Helen Briggs
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UK woodlands 'at crisis point' amid wildlife decline

UK woodlands 'at crisis point' amid wildlife decline

A review of the state of Britain's native woods and trees has found only 7% are in a good condition.While woodland cover is slowly increasing, the wildlife within it is decreasing, says the Woodland Trust.If threats to woodland aren't tackled, the UK's ability to tackle climate and nature crises will be "severely damaged", the charity warns.The Woodland Trust is among a number of groups calling for legally binding targets for the recovery of nature."The warning signs in this report are loud and clear," says Abi Bunker, director of conservation and external affairs at the Woodland Trust."If...

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Helen Briggs
Apr 13
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Human cells grown in monkey embryos spark ethical debate

Human cells grown in monkey embryos spark ethical debate

Monkey embryos containing human cells have been made in a laboratory, a study has confirmed.The research, by a US-Chinese team, has sparked fresh debate into the ethics of such experiments. The scientists injected human stem cells - cells that have the ability to develop into many different body tissues - into macaque embryos.The developing embryos were studied for up to 20 days.Other so-called mixed-species embryos, or chimeras, have been produced in the past, with human cells implanted into sheep and pig embryos.The scientists were led by Prof Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte of the Salk...

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Helen Briggs
Apr 15
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Global map of bees created in conservation first

Global map of bees created in conservation first

Scientists have mapped the distribution of all 20,000 bee species on earth.The new global map of bees will help in the conservation of the insects we rely on to pollinate our crops, say researchers in Singapore and China.Bee populations are facing pressure from habitat loss and the use of pesticides.Yet little is known about the array of species living on every continent save Antarctica, ranging from tiny stingless bees to bees the size of a human thumb.Bees provide essential services to our ecosystems and are the major pollinators of many of our staple foods, said Dr Alice Hughes of the...

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Helen Briggs
Nov 20
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Mutated strain of coronavirus 'can jump back and forth'

Mutated strain of coronavirus 'can jump back and forth'

A new coronavirus strain could potentially leap to other animals, such as rats, mice, ferrets and voles, an expert has warned.The virus could then "come back in future years into the human population", said Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust.His comments came amid new warnings about the virus's evolution in mink.The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said mink-to-human transmission could occur.And continued spread of coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2) in mink farms may eventually give rise to other mutated strains, or variants, "of concern".Further assessment was needed...

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Helen Briggs
Nov 13
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'Mutant coronavirus' seen before on mink farms, say scientists

'Mutant coronavirus' seen before on mink farms, say scientists

A mutant form of coronavirus found in Denmark has arisen previously in mink, scientists have revealed.The mutated virus, which appears to have spread from animals to humans in Denmark, has been detected retrospectively at a mink farm in the Netherlands, according to a leading Dutch expert.The mink were culled and the mutated strain did not infect humans, he said.Six countries have reported coronavirus outbreaks at mink farms.They include the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Italy and the US.Mink are known to be susceptible to Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, which can spread...

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Helen Briggs
Nov 9
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'Real and imminent' extinction risk to whales

'Real and imminent' extinction risk to whales

More than 350 scientists and conservationists from 40 countries have signed a letter calling for global action to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises from extinction.They say more than half of all species are of conservation concern, with two on the "knife-edge" of extinction.Lack of action over polluted and over-exploited seas means that many will be declared extinct within our lifetimes, the letter says.Even large iconic whales are not safe."Let this be a historic moment when realising that whales are in danger sparks a powerful wave of action from everyone: regulators, scientists,...

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Helen Briggs
Oct 10
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