Science in Action

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Sequencing the First Ancient African Genome

October 8th, 2015

Episode 58 of 158 episodes

DNA from a 4,500 year old Ethiopian skull bone has – the first entire genome of an ancient African – when compared to that of modern Africans, has shown a huge migratory wave of West Eurasian people coming into the Horn of Africa around 3,000 years ago, bringing agriculture and a few Neanderthal genes with them. Malaria Resistance Seen in Genome The largest genetic association study to date has found genetic variants associated with resistance to life threatening severe malaria. The team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge in the UK tested the genomes of thousands of children in West Africa, some with the severe form of malaria – Malaria falciparum. They were able to zoom into regions of the genome associated with resistance to the disease and found similar variants in the genetic code in the children who did not have the malaria, yet lived in malaria prone regions of West Africa. This is the first real insight into new genes involved in resistance. Science in Action looks at the 2015 Nobel Prizes for Science Evidence for Long-lasting Lakes on Mars New data from the Curiosity rover reveals that a transient water system of deltas and lakes once dominated the landscape at Mars’s Gale crater. But the climate models for Mars in the past, do not seem to provide an atmosphere thick enough to sustain large bodies of liquid water on the Red Planet. So was something else happening to warm Mars? The History of the Future In the second of our short series on Science in Action, Melissa Hogenboom goes behind the scenes at the Science Museum in London to explore how our understanding of ourselves and the world around us has changed over time, and often in unexpected ways. This week, it is computers, form Charles Babbage’s ‘Difference Engine’ to the ‘BBC Micro’. (Photo: Mota Cave, where the burial was located Kathryn and John Arthur)

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