Image for Tsetse Fly Genome

Listen now 29 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Tsetse Fly Genome

29 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 24 April 2014

Sleeping sickness – trypanosomiasis – is a lethal disease that stubbornly resists eradication. Seventy million are at risk of the parasitic infection in Africa, and every year thousands have to be treated. Cattle are also vulnerable to the disease, adding to the misery it brings, undermining local farming practices and causing billions of dollars of economic losses. Now almost 150 scientists from 18 countries have unravelled the fly's genome. Dr Matt Berriman from the Wellcome Sanger Centre is Cambridge is one of the scientists who led the project.

Nicaragua Canal Controversy
The Panama Canal has been a major route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and its enlargement is due to be completed soon. Despite the imminent opening of the bigger Panama Canal, the Nicaraguan government has given the go ahead for the building of another, much longer canal. But according to some scientists there has been little assessment of the environmental impact such a project will have. On the programme Jorge Huete-Pérez, director of the Centre for Molecular Biology at the Universidad Centroamericana, and president of the Nicaraguan Academy of Sciences and professor Axel Meyer, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Konstanz in Germany, discuss their concerns.

Everest Avalanche
The death last week of 16 Sherpas near the Everest base camp has thrown a worrying new light on another delicate environment that concerns ecologists - the Himalaya. Environmentalists have long been worried about damage done by the growing number of mountaineers visiting the area. And the icefall responsible for the deaths reawakens an uncomfortable argument about the effects of global warming in the region, exposed during the previous report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which incorrectly reported widespread melting. BBC environment reporter Navin Singh Khadka knows the region well, and has been following the warming debate since it began.

Drones to Save Rhinos
In South Africa robbers stole what may be the biggest ever haul of rhino horn from a provincial parks agency. They cut through steel safes at the Mpumalanga tourism and parks agency in Nelspruit, taking up to 40 horns, with a black market value of $5 million. With the demand for illegal horn so strong, policing South Africa’s national parks is a dangerous and difficult job, which is why Dutch aero-engineering student Kitso Epema is adapting pilotless drone aircraft to assist the work.

(Photo caption: A pregnant female tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans) © Geoffrey M. Attardo)

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz


4 items


Free downloads

  1. Image for Science Hour

    Science Hour

    Science news and highlights of the week from BBC World Service. The Science Hour is a weekly…

  2. Image for Science in Action

    Science in Action

    New developments in science and science news from around the world, weekly from BBC World Service.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss