NewsBreakthrough of the Year 2016

Areas to watch in 2017

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Science  23 Dec 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6319, pp. 1524
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6319.1524

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Science picked four areas likely to attract attention in 2017. The ability to keep human embryos developing in the lab for almost 2 weeks—achieved for the first time this year—should provide new insights into very early human development, and generate debate on whether ethical limits on studying embryos in culture should be extended. Candidate Zika vaccines, which have shown early promise, should be in clinical trials next year. Astronomers will be searching for direct evidence of a ninth planet in the far reaches of the solar system; its existence was inferred this year from its gravitational effects on icy objects beyond Pluto. And—a surefire pick—scientists will be watching for the impacts on research of the U.S. election and the U.K. "Brexit" vote.