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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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Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
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Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

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Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum