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The Guardian (U.K.) 

UK urged to permit IVF procedure to prevent fatal genetic diseases

Top world scientists call on government to approve law allowing ‘three-person embryos’ which would remove faulty mitochondrial DNAFamilies at risk of passing on devastating genetic diseases to their children should be allowed to have a ground-breaking but controversial IVF procedure involving biological material from three “parents” to prevent the illnesses, leading experts have said. Rela

Obama's precision medicine plan seeks $215m for genetics-based treatments

White House calls on Congress to fund data-driven initiative focused on individual makeup rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ method of careBarack Obama on Friday unveiled details of a major research initiative that would invest $215m in the development of medical treatments tailored to a person’s genetics, as part of a wider effort to fund science and research.The centerpiece of the preside

Bird brain? Study says chicks count like we do

Findings suggest chicks might share human tendency to map numbers from the lowest on left, to highest on rightHumans are not the only ones to count from left to right. Researchers in Italy found that mental number lines, where numbers rise from the smallest on the left to the largest on the right, come naturally to newborn chicks too.In experiments at the University of Padua, three-day old c

Listen to an audio version of Oliver Burkeman's article on the mystery of consciousness - Podcast

Why can't the world's greatest minds solve the mystery of consciousness?Philosophers and scientists have been at war for decades over the question of what makes human beings more than complex robots Continue reading...

Many Americans reject evolution, deny climate change and find GM food unsafe, survey finds

Study points to worrying gulf between the opinions held by scientists and the general public in the US on key issuesA major survey of US opinions has revealed that huge numbers of people reject Darwinian evolution, consider GM foods unsafe to eat, and doubt that human activity is warming the planet.The report by the Pew Research Center in Washington DC was conducted with the American Assoc

World's cities experiencing more heatwaves, study shows

Number of extremely hot days a year has increased in hundreds of cities since the 1970s years, with frequencies peaking in the last five yearsWorld cities are experiencing more heatwaves and fewer cold spells, according to a study of extreme temperatures in hundreds of urban areas over the past 40 years. It found that many cities are seeing fewer extremely windy days than in the 1970s and hav

The story of computing - podcast

Tony Hey talks to Ian Sample about the Computing Universe, his book with Gyuri Papay, on the evolution of computers Continue reading...

UK Synthetic Biology Centres tasked with addressing public concerns

An extra £40m for synthetic biology research in the UK comes with support to encourage responsible innovation. Social media analysis offers a heads up on new research ideas and potential public concernsUK’s business secretary Vince Cable was at the University of Manchester on Thursday to announce £40m in new research funding for synthetic biology, including £32m for Synthetic Biology Research

Dippy the Diplodocus is displaced from Natural History Museum by blue whale

Dinosaur cast that starred in films and featured at parties will surrender its spot in central hall to even bigger whale skeletonDippy is leaving the building. After decades of dominating the central hall of the Natural History Museum, starring in movies right up to the recent Paddington, and enthralling generations of schoolchildren who imagined that with one swish of its tail it could take ou

Skull discovery suggests location where humans first had sex with Neanderthals

Skull found in northern Israeli cave in western Galilee, thought to be female and 55,000 years old, connects interbreeding and move from Africa to EuropeAn ancient skull found in a cave in northern Israel has cast light on the migration of modern humans out of Africa and the dawn of humanity’s colonisation of the world.For most palaeontologists that might be enough for a single fossil, but t

Laser inventor Charles Townes dies

Scientist was sitting on a park bench in 1951 when he came up with Nobel prizewinning and world-changing idea for a pure beam of lightCharles Townes, who shared the 1964 Nobel prize in physics for inventing the laser – a feat that revolutionised science, medicine, telecommunications and entertainment – has died aged 99, the University of California at Berkeley has announced. Townes, a nati

The Bletchley Girls and The Debs of Bletchley Park – review

The dashed hopes and the (sometimes) awful men … an insight into the lives and loves of the female codebreakers – and those with less glamorous jobs‘Sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one imagines,” Alan Turing says to Joan Clarke in _The Imitation Game_. This is the appeal of the Bletchley Park war. It’s a particularly British story, whos

Ancient planetary system with its own sun-like star found in the galaxy

Discovery of five planets orbiting around Kepler 444 suggests ancient worlds might lurk around other stars in more habitable reaches of the Milky WayThe discovery of five archaic planets around one of the oldest stars in the galaxy has raised the possibility that the Milky Way might be home to extremely ancient forms of life.Astronomers spotted the planets as they circled a star called Kep

Peanut allergy researchers say they may have found key to a cure

Melbourne-based study of children given nut protein with probiotic has transformed the lives of 80% of those who took part in clinical trialAustralian researchers have found a possible key to a cure for people with potentially fatal peanut allergies.A Melbourne-based study has already transformed the lives of many of the children who took part in the clinical trial. Continue reading...

