Science in Action

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The latest science research and news stories from all over the world.


Diet, death and climate change

March 3rd, 2016

Episode 81 of 118 episodes

Diet, death and climate change Scientists have, for the first time, predicted how climate change might affect fruit and vegetable production and in turn how this will impact on our health. Writing in the medical journal The Lancet, Dr. Marco Springmann predicts that by 2050 reduced fruit and vegetable intake could cause more than half a million extra deaths – with three quarters of these occurring in China and India. The deaths would be caused by changes to our diets and bodyweight from reduced crop productivity. This is the strongest evidence so far as to the damaging impact of climate change on human health. Grey hair gene discovered The first gene for grey hair has been discovered along with other genes that make our hair curly. It appears that the greying process is not just environmental, but controlled by the IRF4 gene that has already been linked to blonde hair. The gene, reduces and eventually stops melanin production, making the hair appear colourless but how this happens is still unclear. The discovery could lead to cosmetic applications as well as improving forensic science techniques. A year in space US astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko safely returned to Earth after almost a year in space. Their extended tour is part of an effort to study the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the body. SpaceX mission future The US rocket company SpaceX halted a launch this week. It was the third time in five days that SpaceX had attempted this. It follows the break-up of a Falcon 9 rocket shortly after launch last year. However the company have recently safely landed and recovered part of a rocket – a global first. We discuss what this may mean for deploying satellites and supply missions to the ISS. Modelling Bansky Scientists at Queen Mary University of London found that the distribution of Banksy's famous graffiti supported a previously suggested real identity. Flying robots aid farmers At the University of Pennsylvania in the US, a variety of flying robots are being developed, which have the potential to help famers monitor crops, help rescue crews deliver aid after disasters, and even help doctors guide drugs around our bodies. Jack Stewart visits the labs to find out more. (Photo: Fruit and vegetable vendors work in the Maputo city market. ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images) Presenter: Jack Stewart Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz