Breakthrough of the Year 2013



Watch a video of the 2013 scientific Breakthrough of the Year & the nine runners-up, ranging from transparent brains to exploding stars.


Science's Editor-in-Chief Marcia McNutt writes about The potential of cancer immunotherapy in the war on cancer. more »

Areas to Watch

Science editors forecast science news to look out for in the year ahead. more »




Science editors rate how well they predicted scientific areas worth watching in 2013.
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Science editor Robert Coontz takes us behind the scenes of how the Breakthrough of the Year is decided.

Genomes of the Year

  • Potato Blight
    Famine-era herbarium specimens of potato plants enabled researchers to sequence the genome of Phytophthora infestans, the blight which essentially...

  • Rock Pigeon
    The genome of the common rock pigeon helped researchers solve the mystery of the pigeon’s showy crest, identifying the genetic basis for that notable...

  • Bats
    Comparing the genome sequences of several bats with that of a dolphin showed that these aerial and aquatic hunters depend on very similar sets of...

  • King Cobra and Burmese Python
    The world’s first two snake genomes have revealed the molecular foundations of some remarkable habits: how the Burmese python copes with just a few...

  • HeLa Cells
    The high-resolution genome of the world’s most widely used cell line, “HeLa” cells, became available to researchers after the descendants of...