As posted earlier, advances in Evolution topped the list of Breakthroughs this year according to Science. Here are the runners-up:
3 Blooming Marvelous: Several key molecular cues behind spring’s burst of color came to light in 2005. In August, for example, three groups of plant molecular biologists finally pinned down the identity of florigen, a signal that initiates the seasonal development of flowers. The signal is the messenger RNA of a gene called FT. When days get long enough, this RNA moves from leaves to the growth tip, where the FT protein interacts with a growth tip-specific transcription factor, FD. The molecular double whammy ensures that blossoms appear in the right place on the plant at the right time of year.
5 Miswiring the Brain: Although dozens of genes have been linked to brain disorders in recent years, connecting the dots between genetics and abnormal behavior has been anything but child’s play. This year, however, researchers gained clues about the mechanisms of diverse disorders including schizophrenia, Tourette syndrome, and dyslexia. A common theme seems to be emerging: Many of the genes involved appear to play a role in brain development.