Climate change extends hay fever season
Spring this year will be heralded by the sound of sneezing, coughing and nose blowing as the nation's 12 million hay fever sufferers make an early start to the season. According to the National Pollen Research Unit, climate change means that the trees and grasses most associated with hay fever are flowering early. Sufferers can experience symptoms as early as the end of February and the season that once ended in July runs through August.
(Guardian, Daily Telegraph)
Professor's snub of creationism prompts inquiry
A biology professor who insists that his students accept the tenets of human evolution has found himself the subject of scrutiny by the US Justice Department.
(New York Times)
Working out what genes do
Scientists have launched a major international initiative to systematically uncover the function of each of our genes. They hope it will provide vital information about how cancer disrupts the normal functioning of our cells - and lead to new drug treatments to stop this happening.
Eco-crisis in Occupied Territories, says UN
Immediate action is needed to avert irreversible degradation of the environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a United Nations report has concluded. Protracted conflict in the region is damaging water reserves, soils, forests and native species, possibly beyond repair.
New antibiotic toxicity test
Researchers are using yeast to home in on the genes behind people's adverse reactions to antibiotics. The method could also help to screen new antibiotics for toxicity earlier in drug development, before they reach animal or human trials.
UN urges 'drastic' cuts in mercury
The threat to health from mercury emissions is far more widespread than previously supposed, the United Nations says. It is urging governments to introduce drastic reductions. There are technologies available already which will reduce mercury emissions from power stations by about 80 per cent.