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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 23 September 2010

Gene therapy. 20 years after the first trial, Quentin asks whether it will eventually make it into conventional medicine, and why it's taking so long.

Forensic archaeology in the search for the 'disappeared' from Northern Ireland's troubles. Last weekend, Charlie Armstrong, a victim of the IRA, was at last given a proper burial. John McIlwaine explains how geophysics helped trace his hidden remains.

And British geology in your pocket. To mark its 175th anniversary, the British Geological Survey crams its entire geological map of the British Isles into a smartphone app for all to use.

Producer: Roland Pease.

  • Gene Therapy

    Gene Therapy

    Gene therapy is 20 years old this month. On September 14th 1990, a four-year old girl became the first patient to be treated for an immune disorder by successfully inserting ‘healthy genes’ into her white blood cells. Since then, gene therapy has not only been hailed as a ‘miracle cure’ for SCID (severe combined immune deficiency) but research has also been done into its use as a treatment for sickle cell diseases, cystic fibrosis, Huntingdon’s disease and even colour blindness – but with mixed success. To discuss the highs and lows of gene therapy over the past 20 years is Robin Ali, Professor of Human Molecular Genetics at UCL whose recent research into retinal disease uses gene therapy to combat blindness.

    Professor Robin Ali
  • Forensic Archaeology

    Forensic Archaeology

    In August 1981 Charlie Armstrong, one of Northern Ireland’s Disappeared went missing, presumed murdered. Last week he was finally buried, his body having been formally identified through forensic archaeology. This is the latest successful recovery by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains. The team responsible is led by John McIlwaine from the Department of Archaeological Sciences at Bradford University who joins Quentin in the studio to discuss how anonymous and inaccurate tip-offs eventually result in identification.

    The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains
  • British Geological Survey

    British Geological Survey

    The British Geological Survey is marking its 175th anniversary by launching a smartphone application which will reveal exactly what rock formations are underneath our London studio. To demonstrate the app and discuss the history of the BGS is it’s Head of Information Delivery, Dr Keith Westhead.

    British Geological Survey


Inside Science

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Adam Rutherford explores the research that is transforming our world.


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    Material World

    Weekly science conversation, on everything from archaeology to zoology, from abacus to the…

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