marine boom: An unprecedented census of marine life is reporting three new fish species a week on an average. In the first interim report of the census, an international team of scientists predicts that as many as 5,000 unknown fish species may be lurking in the waters. By the time they are done in 2010, the scientists may have found more than two million new species. So far, in two years they have found 15,304 species of fish and 214,696 species of other marine creatures.

oldest-known grain: Scientists from the Chungbuk National University, South Korea, have found rice grains that are 15,000-year-old; their age challenges the view that rice cultivation originated in China about 12,000 years ago. The grains are genetically different from today's rice; this will help researchers trace the evolutionary history of the crop.

genetic surprise: The first genomic analysis of human faeces shows that our guts consist of 1,200 different viruses, more than half of which are unknown to science. "The findings are not so alarming, as a vast majority of these viruses do not impact our health. Most of them are phages