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Japanese scientists have created a new type of stem cell from a mouse skin cell using just a weak acidic solution. Previously, induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs) could only be made from so-called adult (not embryonic) cells by means of complex genetic manipulation. The new STAP, or Stimulus-Triggered Acquisition of Pluripotency, cells do not behave in the same way as other stem cells, they only have a limited capacity for self-renewal. But the findings could shed light on different cell states involved in early pre-embryo formation.
LiDAR Reveals Ancient Structures at Angkor Wat
LiDAR works in a similar way to RADAR, but uses light rather than radio waves. A laser emitter fires out a million pulses of light at a surface every four seconds, in a shotgun or spray effect. And it is the reflected pulses that are measured. The longer they take to return, the further away the surface is. It has been used to 'see' through the dense forest canopy in Cambodia and used to reveal surface archaeological structures at the Angkor Wat temple complex. Science in Action reporter Kate Lamble went there to see how this relatively new technology is transforming archaeology.
What Did Neanderthals Ever Do For Us?
We now know that much of the modern human population carry some Neanderthal DNA. This is certainly the case in people of European or East Asian ancestry. But do we all carry the same bits of genetic code from our ancient cousins? And are there any genetic traits that we inherited from interbreeding between these two ancient humans? Papers in both the journal Science and Nature this week reveal that similar studies have some of the answers.
Presenter: Jon Stewart
Producer: Fiona Roberts
(Photo caption: STAP cells generated an entire fetus body – credit Haruko Obokata)