10 good news and beautiful scientific discoveries of summer 2022

Even if the autumnal equinox will only occur on the 23rd, the month of September is always associated with the return to school, and… the end of summer. On this occasion, a look back at the news that will have marked the months of June, July and August 2022, with an optimistic approach. James-Webb Space Telescope, cancer vaccine, wild tiger population: here are 10 reasons to have faith in science… and the future.

The James-Webb Space Telescope transmits its first images and prepares to revolutionize astronomy

The “telescope of the century” lived up to its title. On the evening of July 11, NASA unveiled the first images captured by the James-Webb space telescope. Galaxies, clusters of galaxies, nebulae, exoplanets… An incredible cosmic spectacle!

Beyond the fascination these images provide, they will enable spectacular advances in almost all areas of astronomy. “In the team, we no longer know where to turn. We spend hours zooming in on the image, observing the details. Just by looking at her, I have ten research projects in mind“, explains to us, moved, Hakim Atek, researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics of Paris and member of the team “Origin and evolution of galaxies”.

An RNA vaccine against cancer with very encouraging results

Alongside their success against Covid-19, RNA vaccines represent immense hope in the fight against cancer. An American team has succeeded in developing one, with very good results on mice with metastatic melanoma.

Tumors were significantly inhibited, and 40% of mice showed complete remission, with no tumors and no long-term recurrence when additionally given existing treatment. It remains, before declaring victory, to replicate these good results in humans.

Bioartificial cornea restores sight to blind patients

In a pilot study, a team from the University of Linköping (Sweden) has developed implants, from pig cells, to restore sight to people in need of a corneal transplant. Of the twenty patients recruited for this trial, all with advanced keratoconus, 14 had become blind, and all had their vision restored. Three of them even regained 20/20 vision.

Our results show that it is possible to develop a biomaterial that meets all clinical criteria, can be mass produced, stored for up to two years and thus reach even more people with vision problems.“, said Neil Lagali, professor of experimental ophthalmology at Linköping University.

An Anatolian leopard, a species thought to be extinct, reappears

Fifty years since we had lost track! An Anatolian leopard has been officially identified in Turkey. “The Anatolian leopard, an important species that was last seen in our country in 1974 and thought to be extinct, has been sighted“, announced Vahit Kirişçi, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. The Minister specifies that the Anatolian leopard could be observed thanks to a camera trap installed in 2019 in the middle of nature.

An exceptional Gallo-Roman sanctuary discovered near Rennes

At La Chapelle-des-Fougeretz, about twenty minutes from the center of Rennes, archaeologists have unearthed an important Gallo-Roman sanctuary founded in the 1st century BC. Two temples, an esplanade, several dwellings and a vast thermal building have been discovered.

It is a precious testimony because we have no written source on this period.“, explains Bastien Simier, field archaeologist specializing in the Breton countryside at Inrap. “This type of large public sanctuary is not uncommon in Roman Gaul, but these remains are never excavated in their entirety.

The number of wild tigers around the world continues to rise

Wild tigers are 40% more numerous in the world than previously thought and the population of panthera tigrisseems to be stabilizing or even increasing“, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The new count has estimated between 3,726 and 5,578 the number of tigers in the wild. A jump of 40% which “explained by improvements in tracking techniques, showing that there are more tigers than previously thoughtAt the local level, conservation plans for the species have also borne fruit. Thus, Nepal has almost tripled its population of wild tigers in 12 years.

The world’s first fleet of hydrogen trains goes into service

It’s a world first! In Germany, a fleet of fourteen hydrogen trains replaced diesel locomotives on a railway line not far from Hamburg. A privileged track to reduce CO2 emissions, and replace the diesel which still supplies 20% of journeys in Germany.

By 2035, around 15 to 20% of the regional European market could run on hydrogen“, confirms to AFP Alexandre Charpentier, rail expert at Roland Berger.

The gray wolf continues its progression in France

With a population estimated at 921 at the end of winter 2021-2022 by the French Office for Biodiversity and a figure revised upwards for the previous year, wolves are still more numerous in France.

The wolf, which has returned to France on its own from Italy, has experienced favorable demographic dynamics for 10 years, with “a satisfactory survival rate of the species and an increase in reproduction“, according to a press release from the prefect of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

An AI has predicted the structure of (almost) every known protein

In just one year, the artificial intelligence AlphaFold, developed by DeepMind, predicted the structure of 200 million proteins. They have been collected and made available to the scientific community in the AlphaFold Protein Prediction Database.

Fight against plastic pollution, understanding the origins of life or studying diseases… According to DeepMind, their model has already been used in more than 4,000 concrete research projects.

After reintroduction, iguanas are breeding naturally again in Galapagos

They had disappeared from the island of Santiago, in the Galápagos, more than a century ago. In 2019, the authority of the Galapagos National Park (PNG) reintroduced more than 3,000 iguanas of the species Conolophus subcristatus on this island, in order to restore their natural ecosystem.

A program that is bearing fruit: the director of the PNG announced that “we again see a healthy population of land iguanas with adults, juveniles and hatchlings. This is a great conservation achievement and bolsters our hopes for reintroduction.“.

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