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EU membership and UK science, Quantum games, Fixing genes

Adam Rutherford investigates the science in the news. Is Brexit is bad for science? As a House of Lords report comes out, Adam asks how leaving the EU would affect UK science.

The UK science community draws vital benefits from EU membership and could lose influence in the event of an exit, says a House of Lords report out this week.
UK researchers placed a high value on collaboration opportunities afforded by EU membership.
A number also believe the UK would lose its ability to influence EU science policy in the event of leaving - something that's disputed by pro-Brexit campaigners. To debate the ins and outs of being in or out of the EU, Adam is joined by Viscount Matt Ridley, a member of the committee, and Professor Paul Boyle, the Vice Chancellor of Leicester University and former president of Science Europe.

Scientists at Aarhus University in Denmark are developing a quantum computer. To help them solve a particular problem, they have turned to human brain power, harnessing our ability to play computer games. The team have designed video games, such as Quantum Moves - that are helping them to understand the problem of 'slosh'- that atoms move about, when moved, like water sloshing in a cup.

Many diseases are caused by a particular type of DNA error called a 'point mutation'. In our genomes, the substitution of a single letter of genetic code can be the root cause of diseases such as Alzheimer's, sickle cell anaemia, and a whole range of cancers. Recently, a new technique for editing DNA, called CRISPR, a precise genetic engineering tool, was developed, which might help combat these diseases. The problem is that the cell often reacts to this editing; trying to mend what it perceives as damage to its DNA. This week, David Liu, from Harvard University, published new research showing how his team have managed to switch out a single letter, a base pair, whilst tricking the cell into not correcting this edit.

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