Latest research news

March 12, 2003

Fresh Aids row engulfs South Africa  
The South African government was embroiled in a fresh row over its aids policy yesterday when the health ministry confirmed hiring a controversial scientist who disputes the link between HIV and Aids. Roberto Giraldo, a leader of the so-called aids dissidents, has been included in a team of experts to advise the government on how to combat the virus, which infects 4.7 million South Africans.
(The Guardian)

US toughens rules on GM crops
In an effort to prevent contamination of the food supply, the US Agriculture Department has announced stricter rules for crops that are genetically modified to produce pharmaceuticals or industrial chemicals.
(New York Times)

Europe's launcher back in action
The Ariane 5 rocket is likely to fly again early next month, say officials at Arianespace. The launch, involving the older version of the Ariane 5, will be the first since a new "heavy-lift" version blew up over the Atlantic after veering off course. It comes at a crucial time for Arianespace, already struggling with a shrinking satellite market and increased competition from other launchers.

Silence of the clones
Various genes that are essential for normal embryo development fall silent during cloning, new research shows. The genes could hold secrets to better cloning and help researchers to understand diseases such as cancer.

Better breast cancer screens?
A new three-dimensional breast imaging technique could increase the detection of early-stage cancers and reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies. Called full-field digital mammography tomosynthesis, the technique is the first to use X-rays to produce 3-D breast scans, Jeffrey Eberhard of GE Global Research told last week's American Physical Society meeting in Austin, Texas. (Nature)

The origins and ends of species
Scientists have managed to artificially transform one species into another by rearranging chromosomes. A team led by Stephen Oliver of Manchester University has converted one species of yeast into another as part of an experiment that reveals much about how one species can become genetically isolated from another.

Robot milking? Pull the udder one
A robot inspired by a vacuum cleaner and fitted with a discerning eye for a bursting teat may be about to take over the milking. The design, dreamed up by Bruce Davies, of Heriot-Watt University, while studying for his PhD, earned a £98,000 grant yesterday from Nesta, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. If herds unburden themselves three or even four times a day, yields could rise by 10 per cent or 20 per cent. The system could soon be on offer to 200,000 dairy farms across Europe.

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