This week’s programme features the latest research into understanding the genomes of some of our fellow species.


Dr Kay Prufer and colleagues at the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany have just published the detailed map of the DNA of one our close relatives, the bonobo.

We share around 99% of our genetic material with the bonobo and with the chimpanzee. Yet the three species have very different behaviours. What does this new work tell us about our differences?


Scientists have just announced they have sequenced the genome of a malaria parasite, having taken a blood sample from an infected person.

Dr Julian Rayner from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge discusses the work and the implications for finding new treatments for malaria.


Cryptosporidium is a parasite that causes diarrhoea in many millions of children each year, with thousands dying of dehydration. It can also be lethal for people with AIDS and other conditions in which the immune system can’t fight the infection.

Now Dr Kevin Tyler of the University of East Anglia in the UK has been finding out the genetic differences between the two types of the parasite, which can help in finding treatments.


Another team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has used the fact that it’s possible to sequence the genome of an organism very rapidly and cheaply to find a way to identify the strain of the superbug, MRSA, in a real life situation in a hospital.

Time is of the essence in discovering which strain is producing the infection and making sure the right antibiotic is used to treat the patients. Andrew Luck-Baker talks to Dr Matt Holden.

(Image: A mother and a baby bonobo in the Congo. Credit: AP Photo / Vanessa Woods, Duke University)

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18 minutes

Last on

Mon 18 Jun 2012 01:32 GMT

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