Latest research news

July 30, 2002

Government has bought wrong smallpox vaccine, say scientists
The government has bought the wrong vaccine to protect the UK population from smallpox, according to US research. Steve Prior, a senior scientist as the Potomac Institute in America, said in an interview with The Times that the Lister strain of vaccine ordered by the government at a cost of £28 million had not been proven to work against endemic smallpox.
( The Times, Daily Mail, The Independent )

Foetal therapy advances
Scientists at Imperial College, London, yesterday strengthened the prospects of treating genetic disorders in foetuses as early as ten weeks old after isolating and treating stem cells from foetal blood. The findings are reported in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology .
( The Guardian )

Children of working mothers lag behind
The children of women who return to work shortly after giving birth are more likely to be slow developers, according to researchers at Columbia University in New York. Three-year-olds whose mothers went back to their full-time jobs in the first nine months had poorer verbal skills than those whose mothers stayed at home.
( Daily Mail )

Scientists see red over lobsters
British scientists have solved one of the world’s great mysteries – why lobsters turn red when cooked. A team from Imperial College, London, and Royal Holloway, London, has identified changes in molecules in the lobster shell when it gets into hot water. Their findings are reported in US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .
( The Guardian, The Independent, The Times )

End is not nigh
The Earth is not going to be hit by a huge asteroid in 2019, as was widely predicted last week. But the risk from 2002 NT7 is not completely over. Nasa scientists said there was a remote chance of a collision in 2060.
( The Times, The Daily Telegraph )

Perfume chemical may protect crops
A chemical found in some of the world’s most expensive perfumes could soon be protecting crops against aphid attack, scientists said yesterday. John Pickett, head of biological chemistry at Rothamsted laboratory, said that cis-jasmone interfered directly with the development and fertility of aphids.
( The Guardian )

Superbugs threaten favourite veg
Some of Britain’s favourite vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes, could soon be impossible to grow commercially because of insecticide resistant “superbugs”, according to a research at Rothamsted, in Hertfordshire, and the John Innes Centre in Norwich.
( The Times, The Daily Telegraph )

Species and languages flock together
Areas with the most animal species also contain the greatest number of human languages, say researchers. The coincidence of biological and cultural diversity hints that preserving cultures may also preserve species, and vice versa. Development and conservation "probably need to go hand in hand", says Carsten Rahbek of the University of Copenhagen. His findings call into question the wisdom of trying to save wildlife in remote uninhabited areas. (Nature)

Batting before bowling increases risk of cricket injury
The England cricket team may have triumphed over India in the first Test match of this summer's series on Monday. But when England captain Nasser Hussain won the toss and choose to bat, he inadvertently shortened the odds that some of his team would get injured. Researchers at the University of Melbourne analysed all cricket matches played by the Australian national team and the six Australian state teams between 1995 and 2001. They found that batting first increased the likelihood of getting injured by up to 60 per cent for certain types of player. (New Scientist)


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