Top 10 Innovations 2021
2021 Top 10 Innovations
The COVID-19 pandemic is still with us. Biomedical innovation has rallied to address that pressing concern while continuing to tackle broader research challenges.
ABOVE: The Scientist Staff
2021 Top 10 Innovations
2021 Top 10 Innovations

The COVID-19 pandemic is still with us. Biomedical innovation has rallied to address that pressing concern while continuing to tackle broader research challenges.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still with us. Biomedical innovation has rallied to address that pressing concern while continuing to tackle broader research challenges.

ABOVE: The Scientist Staff
DNA methylation, stem cells, limb development, techniques
Isolated Realistic Coronavirus Covid-19 Molecule in a Biological Environment stock photo
Tweak to N Protein Makes Delta Variant More Infectious
Chloe Tenn | Nov 5, 2021
Using a novel lab technique, researchers identified a mutation that allows the virus to insert more genetic material into host cells.
A view of the nucleus of a cell with DNA in blue, RNA in pink, and associated proteins in yellow and purple
DNA Methylation Influences Replication and Genome Organization
Abby Olena | Sep 22, 2021
A study links the loss of DNA methylation across the genome—as is common in cancer—to the disruption of the 3-D compartments that organize the genome and to the timing of DNA replication.
Rhino upside down, in the sky
2021 Ig Nobel Prizes Honor Decongestant Orgasms, Rhino Transport
Lisa Winter | Sep 14, 2021
A full beard can absorb nearly 40 percent of the shock from a punch to the face, according to one winning study.
One hand holds a white envelope with a blue and red striped border, while a second hand places a clear sheet of plastic inside with small squares of paper on it
Freeze-Dried Mouse Sperm Sent by Postcard Produces Baby Mice
Amanda Heidt | Aug 5, 2021
Rather than relying on samples that need to be shipped in glass vials and on ice, researchers have developed a new method that allows mouse sperm to be sent easily at room temperature using standard mail delivery.
Q8W3K0, listed in the DeepMind database as a potential plant disease resistance protein from Arabidopsis thaliana
Predictions of Most Human Protein Structures Made Freely Available
Lisa Winter | Jul 23, 2021
The AlphaFold program from AI firm DeepMind has amassed a huge database of protein structures from humans and model organisms.
Sodas, Lemon Juice Cause False Positives in Rapid COVID-19 Tests
Christie Wilcox | Jul 12, 2021
Lateral flow tests for COVID-19 can be very accurate and specific when used as directed, but introducing acidic fluids can cause the tests’ detecting antibodies to clump, which may read as a positive result.
corals in water with fish
First Immortal Cell Line Cultured for Reef-Building Corals
Amanda Heidt | Jul 1, 2021
Lab-grown cells from the reef-building coral Acropora tenuis provide new opportunities to study bleaching, symbioses, and biomineralization.
Infographic: How Scientists Are Creating Coral Cell Lines
Amanda Heidt | Jul 1, 2021
Stable, long-term cell lines will enable scientists to study everything from coral bleaching to biomineralization, knowledge that may help protect corals from ongoing climate change.
a white menstrual pad with pink and yellow spotting
Threads Embedded in Pads and Tampons Can Diagnose Yeast Infection
Emma Yasinski | Jun 15, 2021
The material turns bright pink when it comes in contact with an enzyme produced by the fungus Candida albicans.
Headshot of Richard Ernst, circa 1990
Nobel Laureate Richard Ernst Dies at 87
Lisa Winter | Jun 11, 2021
The chemist refined nuclear magnetic resonance technology, giving rise to the development of MRI.
Enter Our 2021 Top 10 Innovations Contest
The Scientist Staff | Jun 10, 2021
Submit your new product now to have a chance at being selected for a coveted spot in The Scientist’s 2021 competition.
A scanning electron micrograph of a coculture of E. coli and Acinetobacter baylyi. Nanotubes can be seen extending from the E. coli.
What’s the Deal with Bacterial Nanotubes?
Sruthi S. Balakrishnan | Jun 1, 2021
Several labs have reported the formation of bacterial nanotubes under different, often contrasting conditions. What are these structures and why are they so hard to reproduce?
An illustration of a flask of bacteria, a weighted microscope slide, and two bacteria exchanging materials via nanotubes.
Infographic: Sources of Variation in Bacterial Nanotube Studies
Sruthi S. Balakrishnan | Jun 1, 2021
Differences in how researchers prepare and image samples can lead to discrepancies in their results.