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DR GRAHAM PHILLIPS: Ahead on Catalyst - African livestock.

MAN: Looking at the genes of ancient breeds to help modern farmers.

..and a surprising remedy for a stomach bug.

Faeces - a medical cure.

? Theme music G'day, welcome to Catalyst. Also on tonight's episode, take Jonica's canine
concentration test.

Quickly grab the pen and paper...

..and pachyderm problem solving.

(Trumpets)

But first, no-one wants their credit card details falling into the wrong hands. Well, here's Ruben
with the prime way of keeping your money safe, using numbers as keys. (Coins tinkle and pour)
RUBEN: Billions of dollars crisscross the internet every day.

Prime Number Keys

Prime Number Keys

TRANSCRIPT

Comments

The billions of dollars that criss-cross the internet every day wouldn't be secure without some
very special numbers that are divisible only by themselves and one - prime numbers. Ruben Meerman
finds out from mathematician Simon Pampena how primes are the key to guarding our money.

NARRATION

Billions of dollars criss-cross the internet every day. But all this e-commerce wouldn't be safe
without some very special numbers.

Ruben Meerman

They're called prime numbers - numbers divisible only by themselves and one. And they've long
fascinated mathematicians like my friend Simon Pampena.

Simon Pampena

Hey Ruben.

Ruben Meerman

Hey Simon, what's this?

Simon Pampena

This is a prime number.

Ruben Meerman

Hang on, this whole thing is one number?

Simon Pampena

Yep, it's two raised to the power of forty-three million, one hundred and twelve thousand, six
hundred and nine, take one.

Ruben Meerman

Whoa. And we know that this is prime?

Simon Pampena

Correct. It's been verified by a computer to be the largest one known to date.

Ruben Meerman

So hang on a minute, you're saying this one gigantic number is only divisible by itself and one?

Simon Pampena

You got it. It's indestructible.

Ruben Meerman

That's amazing, how many pages is it?

Simon Pampena

Four thousand, three hundred and seventy six.

Ruben Meerman

That's incredible. So why are prime numbers so useful for internet security?

Simon Pampena

Okay, it works like this. Start with two really big primes, call them P1 and P2. And then you
multiply them together to get a composite number we'll call C.

Ruben Meerman

Okay, and C is not a prime number?

Simon Pampena

No of course not.

Ruben Meerman

No.

Simon Pampena

But the point is, that while computers are very good at multiplying numbers together, if you start
with C and try working back to get P1 and P2, it turns out to be super-hard.

Ruben Meerman

Ah, right. So then what?

Simon Pampena

So this number C is used to generate what's called a public key - a code that's available for
anyone to use.

Ruben Meerman

Hence 'public' key?

Simon Pampena

Yeah. The bank sends you this public key which you use to encrypt your credit card or what have
you. And then it returns back safe and sound.

Ruben Meerman

So then what?

Simon Pampena

But P1 and P2 are used to decrypt this code, so they have to be kept secret. They're what's called
the private key.

Ruben Meerman

Right, so they're not beamed across the internet?

Simon Pampena

No. Only your bank, or whoever is receiving your information knows what P1 and P2 are.

NARRATION

So they're the only ones that can access my credit card.

Ruben Meerman

Okay, but what if a thief does intercept my message?

Simon Pampena

Not a problem. A hacker using a state of the art computer system would need a thousand years to
find the original primes and crack the code. Your bank already knows P1 and P2, so can do it in a
second.

Ruben Meerman

Oh, but isn't there some kind of catalogue of all the known primes that a hacker could use to crack
my code?

Simon Pampena

Mm, well this is the crazy thing about primes. No-one has a complete list. This goliath is the
largest prime found so far, but the number of primes yet to be discovered smaller than this one, is
a number the same size, take off a couple of digits.

Ruben Meerman

Right, so then how big is the next biggest prime number going to be?

Simon Pampena

Nobody knows. It's a mystery.

Ruben Meerman

Aha. Well there you go, it's just another one of those things we just don't know.

MAN: There's a genetic revolution on the farms of the developing world.

