China catching up in space; Russia starts tiger census

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 February, 2015, 7:22am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 February, 2015, 1:54pm

Scientists reveal map of second genetic code

Scientists for the first time have mapped out the molecular "switches" that can turn on or silence individual genes in the DNA in more than 100 types of human cells, an accomplishment that reveals the complexity of genetic information and the challenges of interpreting it. Researchers unveiled the map of the "epigenome" in the journal Nature. The mapping effort is being carried out under the 10-year, US$240 million US government programme. Reuters


China closing in space, US Congress hears

China's space programme is catching up with that of the United States and Washington must invest more if it is to remain the world's dominant space power, a US congressional hearing heard. Experts speaking to Congress's US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said China's fast advances in space technology were part of a strategy to shape international geopolitics to its interests and achieve strategic dominance in the Asia-Pacific region. Reuters


Russia starts 10-year Siberian tiger count

Russia has launched its once-a-decade census on Siberian tigers. The biggest wild cats in the world, the tigers are devilishly elusive and only venture into areas of human habitation when short of food. Few people have ever seen a Siberian tiger in the wild and this makes the job, now under way, extremely hard work. More than 2,000 people have been recruited to take part and they will traverse thousands of miles of territory in the Russian far east, searching for tiger footprints. Where possible, they travel in cars or on snowmobiles, but usually the work has to be done on skis or on foot. The last census, in 2005, showed only around 450 Siberian tigers left in the wild. The Russian government wants the figure to go up to 600, but despite success in combating poachers, it is unclear whether the numbers have risen. The Guardian