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It will be difficult – but not impossible – to detect the chemical breakdown products of any nerve agents that may have been used in the Damascus attack, but access to the victims could be critical in proving the illicit use of chemical weapons.

Obituaries: Professor Arnold Bender

ARNOLD BENDER was a giant in the field of food science and nutrition. He made important contributions to these subjects not only in the basic science but also by building bridges between the two disciplines, between academia and the food industry, bench science and its practical application, scientific research and public understanding.

Single hair can show cancer risk

A SINGLE pubic hair could soon be used to tell doctors whether a woman is likely to develop breast cancer, according to scientists who have developed a potential test for the disease.

Letter: Depressed society

Depressed society

Search engines: On the serendipity of science

IN THE summer of 1987, a team of marine biologists stumbled upon a remarkable object. They were exploring the deeper reaches of the Pacific Ocean in a deep-sea submersible called Alvin when they found the giant skeleton of a blue whale.

Obituary: Lord Phillips of Ellesmere

DAVID PHILLIPS was an outstanding scientist, one of the founding fathers of structural biology and a wise, influential figure in science and government.

GM Foods: Current tests are inadequate protection

We asked Michael Antoniou, molecular geneticist, to explain the dangers

Typhus genes linked to the birth of life

SCIENTISTS HAVE broken the genetic code of one of the biggest killers in the history of infectious disease - and in the process revealed how animals came to breathe oxygen.

Science: Wizard from the world of truth and justice

James Randi is the enemy of psychics, faith healers and spoon- benders, and he's out for blood.

Open Eye: 'What it means to me...'

Three students sum up the experience and benefits of their Master's programmes

Viper's venom may treat cancer

VENOM FROM a poisonous American snake contains a protein that in animal experiments virtually halted the spread of breast cancer to other tissues.

Doctors tell of dangers in CS spray s ing `causes skin blistering'

DOCTORS AT the National Poisons Service say that they have had reports of unexpected adverse health effects of CS spray, including skin blistering.

Podium: Biotechnology comes out in the wash

From a series of lectures by the Professor of Biochemistry at Nottingham University FROM THE farm gate to the consumer's plate" is a phrase I once used to define the food industry, to differentiate it from agriculture. Of course, not all our food and drink comes from the farm. Nor is everything that comes through the farm gate destined for our table. Much agricultural production is devoted to non-food products.

Books: High Noon for the zombies of Wardour St

Soho Black

Jellyfish genes are biological recipe for a luminous lunch

IT COULD spell the beginning of the end for birthday candle makers. An American company is making cakes, icing, drinks, cosmetics and even water that glows in the dark, using light-emitting enzymes derived from deep-sea jellyfish, squid and shrimp.

Outlook: The Biotech buck doesn't stop here

IT IS HARD, reading yesterday's "we did no wrong" circular from British Biotech, to accept that this finally puts the lid on the extraordinary sequence of allegations which have coloured the company's affairs for the last few months. A brave attempt is made to rebut, point by point, the demolition job performed on the company by its former head of research, Dr Andrew Millar, and to some extent it succeeds. Crucially, however, the circular fails to give investors much confidence in the products the company has been developing, nor does it explain adequately why the company allowed, indeed encouraged, expectations of these compounds to become so inflated.
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Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border