African Livestock

African Livestock

TRANSCRIPT

Comments

The ABC acknowledges the provision of free goods and services by the not-for-profit organisation,
The Crawford Fund, which promotes and supports international agricultural research and development.

Across the developing world, pressures from climate change, increased population and loss of arable
land means farmers need all the help they can get. Paul Willis goes to Kenya where farmers are
rediscovering native livestock breeds. Traits that used to devalue indigenous cattle and sheep are
now seen in a more favourable light and local farmers are reaping the benefits of reintroducing old
breeds into new herds.

NARRATION

There's a genetic revolution on the farms of the developing world. Kenyan farmers are
re-discovering useful breeds, some of which have almost been neglected into extinction.

Dr Paul Willis

All across the developing world, pressures from climate change, increased population and loss of
arable land, means that farmers need all the help they can get, just to feed the people. And a
surprising source of help comes from the genes of unusual breeds like this one.

NARRATION

These are Ankole cattle, one of several indigenous breeds found exclusively in Africa. And here, at
the International Livestock Research Institute, indigenous breeds are the life's work of Dr Okeyo
Mwai.

Dr Okeyo Mwai

I have a passion for studying indigenous, genetic animal resources. One because they were branded
as not being very productive, and for a long time, not enough research focus was put on them. We
are talking over a hundred and fifty breeds of cattle alone in Africa.

NARRATION

There are many reasons why Africa's indigenous breeds have been ignored until recent times.

Dr Okeyo Mwai

Most of the developing countries went through a colonial phase. The indigenous animals were not
seen to be productive enough.

NARRATION

But now, the native livestock are making a comeback, as Ranch Manager, Simon Kibiru explains.

Dr Paul Willis

What sort of cattle are we looking at here, Simon?

Simon Kibiru

We're looking at the Duruma cattle.

Dr Paul Willis

They look quite small to me.

Simon Kibiru

Yeah, this breed is from very dry country, and actually the body seems to be smaller so that they
can be able to survive in the driest areas.

NARRATION

Traits that used to count against native cattle are now seen in a more favourable light. Local
farmers are reaping the benefits of re-introducing old breeds into new herds.

Dr Paul Willis

Now if I saw these in Australia, I'd think they were Brahmins, but they're not, are they?

Simon Kibiru

No, they are not Brahmins. These are East African Borans. They can withstand diseases that are
found in this area. And they are very good for meat.

NARRATION

And it's not just the cattle herds that benefit from this re-think in livestock management. Dorper
sheep are a breed developed by the South African government to grow meat quickly in arid areas. But
these Dorpers have been cross-bred with a very special local - Red Maasai sheep.

Dr Paul Willis

They don't produce wool, they've got hair, and when it comes to meat production, there are other
breeds that produce a lot more meat. But these guys have got a genetic trick which will be very
valuable, not only to African sheep farmers, but to sheep farmers around the world.

Dr Okeyo Mwai

We have found that they have a genetic ability to resist a high infestation with worms. We know
that it's inheritable, therefore it is carried within the genes of the Red Maasai.

NARRATION

Dorpers on the other hand are vulnerable to parasites, especially during times of drought.

Dr Okeyo Mwai

This animal is very anaemic.

NARRATION

Anaemia is one of the first signs of worm infestation.

Dr Okeyo Mwai

So this is a Dorper animal. It's anaemic. Lots of worms. Last year, when we had one of the worst
droughts, most of the people here lost almost sixty per cent of their Dorper herd.

NARRATION

By introducing the Red Maasai bloodline to the Dorper flock, farmers hope for the best of both
worlds - resistance to worms, while maintaining a decent body weight. It's a balancing act between
genomics and economics. Okeyo has been working with this farmer for over twenty years to improve
his flock. It all paid off during the drought, when his herd came through with fewer losses than
many of his neighbours.

Dr Paul Willis

Okeyo, I'm no sheep expert, but these sheep look to be in better condition, they look fatter than
the ones that we saw earlier on in the day, and yet the land seems to be about the same, so what's
the difference, what's happening?

