Latest research news

March 22, 2006

University fires professor at centre of cloning fraud
Seoul National University fired the disgraced cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suk yesterday following a disciplinary meeting, saying that he and his colleagues had dishonoured the university. Six other professors were suspended or had their pay cut. Dr Hwang was suspended last month from teaching and conducting research, although he remained a professor. His university concluded in January that his claims were faked. The professor claimed to have created the first cloned human embryos and to have extracted stem cells, raising hopes of cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's.
The Guardian

Pesticides in food 'increase risk of cancer in babies and children'
Babies and young children may be at risk of developing cancer through exposure to pesticides in food, say scientists. Low levels of chemicals found in pesticide spraying, left, and plastics are more influential in causing cancer than previously thought, experts from the University of Liverpool said. They say that chemicals pass to humans from eating meat and dairy products and can also be transferred from a mother to her baby via breast milk. Jamie Page, chairman of the Cancer Prevention and Education Society, said: “This research suggests that there are links between chemicals and cancer.
The Times

Small heat rise may offer big boost for malaria
Even small changes in temperature may contribute to the spread of malaria in the East African highlands, a new modelling study has found – a result sharply contrasting with previous research. The latest work suggests populations of malarial mosquitoes could grow substantially with just a small rise in temperatures. For example, the mathematical models suggest a 3 per cent rise in local temperature from one year to the next can mean a 30 per cent to 40 per cent increase in mosquito abundance. Experts note the new research also uses five more years of temperature data from Africa that previous work did not.
New Scientist

How to get slim
Walking briskly for 30 minutes every day (which equates to about two miles) is considered the minimum required to maintain a healthy weight. According to research due to be published by Loughborough University, it doesn't matter how that time is made up. "Walking for three minutes 10 times a day appears to have exactly the same effect as doing it in one stretch," says exercise physiologist Dr David Stensel. His study measured levels of fat in the bloodstream and found that those people who had walked for a minimum of 30 minutes the previous day had lower levels of blood fat than those who had not. "The muscles store fat to use as energy during exercise and take in more fat whenever these stores are depleted. When that doesn't happen, the fat gets stored in adipose tissues and the weight piles on," says Dr Stensel.
The Independent

Scientist finds the speed genes
A British scientist yesterday claimed to have made a "historic breakthrough" in the study of thoroughbred genetics, after a six-year research project produced the first proof of a relationship between specific genes and the individual performances of racehorses. The results of the study by Dr Stephen Harrison, whose company Thoroughbred Genetics is based in Kent, will be published next month in the peer-reviewed journal Mitochondrian .
The Guardian

Humans spur worst extinctions since dinosaurs
Humans are responsible for the worst spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs and must make unprecedented extra efforts to reach a goal of slowing losses by 2010, a U.N. report said on Monday. Habitats ranging from coral reefs to tropical rainforests face mounting threats, the Secretariat of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity said in the report, issued at the start of a March 20-31 U.N. meeting in Curitiba, Brazil. "In effect, we are currently responsible for the sixth major extinction event in the history of earth, and the greatest since the dinosaurs disappeared, 65 million years ago," said the 92-page Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 report.
The Scotsman

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