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While young people have been going to college in greater numbers over the past 20 years the Scottish higher education rate versus the English has been 'consistently and substantially' greater in Scotland, according to a unique study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The project, led by Dr Linda Croxford with Professor David Raffe of the University of Edinburgh, found that while the Scottish system encouraged young people to study beyond the age of 16, middle class students took most advantage.

Although it may sound like an oxymoron, a University of Iowa anthropologist and his colleagues report the first discovery of a skull from a "pygmy-sized" giant panda -- the earliest-known ancestor of the giant panda -- that lived in south China some two million years ago.

The ancestor of today's giant panda really was a pygmy giant panda, says Russell Ciochon, UI professor of anthropology. Previous discoveries of teeth and other remains made between 1985 and 2002 had failed to establish the animal's size.

Embryos that are selected out as abnormal can still undergo chromosomal modifications, says Ms Tsvia Frumkin from the Racine IVF unit at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre in Israel.

These findings mean that the results of preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) for chromosomal abnormalities were not always reliable and should be interpreted with caution.

Many of the areas of the human genome previously thought to be deserts are in fact teeming with life.

Most known human genes in the genome map are still incompletely annotated, says Professor Alexandre Reymond, from the Centre for Integrative Genomics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland and the Department of Genetic Medicine, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

In the first large-scale epidemiological study evaluating elevator-related injuries in children throughout the United States, researchers report that children up to two years of age had the greatest percentage (28.6%) of elevator-related injuries.

A gene responsible for the single most common cause of hearing loss among white adults, otosclerosis, has been identified for the first time. Ms Melissa Thys, from the Department of Medical Genetics, University of Antwerp, Belgium, said that this finding may be a step towards new treatments for otosclerosis, which affects approximately 1 in 250 people.

Genes account for only 2.5 percent of DNA in the human genetic blueprint, yet diseases can result not only from mutant genes but from mutations of other DNA that controls genes. University of Utah researchers report they have developed a faster, less expensive technique for mutating those large, non-gene stretches of DNA.

Scientists at University College Cork have discovered that probiotic bacteria can protect against bacterial infection. The work was carried out in the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) in UCC.

The APC, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, was set up investigate the beneficial roles of the bacteria found in the gastro-intestine of healthy humans.

25 million people are living with schizophrenia in low and middle income countries and over two-thirds of them are not receiving any treatment.

Using a new computational method called NetworKIN, researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital, MIT and EMBL can now use biological networks to better identify relationships between molecules, including regulation of protein networks that will ultimately help to target human disease.