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Dirt: Grime and reason

Depending on your point of view, dirt can be a deadly foe, an unsavoury sight or a mark of authenticity. We live in an age of extreme cleanliness but our conflicted feelings about filth are anything but neat and tidy, argues Andrew Martin

Playing God: the man who would create artificial life

The possibility of a synthetic life form being created in a laboratory has come tantalisingly close to reality after scientists said last night that they had generated the largest man-made molecule of DNA – the chemical blueprint of life.