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BBC Inside Science

300 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4Website

Dr Adam Rutherford and guests illuminate the mysteries and challenge the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.

31:14

Earliest modern human skull, Analysing moon rocks, Viruses lurking in our genomes

A new study shows that 210,000-year-old skull found in Greece is the earliest evidence for modern humans in Eurasia. A second skull found in the same site is found to be a Neanderthal from 170,000 years ago. These findings suggest that modern humans left Africa earlier and reached further than previously thought.

Analysing moon rocks
The Apollo missions were scientific explorations, bringing back hundreds of kilograms of moon rock to help us understand the formation of the Moon, the Earth and life itself. We are still studying the rocks that were bought back from between 1969 and 1972. Roland Pease went to the Diamond Light Source Syncotron in Oxfordshire, where scientists are still studying these moon rocks.

Viruses lurking in our genomes
When it comes to our genomes, there is no such thing as 100% human. Our genetic code is a patchwork of DNA that we have picked up or lost along the way. 8% of our DNA comes from viruses. So what does this mean? Much of the viral DNA is thought to have been involved in forming our immune systems, fighting against pathogenic viruses. But it's not all good news, new work suggests that these human endogenous retroviruses or HERVs might also be the missing causative link in major 'unsolved' neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis [MS], amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease [ALS] and schizophrenia [SCZ].

Presenter: Adam Rutherford
Producer: Caroline Steel

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