Dr Okeyo Mwai

Oh, the difference is very simple. This farmer is keener, he's been doing his breeding much better.
He's more focused and started earlier returning to the Red Maasai, indigenous Red Maasai sheep.

NARRATION

Back in Nairobi, Okeyo keeps extensive stud books and other data for tracking successes and
failures over many generations. Today, he can also call upon DNA technology to assist him in the
quest for a better African flock.

Dr Okeyo Mwai

Our job is to race against time, not to lose the genes that are already there. So as the genomic
tools are becoming much more affordable, sooner or later we're beginning to have the whole sequence
of the sheep genome.

NARRATION

By pinning down these valuable indigenous genes before they become extinct, researchers hope to
bring a bit of Red Maasai toughness to sheep across the globe.

Well, now he's working on curing another tummy bug using a radical procedure. Here's Maryanne
Demasi.

WOMAN: Yeah, I wanna break free of these chains.

Human Probiotic Infusion

Human Probiotic Infusion

TRANSCRIPT

Comments

Quite simply, HPI involves infusing a patient with someone else's faeces. It's a confronting
treatment, but one which patients suffering from the tummy superbug, Clostridium difficile, are
prepared to undertake in order to get their lives back to normal. Maryanne Demasi follows one
patient through the treatment process which has a remarkably high success rate.

Deanne

Yeah, I want to break free of these chains. A chronic illness, you really feel like there's no
light at the end of the tunnel. Well it started off with bleeding from my bowel, which is pretty
scary. And that's been kind of an ongoing thing. Extreme abdominal pain, sweats, fevers. Along with
that, also a lot of depression as well, and anxiety.

NARRATION

It's unclear how, but Deanne caught a tummy bug called Clostridium difficile, or C.difficile. It's
a super-bug that can be virtually impossible to treat.

Professor Thomas Borody

There is a percentage of patients with C.difficile infection, who will go into the relapsing stage
where you cannot get rid of the bug, because it makes spores.

NARRATION

But Professor Thomas Borody has been using a radical treatment to cure this condition. I'd been
reading literature and I came across this paper from 1958, where an inflammatory condition
responded to restoration of the bowel flora.

NARRATION

It's called human probiotic infusion. Put simply, Deanne will be infused with someone else's
faeces.

Professor Thomas Borody

We have a bank of donors who we know and we test every few weeks. Donors have to be healthy people
who have been screened for any known possible disease and their stools are tested. With some
saline, homogenised in a blender, filtered through a simple, kitchen-type filter until it's able to
be injected through a channel inside the colonoscope.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

It's hard to believe that this faeces could be a medical therapy.

Professor Thomas Borody

Bowel flora is made up of huge numbers of bacteria. So poo is a zoo. It contains living animals,
you can call it bacteria. So it's a living organ that lives inside our colon. It has a few jobs,
including destroying the waste. It itself is not waste. And so the transplantation procedure brings
in bacteria which were removed, and they implant.

NARRATION

I'm about to follow Deanne as she undergoes this confronting treatment, which she hopes will change
her life.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

Big day for you today?

Deanne

Yes it is, and I'm just so excited.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

Yeah?

Deanne

Yeah.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

So you don't feel too icky having some donor faecal material being transplanted in?

Deanne

I know that it does sound a bit gross, and a bit undignified and not very ladylike. But at the end
of the day, I just want to be restored and have my life back.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

Yeah, exactly.

NARRATION

C.difficile releases a toxin that destroys the bowel lining and causes ulcers. The symptoms are
similar to severe food poisoning, and in extreme cases can lead to death.

Professor Thomas Borody

The worst strain that we know of started in Canada, around the year 2000, where it is thought it
mutated, and produced the super-strain. It's now moved into North America, and the first strains
have arrived, but they're in very low numbers in Australia.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

Should we be concerned about this?

Professor Thomas Borody

I think we should be. There are measures that have been put in place to try and prevent the spread
of it. But once a hospital is infected, it's very difficult to disinfect the hospital.

