ContentsVolume 62 No 4 Aug/Sep 2015

ROYAL SOCIETY OF BIOLOGY Charles Darwin House, 12 Roger Street, London WC1N 2JU Tel: 020 7685 2550. Fax: 020 3514 3204 info@rsb.org.uk www.rsb.org.uk

EDITORIAL STAFF Director of Membership, Marketing and Communications Jon Kudlick MRSB Editor Sue Nelson @ScienceNelson Managing Editor Tom Ireland MRSB @Tom_J_Ireland tom.ireland@rsb.org.uk Communications and Events Officer Karen Patel MRSB karen.patel@rsb.org.uk Membership enquiries Tel: 01233 504804 membership@rsb.org.uk Subscription enquiries Tel: 020 7685 2556 tom.ireland@rsb.org.uk EDITORIAL BOARD Susan Alexander BSc PGCE CBiol CSci MRSB MRSPH FRGS J Ian Blenkharn CBiol FRSB FRSPH Phil Collier MSc PhD CBiol FRSB FLS FHE Cameron S Crook BSc MPhil CBiol MRSB MIEEM FLS Rajith Dissanayake MSc PhD FZS AMRSB Catherine Duigan BSc PhD FRSB FLS John Heritage BA DPhil CBiol FRSB Sue Howarth BSc PhD CBiol FRSB Allan Jamieson BSc PhD CBiol FRSB Catherine Jopling BSc PhD MRSB Leslie Rose BSc CBiol FRSB FICR

The Biologist is produced on behalf of the Royal Society of Biology by Think Publishing Ltd Capital House 25 Chapel Street London NW1 5DH www.thinkpublishing.co.uk 020 3771 7200 Art director Matthew Ball Design Alistair McGown Production editor Sian Campbell Sub editor Kirsty Fortune Publisher John Innes john.innes@thinkpublishing.co.uk Non-member rates: £120.00 ISSN 0006-3347 Advertising in The Biologist represents an unparalleled opportunity to reach a large community of professional biologists. For advertising information contact tom.ireland@rsb.org.uk 020 7685 2556 Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board or the Royal Society of Biology. © 2015 Royal Society of Biology (Registered charity no. 277981) The Society permits single copying of individual articles for private study or research, irrespective of where the copying is done. Multiple copying of individual articles for teaching purposes is also permitted without specific permission. For copying or reproduction for any other purpose, written permission must be sought from the Society. Exceptions to the above are those institutions and non-publishing organisations that have an agreement or licence with the UK Copyright Licensing Agency or the US Copyright Clearance Center. Access to the magazine is available online; please see the Society’s website for further details.

Nicola Hemmings on sperm’s incredible journey to the egg PAGE 18

IN THIS ISSUE

05 DE-EXTINCTION DEBATE

Why resurrecting a mammoth isn’t a good idea 09 GENOMES GALORE How do we ensure that

DNA data is useful? 10 POLICY

Food security around the world, and policy news 12 INTERVIEW

Sir David Attenborough talks to Professor Alice Roberts about his career

18 TRIALS OF A SPERM

Nicola Hemmings on what makes a winning sperm 22 CLUB CLASSIC

Mike Samworth on the Postal Microscopical Society 24 CELL CULTURE

Julie Russell explains the importance of cell lines in fighting disease 28 HOW TO… FIND FOSSILS

Grace Paget’s palaeontology tips for beginners

REGULARS 02 NELSON’S COLUMN 04 UP FRONT

Society news and opinions; Inside View; and members’ images 32 SPOTLIGHT ON… Immunology 34 MEMBERS 37 REVIEWS 40 BRANCHES 46 BIOFEEDBACK 47 CROSSWORD 48 MUSEUM PIECE

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Vol 62 No 4 / The Biologist / 1