisms into multi-cellular organisms. GK-PID acted as a molecular carabiner by pulling chromosomes together before latching them onto the inner wall of a cell membrane. This leads to non-cancerous cell division. However, what scientists find fascinating is the fact that the ancient GK-PID wasn’t always like that. It only became a carabiner because it mutated.
Stem cells and stroke patients
One of the most important discoveries last year happened at a clinical trial at Stanford University School of Medicine. Modified human stem cells were injected into the brains of several patients who suffered from chronic stroke. The experiment was a success, with no negative side-effects afflicting the patients. The worst were mild headaches due to the procedure. All the patients (18 in total) had a much more significant rate of healing, which included those confined to wheelchairs to stand up and walk.