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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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
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Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
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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
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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

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