Sir Alec Jeffreys

DNA pioneer retires

Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, who invented the technique of DNA fingerprinting, has announced his retirement.

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Why do we have animal testing?

File picture of a laboratory Credit: Grgur Zucko/PIXSELL/Pixsell/Press Association Images

The group Pro-Test, which says it is "standing up for science", says "without animal research, medicine as we know it today wouldn't exist".

The Medical Research Council says that the use of animals in medical research has made an "important contribution" to advances in medicine and has helped improve the health of both humans and animals.

"In accordance with the law, research using animals is only undertaken when there is no alternative research technique and the expected benefits outweigh any adverse effects."

"Whilst it is acknowledged that animal models are not a perfect model for humans, the use of animals in biomedical research remains essential. Alternative techniques cannot always reproduce the complexity of a living creature."

It says research using animals is essential in developing treatments for conditions like strokes, AIDS, and cancer.

Nottingham animal rights march: calls for 'immediate abandonment' of experiments on animals

Demonstrators will mark World Day for Animals in Laboratories today in Nottingham by calling for the end of experiments on animals. The organiser says:

Abolishing the Victorian method of research dating back 200 years of using animals will not only benefit animals, amend a 65-year-old law that is out of date with modern scientific understanding, it will also free up £50 billion a year towards finding cures for humans, everyone wins.

– Alex Irving, "No to Animal Experiments"


700 animal rights demonstrators expected in Nottingham

File picture of beagles Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Animal lovers will march through Nottingham city centre today to mark World Day for Animals in Laboratories.

600-700 campaigners are expected to attend to raise awareness of what they call the "outdated science of animal experiments".

They want the government to stop experiments on animals.

Cat DNA used to convict killer for the first time

Scientists have used cat DNA to convict a killer for the first time Credit: PA

DNA taken from cats has been used for the first time in the UK in a criminal investigation to convict a man of killing and dismembering his friend.

Scientists from the University of Leicester were called in by detectives investigating the discovery of a man's body found on a beach.

Scientists analysing DNA samples at the University of Leicester Credit: ITV News Central

The dismembered body of David Guy was found on a beach in Southsea in Hampshire in July last year.

David Guy's body was found on a beach in Hampshire Credit: ITV News Central

He was wrapped in a curtain covered in cat hairs. Identical hairs were found in a flat belonging to David Hilder. He was cleared of Mr Guy's murder but convicted of mansalughter.


Picture released of Mars rover that may have found evidence of life

Curiosity Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity – the rover being directed by scientists including Dr John Bridges from the University of Leicester, may have found evidence of life.

An image has been released by NASA, who now believe, after analysing rock samples, that Mars could have once supported living microbes.

Dr John Bridges, from the University of Leicester is one of two UK participating scientists on the mission.

More info can be found here

Leicester scientist finds conditions suited for life on Mars

Aerial view of the red planet Credit: Reuters

Scientists, including a doctor from the University of Leicester, have analysed a rock sample collected by NASA's Curiosity rover that shows ancient Mars could have supported living microbes.

Dr John Bridges, of the University of Leicester’s Space Research Centre within the Department of Physics and Astronomy, is one of two UK participating scientists on the mission, and leads a team from the University of Leicester and Open University.

He worked with other members of the Mars Science Laboratory mission to decide where the rover should drill.

Scientists identified sulphur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon – some of the key chemical ingredients for life.

Dr Bridges said: “We have never seen anything like this at the previous landing sites and it is telling us that some localities on Mars were habitable. Whether they were inhabited remains another question."

Dr John Bridges research blog can be found here

Jobs created with extension of uni Science and Enterprise Park

Thousands of new jobs could be created following Loughborough University's plans to expand its Science and Enterprise Park.

It's already one of the biggest of its kind in the UK.

Fifty businesses are currently on the campus, employing more than two thousand people.

The University wants to attract more companies specialising in advanced technologies to Loughborough.

Steve Rothberg, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise, says 4,000 jobs could be created.

Mars discovery rover could have found water on the red planet

Aerial view of the red planet Credit: Reuters

The curiosity rover which landed on the surface of Mars has found evidence there was once water on the planet.

Dr John Bridges from the University of Leicester is leading a team of scientists working on the project.

Analysis of a smoothed slab of rock indicates a stream of water once flowed there.

The mission is expected to last for two years.

Photo showing the rocky surface of Mars Credit: Reuters
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