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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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Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high