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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent