Tuesday 04 March 1997
This week's gene discovery: weight loss. Called UCP2, it is an "energy thief", according to Craig Warden of the University of California. UCP2 gives rise to a protein that steals some of the energy that cells generate, meaning they have to burn extra calories to make up for the loss. If it can be prodded into making more of this energy-stealing protein, cells would have to burn still more calories - and voila, weight loss. Unlike UCP1, discovered earlier in brown fat cells, UCP2 is at work in every human tissue Warden has checked, especially ordinary white fat and muscle, he said. Its protein appears to be about 20 times more abundant in the body than the protein from UCP1. The work is announced in the March issue of Nature Genetics.
Are Russia's ambitions in space dead? Nyet, to judge by the first launch scheduled for today of a military satellite from its new Svobodny cosmodrome in Siberia. The intention is to reduce Russia's dependence on the main Soviet space centre at Baikonur, which Moscow now rents from independent Kazakhstan. Colonel Sergei Gorbunov, a spokesman for Russia's Military Space Forces, said Svobodny would become the main launch site for commercial satellites which Moscow is banking on to fund its financially troubled space industry. Gorbunov said Svobodny, from which mainly solid-fuel rockets will be launched, posed no environmental dangers. But, mindful of the Mars96 failure, when a rocket went astray after launch, people who live on the nearby taiga have been warned that bits of booster rocket may fall back to earth during the launch.
Meanwhile, hopes of a relaunch of the European Space Agency's Cluster mission, which blew up directly after launch last summer, may depend on getting a cheap rocket from Russia. After Britain, France and Germany said they would not pay for replacement scientific instruments, Arianespace (whose Ariane-5 rocket blew up) offered the chance of two Soyuz launchers instead to keep the cost down to 210 million ecu. The ESA committee will consider the idea over the next month.
- 1 Malaysia issues arrest warrant for Gordon Brown’s sister-in-law after she publishes stories on leader Najib Razak's financial affairs
- 2 Porn block in India: hundreds of sexual websites banned, internet outraged
- 3 Natalia Molchanova: World's most successful free-driver is missing and feared dead after disappearing in Mediterranean
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Jackie Chan in second place in Forbes' Highest Paid Actors list after magazine includes actors working outside US movie industry
Malaysia issues arrest warrant for Gordon Brown’s sister-in-law after she publishes stories on leader Najib Razak's financial affairs
Natalia Molchanova: World's most successful free-driver is missing and feared dead after disappearing in Mediterranean
Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks traffic on Dublin road
Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Labour leadership race: Jeremy Corbyn could be the next Prime Minister, says Ken Clarke
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