Plasmid 'edit' improves therapy

Better treatment for cystic fibrosis (CF) could be on the cards after a gene therapy breakthrough by Oxford scientists.

The breakthrough involves plasmids, tiny circles of DNA that can carry healthy genes to where they can replace faulty CF genes in the lining of the lung.

Something to crow about

Last year Oxford introduced the world to the wonders of 'crowcam': a new way of spying on the behaviour of wild birds using a combination of radio tracking and miniature video cameras. It was the first time that wild birds had been observed in this way and revealed some fascinating insights into the natural behaviour of Caledonian crows.

Road or vein?

According to research by French and US physicists road networks don't just look like the veins of a leaf: mathematical models show that they grow in a similar way. In fact road networks in all cities are driven by the same simple mechanism in spite of cultural and historical factors.

'Re-seeding' helps flu's disguise

An international team publishing in this week's Nature have given fresh insight into how flu outbreaks are 'different every time'.

Short light

They're short, lasting just 65 femtoseconds, but the light pulses produced by Oxford scientists could be very important for quantum computing.

Mind the 19th step

What do you get if you mix mathematics, music, dance and sculpture? Probably something a lot like The 19th Step, an experimental project involving Oxford mathematician Marcus du Sautoy.

Volcanic Venus

Are there active volcanoes on Venus? The latest results from ESA's Venus Express spacecraft have been taken by some scientists as firm evidence that there are, although others remain sceptical.

Saturn's pole: like a hurricane

The weather of our planetary neighbours is looking remarkably similar to our own: the latest observations of Saturn, undertaken by a team involving Oxford's Leigh Fletcher, show th

Wisdom of swarms

Ant colonies, schools of fish and flocks of birds all have a different kind of intelligence from individuals: Oxford scientists are amongst those finding ways of creating artificial 'swarm intelligence' to help perform all kinds of tasks - including designing new drugs.

Tower lions: ghosts of Africa's past

Lion bones found in the Tower of London came from an area of north Africa where no wild lion populations survive today. The finding comes from a study of mitochondrial DNA from two lion skulls, the first lion remains to be found in England since the end of the last Ice Age.