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What will the year 2018 bring to the science sector (Part 1)?

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28.02.2018

It is certain that political changes are to clearly influence the development of science in the forthcoming year. This is due to decisions of a number of countries ? both in the territory of Europe and the remaining parts of the world.

Upon analysing global trends, it is possible to anticipate the direction science is to follow throughout the upcoming 12 months. It will be influenced by a number of factors. The US administration under the leadership of Donald Trump indends to continue introducing extensive modifications to environmental regulations that are based on science. Additionally, no details concerning the financing of research or migration of scientists after the announcement of the willingness to leave the EU by Great Britain are known, while China is aspiring to assume the global leadership in terms of science and economy. What should we be prepared for in the upcoming year then?

Public health

Epidemics themselves are difficult to foresee, while the preceding years have brought about the reappearance of many diseases the world used to deal with in the past. In this respect, not much is likely to change in 2018. Global conflicts, the breakdown of sanitary conditions and negligence in terms of vaccinations will influence the increase of incidence (particularly with regard to yellow fever, diphteria, cholera).

Astronomy

In the April of last year, a team of scientists took a picture of a supermassive black hole in the centre of our galaxy. The nearest period will be devoted to the effort of processing the photograph obtained which, after the data have been processed and correlated, will either expose a distinct silhouette of the black hole with matter whirling around it or provide its blurred picture.

Origin of human

2018 may shed a new light on the origin of the human race. Bones are the main sources of primeval DNA, while scientists have recently managed to obtain genetic material from sediments present in caves as well. This discovery has a chance of facilitating the thriving of research concerning evolution and the diversity of our species.

Information Technology

Physicists will soon lay a milestone of great significance concerning the construction of the quantum computer. It is to use quantum wave interference instead of single bits in order to perform advanced computations. Unfortunately, even though the year 2018 may turn out to be groundbreaking in said terms, it will probably take many years for the quantum computer to come into common use. Meanwhile, it is to be subject to finishing up its computing power and reliability.

Biomedicine

US-based health institutes will soon launch a very ambitious project. There will be "merely" 1 million Americans taking part in the long-term research which will allow for the verification of interactions between one's genes, lifestyle, living environment and health. The project will last 10 years and absorb USD 4 billion.

Biotechnology

The European Court of Justice will take a decision on the regulation of crops modified by CRISPR and related methods of genome editing. The CRISPR method, contrary to typical GMO, does not introduce any present genetic material of bacterial or viral origin into the cell, hence it bypasses certain laws and requires separate regulations.

Politics

The decision to leave the European Union by Great Britain has raised many unaswered questions, particularly with regard to the entire science sector. Negotiations with Brussels to be held in 2018 will be crucial, regulating the question of commerce, immigration and participation of Great Britain in programmes aimed at financing research. As of now, it is known that those scientists who have already left to the Isles will be allowed to stay there without any problems ? and so after the Brexit. What is more, the United Kingdom will remain involved in the research programme "Horizon 2020" run by the European Union.

Source: www.sciencemag.org

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