Latest research news

February 9, 2005

Court challenge to cloning licence
A legal challenge to Britain’s first stem cell research licence is to go ahead. It is a decision that will re-ignite the controversy over human cloning, and the move could have implications for a separate ruling expected today on the pioneers who created Dolly the sheep.
The Scotsman

Hubble telescope 'will die in orbit'
The ageing Hubble Space Telescope will be left to die in orbit under the 2006 budget for Nasa
proposed yesterday. The United States space agency’s total budget would rise by 2.4 per cent over 2005 to about $16.5 billion (£8.8 billion), but only $93 million would be spent on Hubble, with $75 million of that aimed at bringing the observatory down to Earth safely, Nasa’s financial controller said.
The Scotsman

Early motherhood may shorten a woman's life
Women who start a family early in life tend to die younger, a study of childbirth and longevity has revealed.A trawl through thousands of church records in Finland dating to the 17th and 18th centuries has found a correlation between the age at which a woman had her first child, the number of children she had, and the age at which she died.
The Independent

Giving heart disease the brush-off
Brushing your teeth may reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke, a study has found. Researchers found that people with more gum disease have more heart disease, and that the
link applies only to those bacteria that cause gum disease. Earlier research had suggested such a link, but relied on "markers" for gum disease, such as missing teeth. This study found a direct correlation between quantities of gum disease bacteria and the degree to which arteries narrowed.
The Times

Osteoporosis gene discovered
Bone researchers claim to have discovered an osteoporosis gene which may be present in about 19 per cent of people. The Washington University study, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, studied 156 women and found that the gene, CYP1A1, accelerates the breakdown of oestrogen and is linked to low hip-bone density.
The Times

Brown dwarf may someday harbour habitable planets
The construction site of a miniature solar system has been spotted but, unusually, its central star is a tiny brown dwarf. The star is so small it could be mistaken for a giant planet and it is surrounded by a disc of material chunky enough to form several planets the size of Earth or Mars.The discovery calls for a rethink of how diverse planetary systems can be, says Kevin Luhman of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US.
New Scientist

A study in evolution: foxes turned into man's best friend
They stare you in the face, wag their tails and whine with joy when anyone approaches. But these are not dogs; they are a domesticated breed of fox that looks and behaves just like man's best friend. After 45 years of selective breeding, and almost as many fox generations, scientists have produced what nature could not, a tame fox who eagerly follows his master's gaze.
The Independent

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