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March 7, 2002

Dolly research scientist quits the UK
Just a week after the Lords gave their approval to stem cell research, one of Britain's leading scientists in the field has announced he is leaving to work in Singapore. Alan Colman, part of the team who cloned Dolly the sheep, said difficulties in getting funding to commercialise research meant he had to work abroad to turn his findings into treatments for patients.

British astronomers focus on white dwarves
Astronomers at Leicester and Cambridge universities hope to become the first to see a planet outside the solar system. A team from the two universities hopes to spot planets orbiting white dwarf stars. This approach relies on the fact that white dwarves, the remnants of dying stars, are far dimmer than conventional stars whose glare makes it impossible to see the faint light reflected by planets, according to New Scientist magazine.

Oxford commercial venture really is a spin-off
The term "spin out company" took on a new meaning this week as Oxford University's latest venture was announced. Spinox will develop a spinning process based on the principles used by spiders and other insects to create natural silk fibres. This approach - biomimetic (mimicking biology) spinning - could produce new materials for sutures, protective clothing and sports equipment.

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