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Weekly: Even more powerful gene editing than CRISPR; first moon samples from the far side; dangerous new mpox

28 June 2024

About this episode

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A new gene editing technique may be more powerful than CRISPR. Bridge editing is still in its infancy, but could be revolutionary for its ability to more specifically target gene substitutions. This method of altering DNA may let us create single treatments for gene mutations across large groups of people – something even CRISPR can’t do.

China’s Chang’e 6 spacecraft has returned to Earth with samples from the far side of the moon – the first ever. Hear what the samples may tell us about this hard-to-study part of the lunar surface, plus what China is planning for its next big exploration missions.

A dangerous new strain of mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, has been identified in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A thousand cases have been reported since September and several hundred people have died. What makes this strain so dangerous and can it be kept under control?

A fossil has been discovered that is thought to be a Neanderthal child who had Down’s syndrome. It’s estimated the child lived to at least 6 years old and may have received extra care from the community – more evidence that Neanderthals weren’t as brutish and unfeeling as thought.

Plus: The kind of paper that’s most likely to give you a papercut; AI being trained to perform elegant chess moves; a creepy robot made with human skin

Hosts Timothy Revell and Christie Taylor discuss with guests Michael Le Page, Leah Crane, Alexandra Thompson and Chris Simms.

To read more about these stories, visit newscientist.com.

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