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R & D

Trust tonic

Researchers at the University of Zurich claim that expo-sure to the oxytocin hormone can make people more trusting, reports Nature. This hormone helps determine whether we trust lovers, friends and followers. It can also help autistic people who face difficulty in relating to others. However, experts warn that politicians, who want to persuade more people, can misuse it by spraying it over themselves.

Gender bender

According to researchers at the University of Roch-ester, a “gender-bending” chemical called phthalates in plastics resembles the composition of the female hormone oestrogen. This chemical, present in cosmetics, toys, baby-feeding bottles and paints, blunts the influence of testosterone hormone and feminises baby males by developing abnormal genitals.

Oldest DNA

Experts at the Joint Genome Institute in California have decoded the DNA sequence of a cave bear that died 40,000 years ago. It has more than doubled the record for the age of DNA recovered from old fossils. The next target is to extract DNA from the fossils of the Neanderthal man.

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