Artificial intelligence 'will not end human race'

Head of Microsoft’s main research lab admits that AI will pose legal, ethical and psychological issues as it becomes more sophisticatedThe head of Microsoft’s main research lab has dismissed fears that artificial intelligence could pose a threat to the survival of the human race.Eric Horvitz believed that humans would not “lose control of certain kinds of intelligences”, adding: “In the en

Gene linked to long life also protects against mental decline in old age

Discovery gives scientists hope of developing a therapy that could slowdown the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementiaPeople who carry a mutated gene linked to longer lifespan have extra tissue in part of the brain that seems to protect them against mental decline in old age.The finding has shed light on a biological pathway that researchers now hope to turn into a

What lightning looks like from space - timelapse video

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released timelapse footage of lightning striking earth, as seen from the International Space Station. The footage, filmed in 2012, is made up of 49 images taken from 200km above Earth. The ESA's Nightpod camera aid helps the astronaut take remarkably clear photos despite circling the Earth at 28,800 km/h Continue reading...

Sugary drinks may cause menstruation to start earlier, study suggests

Scientists say impact of bringing forward girl’s first period by 2.7 months is likely to be modestSugary drinks may be causing girls to start menstruating earlier, research suggests. A study of girls aged nine to 14 found that those averaging more than 1.5 sugar-sweetened beverages a day had their first period 2.7 months earlier than those consuming two a week or fewer.The difference of a fe

Global warming spells disaster for tropical Andes glaciers

Glacier monitoring technology shows the most rapid glacier depletion for at least three centuries. Big glaciers are shrinking, with small ones disappearing altogether, writes Bernard FrancouAs components of the global cryosphere, mountain glaciers are known for their high sensitivity to climate change. Glaciers are the result of solid precipitation and reflect its variability from one year to

Scientists have found a way to ‘unboil’ eggs – and it could be a life-saver

It may not sound like the most useful of scientific endeavours, but the methods used to turn a hard-boiled egg back into its liquid state could bring major benefits to areas as diverse as cheese-making and cancer researchIt sounds like the breakthrough that no one was asking for: scientists have announced they have managed to “unboil” an egg. In a disgusting-sounding experiment that you probabl

Autism cases in same family more often carry different genetic risks – study

Research on 85 families finds less than a third of siblings with autism carry the same genetic risk, and in nearly 70% of cases known contributory mutations do not overlapA major study of autism in families has found that brothers and sisters who have the condition often carry different genetic risk factors that make them prone to the disorder.Research on 85 families found that siblings with

Study suggests sleeping drugs can increase risk of Alzheimer’s

Nytol, Benadryl, Ditropan and Piriton among the medications identified by scientists as raising likelihood of dementiaOver-the-counter sleeping aids and hayfever treatments can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, a study has found. The sleeping medication Nytol and anti-allergy pills Benadryl and Piriton all belong to a class of drug highlighted in a warning from researchers.Each of th

Huge asteroid set to fly past Earth – get that telescope ready

*Nasa says asteroids pass Earth often, but size of 2004 BL86 is unusual*Another object of comparable scale isn’t scheduled to pass for another 12 yearsThe closest pass to Earth by a large asteroid until 2027 is due to happen on Monday, according to Nasa, which said the half-kilometre wide object posed no danger to the planet.The asteroid, which is called 2004 BL86, will pass within 745,

Rosetta spacecraft makes first close analysis of comet 67P dust coating

Spacecraft observations of tiny grains collected by Cosima instrument find them to be fragile, rich in sodium and contain smaller inter-planetary particlesThe Rosetta spacecraft has made the first detailed observations of the dusty coating that formed on comet 67P on its journey through the distant reaches of the solar system.Tiny grains collected by the European probe’s Cosima instrument fo

Prince Charles: global pact on climate change could be Magna Carta for Earth

Prince of Wales said this year marked potentially the last chance to save the world from the perils of global warmingA new global pact on climate change, due to be signed this year in Paris, should be a “Magna Carta for the Earth”, Prince Charles has urged.He said this year marked potentially the “last chance” to save the world from the perils of global warming, with the Paris conference a

How viable is nuclear fusion as an energy source? - podcast

Are scientific and industrial ideas about commercial nuclear fusion reactors in the near future just wishful thinking? Continue reading...

Where I went right - interactive

Anyone can change everything, but to be successful you need to make the most of the time you have. From the battle for the open web to comet landings, via polar expeditions and a giant diplodocus, celebrated innovators Tim Berners-Lee, Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Ranulph Fiennes and Alice Roberts provide unique insights into the formative moments that have shaped their remarkable careers.Click here

New Rosetta pictures reveal crack in the neck of comet 67P

Large open crack runs for hundreds of metres and in places is a metre wide and filled with dustImages taken from the Rosetta spacecraft have revealed a long, deep crack in the fragile neck of comet 67P where the celestial body might one day break in half.The European Space Agency probe, which dropped its Philae lander onto the comet’s surface in November, has been circling the 4km-wide lump

Let GM mosquitoes loose to bite and help cure tropical diseases - researchers

*British biotech firm awaiting FDA approval to release bugs in the Florida Keys*Change.org petition gets more than 130,000 signatures to stop experiment Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases. Never before have insects with modified DNA come so close t

The official and unofficial stories of Google in space

Google have invested in SpaceX, a company founded on the idea of private space flights to Mars. But there are alternative narratives for the tech giant’s race into spaceA week ago, Elon Musk launched his new SpaceX satellite lab in Seattle. He plans to provide satellite internet access via a constellation of 4,000 satellites flying at 750km above the earth, each weighing hundreds of kgs. The


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