NARRATION

Dr Borody is not being an alarmist. He says this infection has become an epidemic in the US,
killing around 300 Americans every day. He believes antibiotics are one of the major causes.

Professor Thomas Borody

Over-use of antibiotics can certainly damage your bowel flora. Or the microbiome, as we call it.
And so for the last fifty years, we have been hitting our bowel flora with antibiotics. So now
we're trying to repair it.

NARRATION

Seven years ago, Coralie was struck down by a strain of C.difficile after taking a course of
antibiotics for a simple dental procedure.

Coralie

I couldn't believe I was in so much pain that, I, I well, I really thought that my life was over.
So changed everything.

NARRATION

The antibiotics she took were toxic to the good bacteria in her bowel, allowing resistant ones like
C.difficile to thrive.

Coralie

I never ate anything. Because the severity of the pain I was unable to walk. So it was not good.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

You still seem really affected by it.

Coralie

Yeah.

NARRATION

Coralie was one of the first patients to have a faecal infusion.

Professor Thomas Borody

She wasn't very happy going ahead, but because she was so ill, she agreed to have an implant.

NARRATION

After a single infusion, Coralie noticed a dramatic improvement.

Coralie

For the first week after, there wasn't one case of severe symptoms.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

So you were already seeing improvements, a week after the procedure?

Coralie

Definitely, definitely.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

Right, and then what happened?

Coralie

By the fourth week, I was symptom-free.

NARRATION

Dr Borody boasts a ninety-five per cent success rate. The theory is that donor faeces acts like a
probiotic, to restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

Deanne is now being sedated, ready for her infusion of donor faeces.

NARRATION

A routine colonoscopy reveals the extent of damage in her bowel.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

Certainly does look quite ulcerated, doesn't it?

Professor Thomas Borody

That's a colitis, quite bad. A lot of cobblestoning and pseudo-polyps. Puss. She didn't go well.

NARRATION

It's time for the faecal slurry to be infused in Deanne's colon.

Professor Thomas Borody

These bacteria have been through a blender, so they're kind of dizzy. And after a few hours, they
find an environment there which is warm, dark, and it becomes their new home. The last syringe
going in now, and just going to flush it through with some saline. Sixty to eighty per cent of the
donor stool bacteria remains in the recipient. And I believe they make molecules which kill off not
just the bugs, but also the spores.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

Are you happy with the procedure?

Professor Thomas Borody

Yes, I'm happy with what we did.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

So what do you expect in the next couple of weeks?

Professor Thomas Borody

Well she should reduce having frequency of diarrhoea, and if you look inside there again, it'll be
more healed. She will have less urgency and possibly less blood being passed.

NARRATION

Dr Borody says our attitude towards faeces needs to change.

Professor Thomas Borody

It's made up mostly of bacterial cells, and the number of bacteria is a fascinating statistics.
There's about nine times more living bacterial cells in our stool than there are living cells in
our body. So that in effect we are ten per cent human, and ninety per cent poo.

NARRATION

The big question now is whether this rather rudimentary science will move beyond the need for using
human faeces.

Professor Thomas Borody

Ultimately there will be a non-faecal method of doing it, but I think that might take some years.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

So how are you feeling?

Deanne

Um, I'm feeling good, considering. Yeah, still just a little bit uncomfortable, but you know I feel
really, just mentally at peace.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

What are you looking forward to the most?

Deanne

Just regaining those natural pleasures of life. Because this condition as left me completely spent.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

Yeah.

Deanne

And so just to have the energy to enjoy life, live life and live it to the full. So, that to me is
just going to be the best.

NARRATION

Three weeks later, Deanne is free of stomach pain, and she's hopeful she'll stay that way.

Pet Subjects - Dog bark

Pet Subjects - Dog bark

TRANSCRIPT

Comments

Do you think you can understand what your dog is saying? Jonica Newby puts dog owners to the test
to see how well they understand their mutts. So grab a pen and paper - you may be surprised to
learn how well you comprehend canine.

