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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Monkeys can now see the world in full colour

Gene therapy using an Adenovirus vector. A new...Image via Wikipedia

PARIS - Two monkeys were cured of colour blindness, thanks to gene therapy that one day may open the way to treating eye disorders in humans, scientists said yesterday.

The ground-breaking technique used a cold virus as a "Trojan horse" to infect cone-shaped cells in the retina, stealthily delivering a gene that provides a pigment which is sensitive to red.

About 20 weeks after the treatment, the two primates began to acquire full colour vision, according to the paper, published by the British journal, Nature.

It thus gives the lie to the belief that congenital vision defects become "hard-wired" through neural connections soon after birth, and cannot be corrected.

Colour vision in the two adult squirrel monkeys has remained stable more than two years after treatment, the paper says.

Red-green colour blindness affects between 5 and 8 per cent of men, and around 1 per cent of women. AFP

From TODAY, World – Thursday, 17-Sep-2009

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Recycled car vrooms to 1st race

LONDON - A racing car built from recycled drinks bottles, old aircraft panels and carrot tops will line up for its first competitive race next month.

The Formula Three car, which runs on fuel derived from chocolate waste and wine dregs, was built by engineers at Warwick University as part of a project to push green technology to its limits.

The £500,000 ($1.2 million) car has a top speed of 170mph and can accelerate faster than a conventional Formula Three car, reaching 60mph from a standing start in around 2.5 seconds.

The car's chassis was salvaged from a scrapped vehicle, as was the two litre BMW diesel engine.

More than half of the body panels are from materials destined for landfill, such as old carbon fibre aircraft panels.

The car's steering wheel was produced by a Scottish company that turns fibres from carrot waste into fishing rods and other products. THE GUARDIAN

From TODAY, World – Wednesday, 09-Sep-2009

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