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Material World - Coronavirusl: Horsemeat: Blackbirds; DNA

The new corona virus - can it be transmitted between humans? Plus how to trace the source of processed horsemeat using DNA to store data, and city blackbirds mating early.

Quentin Cooper looks at the coronavirus that has been transmitted from one individual to another in the UK. Professor Maria Zambon, an expert virologist at the Health Protection Agency, and Ian Jones, Professor of Virology at Reading University, discuss these latest infections, what is being done to find out more and why coronaviruses are being so closely studied. Will science be able to trace the sources of horsemeat that have illegally entered the European food chain? Chris Smart from Leatherhead Food Research explains more about DNA identification of potentially contaminated meat. Another use for DNA could be as a data storage device. Dr. Nick Goldman from the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge tells Quentin Cooper how. And Davide Dominoni from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology has found that city dwelling blackbirds are ready to reproduce earlier than their rural counterparts - and it appears to be because of increased light exposure.

  • Broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 9:00PM Mon, 18 Feb 2013
  • Available until 12:00AM Thu, 1 Jan 2099
  • First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 4:30PM Thu, 14 Feb 2013
  • Categories
  • Duration 28 minutes

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