New research into the 'deep biosphere' indicates that the first replicating life-forms on the planet may have originated deep underground

Life on Earth may have developed below rather than above ground, reveal scientists

New research into the “deep biosphere” indicates that the first replicating life-forms on the planet may have originated deep underground

If all people lived in isolation for a year, would we wipe out all contagious diseases?’

Each person is teeming with bacteria, and we have a lot of viruses, too. A lot of the bacteria that live on and in our bodies can cause disease even if they aren't causing problems at the moment (for instance, E coli in the gut). So, no way. If each person lived in isolation for a year they'd still come out teeming with germs. But maybe it would theoretically wipe out some certain pathogen – I can't think of any, though. We actually need our bacteria, a lot of what goes on is a symbiotic relationship.

3.5 billion-year-old 'horribly smelly' fossil found in Australia is 'oldest ever complete example of life on Earth'

Researchers claim purple and green fossils would have smelt strongly of rotting eggs

Prime Minister David Cameron (L) walks with Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi at the Conservative Party Conference during a television interview on October 5, 2010 in Birmingham, England

Every little helps Nadhim Zahawi: MP who claimed most on energy bills also received 31p for paperclips

As details emerge of full extent of Stratford MP’s claims, he apologises for ‘mistake’ making taxpayer foot bill to heat his stables

Preventing flu: Scientists find bacteria in Japanese pickled turnips which could boost immune system

Study on mice in Japan has led to start of promising human trials using new probiotic drink

Sample polymer ten and five pound banknotes

Filthy lucre: Bank of England's new plastic notes provide ideal environment for nature's nastiest bacteria

Filthy lucre just got a new meaning. Plastic notes of the type chosen this week by the Bank of England as the next generation of paper money have been found by researchers to be the host of choice for some of nature’s nastiest bacteria.

Bacteria growing naturally in the human gut could be playing a decisive role in determining whether someone becomes overweight or obese

Gut bacteria could be behind why some 'identical' people are fatter than others

Findings of research on mice could mean re-colonising obese people's guts with healthy, lean-triggering bacteria could help them lose weight

Scientific breakthrough unlocks secrets of microbes

A team in the US reveals how they were able to sequence the genetic code of 201 microbes for the first time

This is a powerful technology that can harm as well as benefit the human race

Synthetic biology could be used to create lethal strains of microbes or to 'weaponise' viruses

Getting on: the Earth from space

Watch out for the hot flushes (a few billion years away): Earth enters its mid-life crisis

The far-future Earth will be very hostile to life, says expert

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) was warned more than a decade ago that meat from cows showing symptoms of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) should be heat treated to safeguard consumers from the risk of infection

2002 warning on diseased beef was not acted upon by FSA

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) was warned more than a decade ago that meat from cows showing symptoms of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) should be heat treated to safeguard consumers from the risk of infection.

Plants make food from sunlight, then use constant calculations to ration food use through the night

It's the day (and night) of the Triffids! Research reveals that plants use complicated calculations to regulate their energy reserves

Putting anyone who has woken up at night to polish off the remaining goodies in their fridge to shame, new research shows that plants use maths to stave off hunger until the morning.

Scientists create protein 'superglue' from flesh-eating bacteria that could help detect cancer

The terms ‘flesh-eating bacteria’ and ‘good news’ do not normally go together, but a group of researchers from the University of Oxford believe they have engineered a protein from flesh-eating bacteria that acts as a molecular ‘superglue’ and could be used to help detect cancer cells.

That's deep: life found 11km below sea level in deepest known point on the surface of the Earth

Bacteria discovered in Mariana Trench, a gigantic chasm in the seabed which is big enough to swallow Mount Everest entirely

Woese in 1961 with a model of the ribonucleic acid chain

Professor Carl Woese: Scientist whose work revealed the 'third domain' of life

Carl Woese was a biophysicist and microbiologist who uncovered the "third domain" of life, with the detection of archaea. In doing so he redrew the taxonomic tree and proved that all life on Earth is related.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

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Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering