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The 14 Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs This Year

 We're three-quarters of the way through 2017, but that doesn't mean to say that the year is going by in vain. There are many hugely important breakthroughs that have been made so far this year, and it was no mean feat whittling them down into this list for your viewing and reading pleasure. From discoveries of new animal species, to incredible new scientific processes and even a new continent, here are the greatest breakthroughs of 2017:
 
1. Fluorescent Frog
biggest-discoveries
Although seeing a green frog isn't a remarkable thing in itself, this one actually glows in the dark. It marks the first time that a fluorescent trait has ever been discovered in an amphibian. The frog emits chemicals that absorbs regular light and re-emits it at a longer wavelength. 
2. Spray-on skin for burn victims
biggest-discoveries
Scientists have made a device that can vastly improve the lives of burn victims. Biotech firm RenovaCare has obtained a patent for its SkinGun, which sprays stem cells onto a victim's wounds and allows them to grow a healthy new layer of skin in as little as four days. 
3. Water pulled out of thin air
biggest-discoveries
MIT and University of California, Berkeley researchers have invented a device that literally pulls water out of thin air. It's powered by solar and uses a zirconium and fumarate framework in order to collect water vapor. The prototype was able to pull three quarts of water from the air in just 12 hours. Humidity stood at 20 to 30%. 
4. Three new Earth-like planets
biggest-discoveries
The TRAPPIST-1 star system is about 40 light years away from earth. NASA has discovered that there are three planets in this star system that orbit their star in the habitable zone, which could provide the right conditions for water and extraterrestrial life to exist. 
5. Binge drinking pill
biggest-discoveries
Researchers at the University of Texas' Southwestern Medical Center have created a pill that could curb binge drinking. A specific gene, which was the focus of the study, was found to influence the amount that individuals drink. The researchers are now looking to turn the variation hormone attached to the gene into a drug for human consumption.
6. New species of dinosaur
biggest-discoveries
The so-called Zuul dinosaur, named after the monster in the 1984 Ghostbusters movie, was unearthed in Montana this year. It's one of the most complete ankylosaurs, which were armored, lizard-like dinosaurs, ever found. It even had its skull and tail club intact. 
7. Artificial womb
biggest-discoveries
Premature babies might soon have much better odds of developing entirely normally thanks to the creation of an artificial womb. The device looks like an oversized plastic bag that's filled with amniotic fluid, and was tested using premature lambs. Although it's still quite a way off, the artificial wombs could be used to care for premature babies in the future. 
8. Turning hydrogen into metal
biggest-discoveries
Harvard University scientists have managed what others have been trying to do for almost 100 years - create metallic hydrogen. The implications of this discovery are huge, because it could mean faster computers, levitating railways and great advances in energy. With that being said, the researchers only used a very small sample size, and are looking into whether the process can be scaled up. 
 
9. Eighth continent
biggest-discoveries
Despite 94% of its landmass being underwater, scientists have presented evidence for Zealandia to become the world's eighth continent. They say that it meets all the required criteria to be a continent, but it remains to be seen whether the land in the southwest Pacific beneath New Zealand will appear in future textbooks.
10. Voltaic cell that runs on stomach acid
biggest-discoveries
A small voltaic cell that runs on stomach fluids has been invented by researchers from MIT and Brigham. It could power sensors placed in the gastrointestinal tract for an extended period of time, and be used to monitor vital signs or deliver drugs. 
11. New species of shrimp
biggest-discoveries
This bonkers-looking shrimp was discovered on the Pacific coast of Panama. It has a large, pink claw that it uses to create a noise so loud it can stun or kill small fish. In fact, the noise can reach 210 decibels. Quite fittingly, it's called Synalpheus pinkfloydi, named after the rock band, Pink Floyd.
12. Human-pig hybrid
biggest-discoveries
Part-human, part-pig embryos have successfully been created in a lab. Although it sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, scientists hope that human organs could one day be grown inside animals in order to have them available for transplants, however various ethical issues have been raised over the process. 
13. Aging reversed in mice
biggest-discoveries
Dutch scientists have developed a molecule that purges damaged cells that build up in the tissues of the body. When tried on aging mice, their fur regrew, their kidney function improved, and they could even run twice as far as untreated mice. This is a landmark advance in the field of aging. 
14. Infection-killing dragon blood
biggest-discoveries
Komodo dragons are the world's largest lizards. Scientists have discovered a compound in their blood that's capable of healing infected wounds on mice much faster than existing methods of treatment. This discovery represents an opportunity to develop a new tool to fight antibiotic resistant infections, potentially saving many lives. 


Content and image source: Reader's Digest, Ranker
The rest of the images from Pixabay and Deposit Photos.
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