On This Programme

Science:

This week, the first ever archeological evidence of Polynesian contact with South America appeared in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Using radiocarbon dating and DNA evidence, researchers at the University of Auckland have proven that a chicken bone from Chile predates the arrival of European explorers, and that it is genetically similar to chickens found on Polynesian islands. Alice Storey, a PhD student in archeology and lead author of the paper, explains the significance of her results.

In recent years, scientists have learned many surprising things about the development of egg cells in mammals. These discoveries have important implications for the study of fertility, and the influence of environmental toxins on reproductive success. Ken McNatty, a recently appointed professor of biology at Victoria University, has devoted his career to advancing our understanding of the mammalian egg. He talks to Dacia Herbulock about what we know now, and what remains to be discovered.

Environment:

The Royal Forest and Bird Society are claiming that set nets are responsible for more than 70% of all known deaths of the endangered Hector's Dolphins and have called for a nationwide ban. Justin Gregory talks to advocate Kirstie Knowles, Hector's dolphin specialist Liz Slooten and Simon Banks from DOC about this threat to one of our iconic species.

Health:

Generalised Anxiety Disorder is a syndrome of ongoing anxiety and worry about events, which is excessive and inappropriate. Christopher Gale and his colleague Oliver Davidson have recently published a paper in the British Medical Journal on this condition, and they found that the criteria for making a diagnosis might need changing. Christopher Gale speaks to Louise Wallace from Dunedin.