Gene, or rather, genes of the week, are those that cause the comparatively common problem of tuberous sclerosis. Affecting about 1 in 6,000 babies, it causes small tumours - usually benign - and small lesions, particularly on the face, consisting of white patches. The disease can be caused by a fault on either of the genes, which lie on chromosome nine and chromosome 16. In those with a faulty copy of the genes, seizures and learning disabilities may occur, in about 65 and 40 per cent respectively of cases.

The problem with the disease is that testing of prospective parents is not an exact predictor: though the genes involved are dominant, 75 per cent of cases arise through new mutations. The new work, isolating the second gene, was reported in the latest issue of Science.

Yet another genome is sequenced, and it's one you probably harbour - unwillingly. Nature reports that the 1,667,867 base pairs comprising the genetic sequence of Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium responsible for the majority of gastric ulcers, have been completed by an international team from the US and Sweden. About half the world's population is reckoned to be infected with H pylori, which burrows into the lining of the stomach. But little else is known about how it operates; scientists now hope that careful study will help them fight back.

The US House of Representatives has stuck its sizeable oar into the cloning debate there, backing an anti-cloning Bill that bans cloning of human embryos, not just of human beings. Researchers pointed out that this could turn into an embryo research ban, or even a ban on research on all somatic (body cells that are not sperm or egg) cells - because in theory, after Dolly the sheep, any somatic cell can be used to produce an embryo. "The US seems hell-bent on withdrawal from one of the most important areas of biomedical research," said David Blake, vice-president for biomedical research at the Association of American Medical Colleges. The US already bans state-sponsored research into human embryos.

The UK Patent Office reports growing demand for patents and particularly for patent searches - those checks to see whether a design has been registered already. Yet, paradoxically, the number of British patents actually granted fell, because the increased applications meant that more effort had to be put into validating them. The Patent Office says that this year's increase will be reflected in two or three years' time "when the applications have worked through the system". Worth remembering if you thought patents were the path to quick riches.

Will a virtual university charge virtual fees? Researchers at the universities of Loughborough and Southampton have a pounds 143,000 grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) are investigating the idea of remote learning (via e-mail and videoconferencing) as part of an ESRC initiative into "Virtual Society". The two-year project starts this October.

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'

Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album