22nd August 2010

Last updated: 20 August 2010

A recent study by scientists in Cardiff, working as part of an international team, has linked the process of cell division with the way cells acquire their different characteristics. Cells, the basic units of life, have been studied for centuries, and it's understood that cells divide many times over to produce complex living organisms. This "cell cycle" has a built in system to check that when a cell divides, it has an exact copy of its genes. If this this process breaks down that cancer cells can form. The recent study paves the way for a greater understanding of how cells work, and also how things can go wrong. Professor Jim Murray head of the new Molecular Biosciences Research Division at Cardiff University's School of Biosciences joins Adam Walton to explain the work, which was published in the journal Nature

Down the centuries Britain has been at the forefront of scientific and technical innovation. From the steam locomotive to the invention of television, ingenious ideas have put our scientists at the forefront of a whole range of endeavours. Wales has produced a long list of innovators including an early pioneer of flight, and a key player in the development of RADAR. Now, British brain power in the first decade of the 21st Century is being celebrated in a soon-to-be-opened exhibition by the British Library in London, which who have selected fourteen of the most groundbreaking inventions from the past ten years. Joining the programme is the British Library's resident patent expert Steve Van Dulken and the Welsh inventor of the Mosquito, Howard Stapleton

The mystery of what triggers one of the world's most spectacular migrations is finally being unravelled by scientists after a three year study of the red crabs of Christmas Island . Each year, around November, the crabs travel through the forest to the sea. Tens of millions move through buildings and across roads, urged on by their natural instinct to reach the sea for mating and spawning. Normally the crabs are quite inactive, spending most of their time inside their burrows on the rainforest floor. The details of how they suddenly gain a wild burst of energy, which involves the crabs walking several kilometres over a few days, has remained a mystery until now. Scientists from Bangor and Bristol Universities have been working on a major three year research project to investigate the mechanics of this mass migration, which involves a sudden lifestyle change for the red crabs. The project has identified a specific hormone which plays a crucial part in the annual event. Joining Adam is Professor Simon Webster from Bangor University's School of Biological Sciences.


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