Friend who betrayed us

profile : E Coli 0157 Once E coli helped us, now it's a killer. Bernard Dixon on the invasion of strain 0157

The great engineered British breakfast

The traditional English breakfast has become the latest product of genetic engineering. The food pictured in the fry-up above has been influenced in some way by developing techniques for stitching genes from one organism to another.

Infected children to sue over lethal food bug

Seven children are suing the Government and other organisations after they were infected by the food poisoning bug which has now claimed the lives of six pensioners in Scotland.

Deadly bacteria that confounds scientists

The town of Wishaw, near Motherwell, is now the seat of what is believed to be Britain's worst Escherichia-coli 0157 outbreak.

Mystery illness kills 14

A mysterious pneumonia-like epidemic that has swept a small town near Madrid for eight weeks claimed two more victims at the weekend, bringing the death toll to 14. The latest victim, a woman of 41, is the first non- elderly person to be felled by the bacteria, thought to those which cause Legionnaire's disease.

Take a sniff at modern slurry: Letter

Sir: Do farms smell of medieval manure? (Letters, 7 October). Sometimes they do, and to a farmer it is good and redolent of fertility. The warmth and smell of the animal byre was probably the first domestic comfort.

Science: Bugged by a critical mass

New research shows that certain bacteria behave strangely in a group. Bernard Dixon reports

Letter:Bacteria and the beginning of life

Sir: Charles Arthur's article, "A comet full of soup" (29 July), refers to ideas that we ourselves have expounded over many years. The article gives the impression that Mayo Greenberg was the first to suggest that life arose through the introduction of organic material from comets, rather than in a purely earthbound "primordial soup", whereas one of us already considered an extension of the primordial soup to include the entire solar nebula in Frontiers of Astronomy in 1955, long before Professor Greenberg had expressed any opinions on this matter. The evolution of our own ideas on these matters is traced in our most recent book Our Place in the Cosmos (Orion, 1996).

Bugs from space a threat to the Earth

Alien risk: Deadly infections could be brought back by expeditions as reality mirrors science fiction, says former Nasa expert

Britain flouted beef ban

Demands by John Major that Europe ease the ban on British beef could be undermined by an unpublished Government study, which shows that rules introduced in the late 1980s to control BSE have been widely flouted, write Mark Watts and Bob Woffinden.

Getting to the roots of urban decay

Public sector finance: Nature can help us to clean and reuse derelict land.

Science: Turning over a new leaf

A bacterium without cell walls could prevent disease in cabbages and other crops

Hospital infections strike at one in 10 patients

One in 10 patients contract serious infections while in hospital, according to the Royal College of Nursing, writes Barrie Clement.

Threat to ships

Threat to ships

The facts you need to know

Fears of an epidemic of brain disease may prove well-founded Photograph by TONY BUCKINGHAM
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