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Ancient Human DNA Recovered

Duration:
18 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 05 December 2013

Human DNA from 400,000 years ago has been uncovered by a team of scientists from a site in Northern Spain. The findings mark an exciting frontier in the exploration of human origins. But as Professor Dr Svante Pääbo explains they also pose a puzzling set of questions in our quest to gain a clearer understanding of our ancestors.

Bee Pollination
Amidst declining bee populations, new research shows just how vital bees are to our food security and the quality of our crops. A study looking at bee pollination of strawberries found a range of benefits including greater commercial value, longer shelf life and less malformations in the fruit compared to other pollination techniques.

Male Contraceptive
Scientists in Australia believe they found a potential new contraceptive for men. Previous attempts have failed because the methods interfered with male sexual function and long term fertility. Experiments in mice deleted two key proteins responsible for the transport of sperm to the site of ejaculation, resulting in infertility during sexual activity. Scientists say the process is potentially reversible and could result in a viable male contraceptive.

Artificial Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis may have seemed like a boring chemical process in plants that everyone learnt in school but scientists say it contains innovative and efficient tips and tricks we can learn to similarly harness the sun’s energy for good use. Professor Greg Scholes from the University of Toronto tells us that the effects could be wide ranging from lowering atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide to creating new fuels from water.

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