Latest research news

March 3, 2004

Brown promises billions to science
Gordon Brown will make science and engineering the centrepiece of this summer’s spending round, announcing a policy review in the Budget to identify investment priorities. The chancellor has decided that although this will be the toughest spending round since 1998, billions of pounds more will be ploughed into the science base to try to make Britain the most attractive location for research in the world.
( The Times )

Nasa to reveal 'significant' evidence of Martian water
Space scientists plan to make a "significant" announcement today about their mission on Mars with speculation last night they would announced new evidence Mars was a wet and warm planet, capable of sustaining microscopic life.
( The Independent )

Comet-chasing spacecraft blasts off
Europe's comet-chasing Rosetta spacecraft finally lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 0717 GMT on 2 March - five days after its scheduled launch date.
( New Scientist )

Breast feeding could lower risk of heart disease
Breast-fed babies have lower blood pressure as children than bottle-fed babies, researchers have found. This could mean that they will have lower blood pressure as adults, and thus be at lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
( The Times )

Rival says Atkins diet can make you depressed
The Atkins diet, which replaces bread and pasta with steaks and eggs, is likely to make many people - and especially women - irritable and depressed, according to researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They have found that when we stop eating carbohydrate our brains stop producing serotonin, the chemical in the brain that elevates mood and suppresses appetite.
( The Guardian )

Vaccine hope for tumours
Vaccines that make nascent breast tumours disappear have raised the possibility of a new treatment for breast cancer. Italian researchers targeted pre-cancerous changes called preneoplastic lesions in mice. They used two vaccines to encourage the immune system to eliminate the lesions.
( The Times )

Eden grows GM tomatoes
There were red faces at the ecologically-correct Eden Project, Cornwall's runaway tourist attraction, when staff discovered they had been growing a group of genetically modified tomatoes by mistake. Twenty-five seeds, not approved for planting in this country, were received in a batch ordered by the futuristic botanical garden from the University of California, Davis, which thought it was sending a non-GM variety.
( Daily Telegraph )

Scientists unscramble genes of chicken
The genetic code of the domestic chicken has been mapped by a team of international scientists. It could eventually help efforts to prevent the emergence and spread of strains of bird flu. The map also shows the genetic variation between different breeds.
( The Times )

Veni, vidi, veggie...
Roman gladiators were overweight vegetarians who lived on barley and beans, according to a scientific study of the largest gladiator graveyard discovered. Analysis of the bones of more than 70 gladiators recently found near Ephesus, the Roman capital of Asia Minor, puts paid to traditional Hollywood images of macho carnivores with the physique of boxers.
( Daily Telegraph )

Asteroid predates dinosaurs' extinction
The theory that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a huge asteroid that struck Mexico 65 million years ago has been called into question by research. Fresh analysis of rock cores drilled from the Chicxulub crater, in the Yucatán peninsula, suggests that it predates the extinction of the dinosaurs by 300,000 years.
( The Times )

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