Our top 12 science facts from 2019

Image credits - PlanetMallika/ Pixabay; Pablo Trincado, licensed under CC BY 2.0; Image credit - Pixnio/ Janice Haney Carr, Jeff Hageman, M.H.S, USCDCP, licensed under CC0; Virpi Lummaa

by Josefine Kroll From bacterial invisibility cloaks to unexpected dinosaur colors, Horizon uncovered some fascinating facts in 2019. Here are our 12 favourites. 1. Meerkats live in cooperative societies where only one female is allowed to breed  2. There may be no free-flowing rivers left in Europe 3. Our idea of dinosaur colours may be completely wrong 4. Elephants … Read more

We need to talk about CRISPR

We need powerful global legislation to prevent the misuse of CRISPR technology by rogue scientists and countries. Image credit - Piqsels, licensed under CC0

By Vittoria D’Alessio We need an active public debate on the ethics of gene editing technology to realise its potential and prevent it being used in nefarious ways, for example by the military and amateur scientists, and to take cultural differences into account, according to Professor Christiane Woopen, executive director of the Centre for Ethics, Rights, … Read more

Matchmaking corals from different colonies could reduce bleaching events

Planting baby corals that are bred to be resistant to heat stress can boost a reef's tolerance to warmer waters. Image credit - James Guest

Breeding together corals that have naturally high heat tolerance and planting them on coral reefs could increase the reefs’ resilience to climate change and reduce the impact of bleaching events, according to Dr James Guest, a coral reef ecologist from Newcastle University, UK. He is studying this ‘assisted evolution’ approach to coral conservation and examining … Read more

The ‘slow earthquakes’ that we cannot feel may help protect against the devastating ones

Unlike regular earthquakes, which can cause visible damage, slow earthquakes cannot be felt at the Earth's surface. Image credit - Pixabay/ marcellomigliosi1956, licensed under pixabay license

Earthquakes are sudden and their shaking can be devastating. But about 20 years ago, a new type of earthquake was discovered. We cannot feel them, and geologists still know very little about them, such as how often they occur. Regular earthquakes occur when rock underground breaks along a fault – a crack in the Earth’s … Read more

Genetically engineered animals offer fresh hope to heart valve patients

Genetically engineered mutations in cows could pave the way for transplant patients to receive whole animal organs in the future. Image credit - Pexels/Kat Jayne, licensed under Pexels license

Scientists have cloned a genetically engineered bull which they hope will help heart valve transplant patients lead better quality lives and benefit people with red meat allergies. Every year, about 300,000 people worldwide receive a new heart valve. Whenever possible, doctors use valves made of tissue from cows or pigs, because the synthetic alternatives can … Read more