2012 breakthroughs: Curiosity rover landing system

Scientific breakthroughs: From bone fragments to Higgs boson, the tiny finds with huge consequences

Winners of this year’s best breakthroughs revealed

£100m DNA mapping project for cancer patients announced

Cameron said he wanted to "push the boundaries" by introducing genetic sequencing to a mainstream health service for the first time

The bacterium Clostridium difficile takes over the gut of patients taking antibiotics, causing severe bowel problems and even death

Overuse of hospital antibiotics led to deadly superbug outbreak

Global epidemic of C. difficile that killed thousands were caused by two separate strains

Don't tell me it's a 'fact' that all Muslims in South Asia are descended from rapists

Some Pakistanis and Indian Muslims claim Arab ancestry, which is often a huge source of contention.

Scientists claim to have found a genetic link to binge-drinking in teenage boys

The binge-drinking gene: Scientists identify key risk factor in alcohol abuse

Scientists could soon be able to predict whether teenage boys are likely to become heavy drinkers by looking at whether they carry a particular variant of a gene linked to thrill-seeking behaviour, a study suggests.

How do you study 600 boozing teenage boys?

Interviewing underage teenage boys about drinking needed the full approval of local hospital ethical committees overseeing the research at the eight centres in the UK, Ireland, France and Germany.

Giant tortoise George wasn't so Lonesome

The death of Lonesome George in June this year was mourned by environmentalists worldwide. The centenarian reptile from the Galapagos was said to be the last Pinta Island tortoise left, and his passing meant the extinction of his subspecies. But now it seems George wasn't as lonely as scientists imagined.

The centenarian reptile from the Galapagos was said to be the last Pinta Island tortoise left, and his passing meant the extinction of his subspecies. But now it seems George wasn’t as lonely as scientists imagined.

Not so Lonesome George: Researchers find 17 other tortoises in the Galapagos Islands similar to famous centenarian reptile

The death of Lonesome George in June this year was mourned by environmentalists worldwide.

The jaguar is one eight endangered species that could be cloned

Endangered animal species may be cloned

Endangered animals in Brazil may be cloned to help ensure their survival, if plans by Brazilian genetic researchers go ahead.

Lab mice can't help us in the fight against cancer

Curing cancer in mice is unlikely to lead to a breakthrough for humans. So why do we persist in carrying out bizarre and freakish experiments?

Athlete Pinki Pramanik who has been accused of rape

Female Indian athlete who won relay gold medal 'revealed to be a man' after rape charge

Indian authorities investigating a rape case say a sprinter who won a women's relay gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games is actually a man.

Ape expectations: A young chimpanzee

Newly discovered gene could help to explain human evolution, say scientists

Researchers have discovered a new gene they say helps to explain how human evolution diverged from the last common ancestor we shared with chimpanzees.

MRSA outbreak at Cambridge's Rosie Hospital halted by new DNA profiling technology

A bug-busting “black box” is being developed that can rapidly identify the source of hospital infections and help staff to stop them spreading.

Human intelligence 'peaked thousands of years ago and we've been on an intellectual and emotional decline ever since'

Is the human species doomed to intellectual decline? Will our intelligence ebb away in centuries to come leaving our descendants incapable of using the technology their ancestors invented? In short: will Homo be left without his sapiens?

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said it would not be possible to eradicate a disease which is threatening to devastate the UK's ash trees

Urgent action is needed to up UK's defences against plant diseases like fungus killing ash trees, says Environment Secretary Owen Paterson

Britain needs a radical rethink of its defences against emerging plant diseases brought in from abroad, such as the chalara fungus now threatening ash trees, the Environment Secretary, Owen Patterson, said.

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'