China's top 10 advances in life sciences in 2021 unveiled
China unveils top 10 advances in life sciences in 2021. /CFP

China unveils top 10 advances in life sciences in 2021. /CFP

The China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) on Monday released the country's 10 most significant advances in the field of life sciences in 2021.

Among the other breakthroughs on the list, a study on synthesizing starch from carbon dioxide stood out.

Chinese scientists have developed an artificial method of synthesizing starch from carbon dioxide, the first of its kind globally. The promising study is expected to help realize starch workshop production and provides a new technical route for synthesizing complex molecules from carbon dioxide.

Other key advances include studies in cross-species infection and transmission of coronavirus, adjuvant therapy in locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma, vertebrate water-to-land evolutionary pathway, route to de novo domestication of wild allotetraploid rice, climate-driven flyway changes and memory-based long-distance migration, and morphological diversity of single neurons in molecularly defined cell types.

Among them, studies in transmission of coronavirus have set up an efficient evaluation method of recognizing cross-species transmission of coronavirus. Assessing the potential risks of coronavirus origin from the bat and the pangolin, the scientists found that there are potential risks of across-species transmission among different coronavirus, thus continuing to monitor zoonotic coronavirus is a must.

Furthermore, adjuvant therapy in locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinom provides a new treatment for cancer with long-term low-dose oral administration. 

According to the clinical studies results, using this new method after radiotherapy can significantly reduce the risk of treatment failure by 45 percent and the incidence of serious adverse effects by 60 percent, with a 74 percent completion rate. The studies have established a new global standard for the treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma, which is internationally leading, highly effective, low toxic and simple.

CAST has compiled this list every year since 2015.

(With input from Xinhua News Agency)

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