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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 6 April
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GEOFF WATTS
Geoff Watts
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Thursday 6 April 2006
The fossilised remains of Tiktaalik (Ted Daeschler/Nature)
The fossilised remains of Tiktaalik
(credit: Ted Daeschler/Nature)

Fossil Fish Out Of Water

There was a time when, as evolution has it, there were fish in the sea, but no vertebrates living on land. At some point, this changed, and then there were both sea and land-living creatures. To prove this point, the fossil record should show that land animals are descended from fish, and according to this week's issue of the journal Nature, a 375 million-year-old fossil, recently discovered in northern Canada, is the vital piece of evidence needed. Tiktaalik is about 1 metre long, has a flattened head, scale-covered body and resembles a giant salamander. Geoff Watts speaks to paleontologist Dr Ted Daeschler about his discovery. 
 
Scientists' responsibility as forecasters of doom

We are always at risk of natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes - events which are sometimes difficult to predict.  As science is becoming more able to forecast what might happen in such an event, should earth scientists be doing more to alert society to the effects of these natural catastrophes? At a meeting this week in Vienna, members of the European Geosciences Union have been discussing just this; opinions differ. 
 
Carbon Nano Tubes as a drug delivery system

Dr Kostas Kostarelos from the University of London's School of Pharmacy is trying to see if these little tubular structures could be the answer to the drug industry's dreams. Carbon Nano Tubes are microscopic cylinders that can be injected into the body and go pretty much where you want them to, maybe even down not just to cellular level but to a particular layer within the cell. Dr Kostarelos and his team are trying to see if these could be used for to deliver cancer drugs to particular areas of the body. The first thing he has to find out, however, is if they're safe to use...

Dengue Mosquito traps

Dengue mosquitoes pass on a viral infection to their victims which is rather nasty. It used to be called 'break bone disease' because your limbs ached so much if felt as though they were going to break. In some unfortunate cases, the disease can cause internal organs to bleed which makes the situation very serious. Cases of dengue are increasing in tropical areas such as Singapore and Australia so scientists have decided to find an environmentally friendly way of killing mossies by luring them into a trap. Gone are the days of spraying DDT over every surface, now they are taking advantage of the mosquito's keen sense of smell and enticing them with wonderful aromas of the human body.
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