Scottish biologist appointed Europe's first chief scientist

Scotland's chief scientific adviser has been appointed to a similar, newly created, post in the European Commission.

Oldest known fossils prove life began more than 3.4bn years ago

The fossilised remains of the oldest known lifeforms on Earth have been discovered in samples of rock collected near a remote watering hole in the middle of the Australian Outback.

And you thought it was just fluff? New bacteria found in belly-buttons

Scientists have found 1,400 strains of bacteria lurking in human belly buttons. The discovery was made during a study in which 95 volunteers allowed a team of microbiologists to gaze at their navels and take swabs from inside their belly buttons.

Long lunch? This sandwich stays 'fresh' for two weeks

At a time when retailers fall over themselves to assure customers that their food is fresh and locally-sourced, one company has bucked the trend by offering a "gas-flushed" sandwich with a two-week shelf life.

Jeremy Laurance: The antibiotic era has put millions of lives at risk

When bacteria find a way around our defences, we should start to worry

Bacteria link to Parkinson's

A stomach bug that causes ulcers may help to trigger Parkinson's disease, research suggests.

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

It's life, but not as the scientists of Nasa know it

It was one of Nasa's most intriguing messages: an invitation to a briefing where it would "discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for extraterrestrial life". The event held on 2 December at Nasa's headquarters in Washington led to headlines around the world, including The Independent's "Science grapples with the concept that alien life may be among us".

Briefly: Professor Frank Fenner

Professor Frank Fenner, who died on 22 November at the age of 95, was an Australian microbiologist who led the way in eradicating smallpox. He was also celebrated for his work on the myxoma virus which helped in the suppression of the wild rabbit populations in Australia in the early 1950s.

Hard times cause hard feelings over office etiquette

Longer hours and job insecurity are blurring the boundaries between home and office – and not everyone approves

Cockroaches 'may help beat superbugs'

Cockroaches have long been regarded as an unwanted pest but in fact they could hold the secret to treating the most resilient of superbugs, scientists said today.

DNA analysis key to beating MRSA

The genes of common bacteria could yield a "treasure trove" of therapeutic drugs to combat the growing problem of drug-resistant bacteria, a leading scientist said yesterday.

Colony of microbes 'as big as Greece' found in ocean

Giant cluster of creatures believed to be related to Earth's earliest inhabitants

Fight against superbugs goes underground

Scientists analyse DNA of soil microbes in hunt for next generation of antibiotics

Revealed: the 160 species living inside our guts

Scientists have decoded the DNA of the bacteria that take up residence in the typical human body
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Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
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Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
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Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
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Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
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The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
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Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing