The tracker that could head off hospital bugs

Scientists have devised a way of tracking the spread of antibiotic-resistant bugs within a hospital by analysing the smallest changes to the genetic signature of the microbe as it spreads from person to person.

Disinfectants make stronger superbugs

Disinfectants designed to keep bacteria out of homes and hospitals could be fuelling the growth of superbugs. Scientists found that exposing infectious bacteria to increasing amounts of disinfectant turned the bugs into hardy survivors. The bacteria also developed resistance to the antibiotic, ciprofloxacin – despite not having previously encountered the drug.

Luke Jerram's 'Viral Sculptures' exhibition debuts at The Smithfield Gallery

Visitors arrived at The Smithfield Gallery last week to see some of the world’s most deadly viruses and bacteria up close. Luke Jerram's Viral Sculptures sees some of the world’s most deadly diseases intricately rendered into translucent glass works.

Howard Jacobson: All the obsessive hand-washing in the world won't stop those nasty little germs

My swine flu buddy rings the helpline and they say, yes, sounds like swine flu to them

Bug holds key to alien life

A tiny purple bug discovered three kilometres under Greenland ice has been reawakened from a slumber lasting more than 100,000 years.

Dr Mark Fielder: There's no need to panic – not yet anyway

Pandemic status has been called because the number of cases of H1N1 has now reached a threshold value. This situation was, and is, expected. Cases of infection will continue to appear throughout the next few weeks or months as the disease spreads. As time progresses, cases are likely to lessen as the natural immunity of the population develops and control measures are implemented.

Sum, By David Eagleman

Matters of (after) life and death

When life as we know it became possible on Earth

The mystery of how our planet's atmosphere became rich in oxygen has finally been solved

The lost world beneath the Antarctic ice

British scientists search for life forms hidden more than 400,000 years ago beneath Antarctic ice

Deadly Companions, By Dorothy H Crawford

An irresistible book on a gruesome topic, this absorbing account of microbes will make you see the world anew. We learn that smallpox killed off the Stuarts and the lice-borne typhus bug R.prowazekii "played a key role" in defeating Napoleon.

Bacteria outbreak kills baby in neonatal unit

A baby has died and six others were in isolation last night after an infection broke out in a hospital's neonatal unit.

Baby dies in hospital bug outbreak

One baby has died and six others were in an isolation ward tonight after a bug hit a hospital's neo-natal unit.

Microcosm: E.coli And The New Science Of Life, by Carl Zimmer

From soiled nappies comes a tiny wonder – with a giant role in genetics

Big rise in deaths linked to C. difficile

Deaths linked to Clostridium difficile have risen by nearly three quarters, according to official figures published yesterday.

Tim Lott: It's a breakthrough. I can feel it in my... chromosomes, is it?

When I woke up Friday morning I was absolutely thrilled with the news on the radio. Something very, very important had happened in some laboratory somewhere. It was Dr Craig Venter, head of the research team who had been studying the thing, relaying the scoop to John Humphrys:

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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there