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Faulty genes 'cause night munchies'

Night-time snacking is the result of your genes, according to new scientific research.

Scientists from the Salk Institute in California have found that 'night munchies' are linked to a faulty PER1 gene, which controls the body's sleeping and eating patterns.

Late night snacking has become a ritual for many people, but its cause may lie in science Credit: Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press/Press Association Images

If a person's sleeping and eating habits become desynchronised, this can lead to night-time hunger pangs which disrupt sleep and may lead to over-eating and weight gain.

Ian Read: 'We like that AstraZeneca science is in the UK'

Pfizer's chief executive has moved to calm fears about the impact of his company's proposed takeover of AstraZeneca on British science.

Pfizer chief executive Ian Read has moved to calm fears about Pfizer's takeover of AstraZeneca. Credit: Pfizer

Speaking on a video on Pfizer's website, Ian Read pointed out the strength of the UK's academic institutions, saying:

"When we looked at AZ, we liked their science, We liked where their science is being done, which is in the UK.

"And we know we have good science in the UK in the Cambridge, Oxford, London and other universities."

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Pillinger was everyone's favourite eccentric scientist

As the face and driving force behind British attempts to explore Mars, Professor Colin Pillinger became everyone's favourite eccentric British scientist. Today, on news of his death, at the age of 70, his successes and even his heroic failures were remembered and celebrated.

His friend, and ITV News Science Editor, Lawrence McGinty, reports on the man with the stand-out side burns and burning enthusiasm for space:

Family: Pillinger death 'devastating and unbelievable'

The family of planetary scientist Professor Colin Pillinger told the BBC his death was "devastating and unbelievable".

Planetary scientist Professor Colin Pillinger died today aged 70. Credit: Johnny Green/PA Wire

The pioneering scientist, who was best known for the ill-fated Beagle 2 mission to Mars, became a professor in interplanetary science at the Open University in 1991.

He also earned a host of other qualifications and numerous awards during his prestigious career.

Prof Pillinger best known for ill-fated Mars mission

Planetary scientist Professor Colin Pillinger, who died today aged 70, was most famous for the ill-fated Beagle 2 mission to Mars.

Professor Colin Pillinger with the Beagle 2 landing craft in 2002. Credit: Tim Ockenden/PA Archive

The craft was supposed to land on the planet on Christmas Day 2003 and search for signs of life but vanished without a trace.

It was last seen heading towards the red planet on December 19 after separating from its European Space Agency mothership Mars Express.

Afterwards Prof Pillinger spoke of his frustration at the failed probe, and said there was nothing that should not have worked.

Professor Colin Pillinger suffered brain haemorrhage

Pioneering scientist Professor Colin Pillinger, who was the driving force behind Britain's Mars lander Beagle 2, suffered a brain haemorrhage at his home in Cambridge.

Pioneering scientist Professor Colin Pillinger. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive

The professor, who was awarded the CBE in 2003, later died in hospital, a spokesman said.

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Bacteria use 'sophisticated language' to communicate

Biochemist Natalia Sandetskaya places bacteria onto a petri dish at the Frauenhof Institute for Cell Therapy, 2013. Credit: PA/Peter Endig

Common bacteria found in water and soil talk to each other using language in much the same way as we do, scientists have discovered.

The bugs display a level of "combinatorial" communication previously thought to be unique to humans and certain other primates, which involves using two signals together to transmit a message that is distinct from them both.

Until now this type of communication had only been observed in humans and their closest relatives. However, the study published in the Public Library Of Science ONE found that the Psuedomonas aeruginosa microbe is similarly capable using chemicals instead of words.

Kepler-186f planet 'could support life'

An Earth-like planet confirmed by Nasa in the habitable zone around the Kelper-186 star has 'potential' to host liquid water - one of the pre-requisites for life as we know it to exist.

An artist's impression of the Kepler-186f planet. Credit: Nasa

Discovery demonstrates Earth-like planets 'are out there'

Nasa research scientist Tom Barclay has said that the hopes of the Kelper team have been answered with the discovery of Kepler-186f.

The discovery of the Earth-like planet orbiting star Kepler has demonstrated the existence of planets that could potentially hold life.

Lewis Vaughan Jones reports:

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