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Devon Olympian Jo Pavey honoured at Exeter University

Jo Pavey celebrating winning the Women's 10000m Final at the European Championships 2014. Credit: Adam Davy / PA

Devon athlete Jo Pavey, who was made an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours, is to be given an honorary doctorate by Exeter University this morning.

The 41-year-old from West Hill, has competed in four Olympics, and last year won bronze at the Commonwealth Games and gold at the European Championships.

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Scientists overturn idea racehorses can't get any faster

Racehorses are reaching faster and faster speeds, scientists have found, overturning research which suggested they had reached their galloping limit.

A team from the University of Exeter studied a total of 616,084 races run by more than 70,000 horses, with a broader focus on sprint races.

Racehorses are reaching ever-faster speeds, the study found Credit: PA

Previous research, which suggested speeds had reached a plateau, had largely concentrated on a small number of middle- to long-distance races.

It is not yet known whether the faster pace is down to breeding, better training, better jockeys, or a combination of these.

Researcher Dr Patrick Sharman said:

There has been a general consensus over the last 30 years that horse speeds appeared to be stagnating.

Our study shows that this is not the case and, by using a much larger dataset than previously analysed, we have revealed that horses have been getting faster. Interestingly, both the historical and current rate of improvement is greatest over sprint distances.

The challenge now is to find out whether this pattern of improvement has a genetic basis.

– Dr Patrick Sharman, University of Exeter

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Fish genetically mutated by Cornish mining

Research at Exeter University has linked the evolution of fish to pollution from Cornwall's mining boom.

Scientists have found that pollution from historic mines in the South West has "severely affected" the genetic diversity of local populations of brown trout.

The report highlights the difference between so-called clean rivers like the Camel and the Fal, with more contaminated rivers such as the Hayle.

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Tin mine clean-up could reap rewards

Scientists plan to use algae to clean up water from a Cornish tin mine Credit: ITV News

Researchers at Exeter University are hoping to use algae to clean up water from a tin mine.

The project is taking place at Wheal Jane in Cornwall. Scientists hope the work will have extra benefits in that the algae will harvest precious metals at the same time.

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