Latest research news

March 12, 2002

Public 'misled by gene test hype'
A government-backed firm which sells genetic tests direct to consumers through the Body Shop chain is misleading the public by "irresponsibly" exaggerating the strength of research about the relationship between genes, diet and health, and downplaying the potentially serious consequences of gene testing, scientists have warned. (The Guardian)

Blair backs plans to build on wildlife sites
Ministers are moving to undermine protection for Britain's most important wildlife sites, to make it easier to build ports, airports, roads and other major developments on them. (The Independent)

Fresh threat to Darwin in Ohio schools
A debate seen as a test case for how children across the United States are taught about the origin of the universe is reaching its climax in Ohio this week. University scientists claim an attempt by a movement that challenges Darwinian principles to incorporate the theory of "intelligent design" into the education curriculum is a threat to the teaching of science. But supporters of the Intelligent Design Network say the scientific establishment is censoring debate. (The Guardian)

BMA urges drug testing for drivers as crash toll rises
Doctors' leaders called last night for drug testing kits similar to breathalysers to check growing numbers of motorists who are driving under the influence of illegal and prescribed drugs. (The Guardian, The Independent)

Uranium tests for UK troops
Veterans of the Gulf and Kosovo conflicts are to have urine tests to measure exposure to toxic and radioactive depleted uranium used in armour-piercing shells. (Daily Telegraph)

Animals at risk as nature springs a cruel surprise
Along with the blooming of daffodils and the arrival of the first swallow, the plaintive call of the mating cuckoo is one of the first signs that spring is here. But yesterday wildlife campaigners warned that the bird-world bully was in danger of falling silent in the British countryside because of the season-warping effects of climate change. (The Independent)

Hands-on museums: just the place to switch minds off
It is National Science Week, the annual event designed to boost public understanding of science, and London's Science Museum, along with science museums around the country, will be extra busy. But will visitors actually learn anything? (The Guardian)

Iraq unveils secret treasures
Iraqi archaeologists will present detailed evidence to the West today of a spectacular find of ancient Assyrian jewels and gold funereal artefacts that rivals the Tutenkhamun treasures. (Daily Telegraph)

Scrabble vowel shortage revealed
Charles Robinove has guts, but chutzpah would get him a better score. If only he could count on a fair shake of the Scrabble letters. But the tile draw in an electronic variant of the game is not statistically random, his experiments show. (Nature)

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