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Science
LEADING EDGE
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Thursday 21:00-21:30
Leading Edge brings you the latest news from the world of science. Geoff Watts celebrates discoveries as soon as they're being talked about - on the internet, in coffee rooms and bars; often before they're published in journals. And he gets to grips with not just the science, but with the controversies and conversation that surround it.
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Listen to 27 October
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GEOFF WATTS
Geoff Watts
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Thursday 27 October 2005
female chimpanzee with lady

This week on Leading Edge -uncharitable chimps, a new technique for the early screening of eye and brain disease, why babies appreciate music more than adults and a Manchurian chieftain's incredible expanding Y chromosome.
 
Chimps Don't Give A Monkeys About Others

Given the chance to do a good turn to somebody else, most people are likely to take it, particularly if there is no cost to themselves.

Being our closest relatives, we might expect chimps to be similarly altruistic.

However, Los Angeles primatologist, Joan Silk, has discovered that the apes have no movitation to share their good fortune (in the form of bananas) with friends.

New Technique To Screen For Eye And Brain Disease

At the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Francesca Cordeiro and colleagues have developed a technique that promises early detection of diseases such as glaucoma and possibly Alzheimers disease, before symptoms are apparent.

They have devised to a way to watch single nerve cells in the retina go through the process of apoptosis, or programmed cell death.

Babies And Music

Martin Redfern reports on new research which suggests babies have a more sensitive appreciation of the rhythms and structure of music than adults.

Psychologists argue this reinforces the notion that music can benefit young children's ability to learn, particularly language.

Giocannga And His Expanding Y Chromosome 

Peter Tyler-Smith of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has led Chinese and British geneticists in some historical detective work.

By analysing the make-up of the Y chromosome, they've discovered there are one and a half million Chinese men alive today who are direct descendents of a sixteenth century Manchurian chieftain.

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