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Science
THE MATERIAL WORLD
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Thursday 16:30-17:00
Quentin Cooper reports on developments across the sciences. Each week scientists describe their work, conveying the excitement they feel for their research projects.
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Listen to 3 March
PRESENTER
SUE NELSON
Sue Nelson
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Thursday 3 March 2005
Human Brain
Scan of a human brain

Neuroethics

Over the past decade, advances in neuroscience have started to open up the mysterious world inside our brains.

Researchers are closing in on the molecules that control our memory, emotion, confidence and mental health.

In the future, a host of 'cognitive enhancers', from designer drugs to electrode implants, could make profound changes to our minds. But how can we make sure they are used ethically?

Sue Nelson talks to Prof Barbara Sahakian, Clinical Neuropsychologist from Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and Prof Martha Farah from the Centre for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Gene patenting

After it was announced in June 2000 that the human genome was almost totally mapped, private and public entities unleashed a flood of patent requests for complete genes and smaller sequences.

But how can you patent a biological molecule? Should biotech companies be allowed to patent genes before they even know their function?

Sue Nelson unravels the fine line between the discovery, invention and ethics in the field of gene patenting with Dr. Sandy Thomas, Director of the Nuffield Centre on Bioethics and Dr. Tim Hubbard, Head of Human Genome Analysis at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

The BBC will be awarding a young science broadcaster the chance to spend two weeks working with the team that brings you programmes such as MATERIAL WORLD/ LEADING EDGE.

So if you are under 25 and not working as a professional broadcaster, go to the ABSW website to find out how you can be considered for the BBC Radio Science Unit/ Association of British Science Writers Young Broadcaster of the Year Award.

Closing date is 18th March.

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