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Polar bear DNA 'may help fight obesity'

New research suggests polar bears' genes may hold the answer to fighting heart problems linked with obesity in humans.

Analysis of polar bears' DNA suggests their genes have mutated to cope with their high-fat diet. Credit: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/Press Association Images

Scientists believe the bears' genetic make-up has adapted so that they can eat a diet containing very high levels of fat without any sign of heart disease.

Lead researcher Professor Rasmus Neilsen, of the University of California at Berkeley, said learning more about the bears' DNA may allow scientists "to modulate human physiology down the line".


Twin polar cubs make debut at zoo in Germany

Two 14-week old polar bear twins were presented to the public for the first time today.

Two 14-week old polar bear twins pictured today Credit: Reuters

The pair, who were seen exploring their enclosure at the Hellabrunn zoo in Munich, Germany, were born in December to mother Giovanna. They have yet to be named.

The twin polar cubs play together at a zoo in Germany on their first public outing Credit: Reuters

Polar bear cubs in Munich zoo open eyes for first time

A pair of newborn polar bear cubs in Munich have been captured opening their eyes for the first time. The twins - Europe's first polar bear cubs in 2013 - were born at Hellabrunn Zoo on December 9.

Cameras installed in the maternity den showed them snuggling up to their mother, seven-year-old Giovanna, and opening their eyes for the first time.

The zoo said on Thursday that the twin cubs are making good progress and are now exploring their home - two litter boxes and a play area in the den - if not yet on foot, then at least with their eyes.