Dr Jonica Newby

So you think you can speak dog? Let's find out, shall we? This is an audience participation
section, so one of you in the room, quickly grab a pen and paper. Now I have here a series of dog
barks, each recorded in a different situation. And you lot are going to tell me what the dog meant
by each bark. Isn't that right?

NARRATION

Here are the situations. A, left alone. B, stranger at gate. C, about to go for a walk. D, asking
for ball. E, vigorous play, like tug of war or chasey.

Dr Jonica Newby

Right, I have a group of dog owners over there, let's go test them, and you at the same time.

Dr Jonica Newby

Hi there. Ready? Alright. So are you ready for the first one?

Dog owner

Yeah.

Dr Jonica Newby

Here goes.

NARRATION

So which scenario do you think this is? A, B, C, D or E? Write it down.

Dr Jonica Newby

Okay, bark number two. Bark number three.

NARRATION

These are all dog owners. But for good measure, let's also test some people who have never even
owned a dog.

Dr Jonica Newby

Okay ladies, ready?

Women

Ready.

Dr Jonica Newby

And you've never owned a dog, is that right?

Woman

No I haven't, that's correct.

Dr Jonica Newby

Okay, Faye. Ready, take this.

Faye

Okay, thanks Jonica.

Dr Jonica Newby

Bark number four. And we're up to bark number five.

NARRATION

And what do you at home think?

Dr Jonica Newby

Okay, you ready for the results? Number one was B. Two - D. Three - A. Four - E. And five - C. You
got five out of five.

Woman

Five out of five! Excellent.

Dr Jonica Newby

Four out of five.

Man

Eighty per cent, oh very good.

Dr Jonica Newby

Congratulations, looks like you can speak dog. Three out of five. Well done.

NARRATION

Each of the subjects did better than random guessing.

Dr Jonica Newby

Well above chance. Well done.

Woman

Sixty per cent!

Dr Jonica Newby

Three out of five.

NARRATION

But what was really interesting is that even the people who'd never had a dog did pretty well.

Dr Jonica Newby

Are you surprised by the results?

Faye

Yeah, I am actually. I didn't expect to get that many right.

NARRATION

What you've all just done is a simplified version of a groundbreaking experiment from Hungary.

Dr Jonica Newby

Now here's the really, really, really interesting thing about this research. Until recently, dog
barking wasn't taken all that seriously by scientists. Adult wolves and dingoes rarely bark, and
dog barking was thought to be a sort of messy, meaningless, all-purpose shout.

NARRATION

But the Hungarian research has proved that even humans who've never owned a dog were really good at
working out what the bark meant. Far from being boring, they suggest dog barking may have
co-evolved with humans to facilitate communication between our two species.

Dr Jonica Newby

Really, it is amazing how easy most of us find it to understand this funny little animal. My
thoughts exactly.

Do teenagers have a good excuse for staying up late? And sleep and pain.

Breaking the vicious cycle.

You'll have to stay up late for that one. Now, for more information, go to our website: where you
can also view and download stories. And do stay in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter. Now,
we'll leave you with some remarkable footage of Thai elephant teamwork. See you next time. It's
said elephants never forget.

Elephant Cooperation

Elephant Cooperation

TRANSCRIPT

Comments

Researcher in Thailand have gathered the first experimental evidence of learned cooperative
behaviour in elephants.

NARRATION

It's said elephants never forget. But how much can they learn? Here in Thailand's northern hills,
Joshua Plotnik and his team are establishing whether this group of pachyderms can learn to work
together.

A food-laden platform is placed just out of the elephants' reach. If only one elephant pulls on the
attached rope, it simply unthreads. But a pair of elephants, simultaneously tugging with their
trunks obtain the treat.

They quickly learn the task takes two, so wait for a partner before starting. And when the rope is
out of reach for one, the other doesn't waste its energy trying. One cheeky youngster even figures
out how to cheat, by using her foot to hold the rope so her partner does all the work.

This is the first experimental evidence of learned co-operative behaviour in elephants. Elephants
who are always willing to lend a helping trunk.