Science this week named antiretroviral treatments that reduce the risk of HIV transmission its breakthrough of the year. Among the runners up are advances in microbiome research. "In 2011, researchers discerned a pattern amid the complexity," Science says of the human microbiome, adding that this year, investigators "also made other strides in understanding how diet affects the microbiome."
The journal's editors say genomic epidemiology will be an area to watch in the coming year. "Whole-genome sequences will help to determine quickly where newly emerging diseases come from, whether microbes are resistant to antibiotics, and how they are moving through a population; they will also shed light on historic epidemics," the Science staff writes.