Science In Action - Water on Mars?
Nasa's Curiosity rover finds rock indicating that there may have been water on Mars; Tapeworms' genomes reveal weaknesses; Growing replacement teeth; Annoying phone conversations.
Nasa's Curiosity rover finds possible evidence of water on Mars The Curiosity rover has drilled down into the Martian surface, making another significant discovery. The latest type of rock found in the Red Planet's ground contains clay, a type of mineral likely to have been made or changed by neutral water. BBC Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos joins us to discuss the latest findings. Tapeworms' genomes reveal weaknesses The larvae from certain species of parasitic tapeworm can grow in human organs, spreading around the body like a cancer. Two of these debilitating diseases are listed by the World Health Organisation as Neglected Diseases – illnesses that in total affect more than 1.4 billion people around the world, but are less well-known and attract comparatively little research funding. Now, the tapeworms that cause these two diseases have had their genomes sequenced. The findings reveal weaknesses in the tapeworm's armour that could be targeted by existing drugs. Science in Action's Jen Whyntie went to the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute to meet two of the researchers who led the project, Dr Magdalena Zarowiecki and Dr Matthew Berriman. Growing replacement teeth Lost a tooth? What if you could plant a seed of a tooth and grow a new one – roots and all? Using embryonic teeth cells and adult gum cells, researchers are have now successfully grown hybrid human-mouse tooth precursors in mice. Annoying phone conversations If you find overhearing mobile phone conversations annoying and distracting, you’ll want to hear what Dr Veronica Galvan of San Diego University has to say on the matter. They are more distracting than face-to-face conversations. Photo credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS; Dr Peter Olson/Natural History Museum, London; BBC; BBC/Bhasker Solanki