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FROM THE EDITOR

I G H T

B R

I E L

, D A N

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I M A G E S

: G E T T Y

PA G E

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T O R C H

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: M A G

C O V E R

Our attitude to meat and dairy in the UK is evolving, and you only have to visit a local supermarket to see it. Alongside the meat and dairy aisles, now sit shelves crammed full of plantbased alternatives. There are juicy burgers made out of pea proteins, chicken nuggets made from mushrooms and crispy bacon made from tofu. And if there was any doubt, the world’s biggest fast-food chains all now serve some form of plant-based alternative to their trademark burgers. The public wants to eat less meat, but it doesn’t want to cut out its favourite foods – especially not the ones that are quick and easy to cook. What’s driving the change? Of course, many have long chosen meat-free diets because they can’t stomach modern farming practices. But more recently, it seems as though consumers are coming to terms with the effect their appetite has on the environment. As well as being good for your health, cutting down on the amount of meat you eat is one of the most powerful personal changes you can make to reduce your carbon footprint. All of the above point to one conclusion: there’s money to be made if someone can faithfully recreate meat, without the need for livestock farming. Biotech companies around the globe have spotted this opportunity and now the race is on. Indeed, in some parts of the world you can already buy a plate of meat that’s been grown in a bioreactor, rather than on a farm. It’s just a matter of time before slaughter-free alternatives make it to our shop shelves. To discover what we know so far about ‘cultivated meat’, head to p54.

Daniel Bennett, Editor

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CONTRIBUTORS

CONTRIBUTORS

PROF CHRIS BAIL We’re all t ired of the neverending rage fes t that social media si tes have become. Chris has created a social network from scratch in the lab, to see i f he can build something better. ->p26

VICTORIA WOOLLASTON Vic toria , a tech and li fes t yle journalis t and founder of mamabella.uk, digs into whether microbiome-friendly skincare really works. ->p32

DR HELEN SCALES Seashells are universally adored, but how much do you really know about them? Marine biologis t Helen reveals what a shell’s form and pat terning can tell us about i t s previous owner. ->p44

JULES HOWARD For zoologist Jules there’s one animal he loves more than any other, and that ’s his pet dog. But are the feelings mutual? Join him as he f inds out more about dog psychology. ->p72

Our Changing Planet In this hugely ambitious series, six presenters visit six of the world’s most threatened ecosystems and will return over a period of seven years to witness conservation projec t s in ac t ion, to see whether we can protect our planet’s treasures. BBC One Sundays, 7pm Catch up on iPlayer

CrowdScience Photographic memory: it ’s a gimmick employed by many a TV and movie series, but does it really exist? This week, CrowdScience explores the elusive world of memory. BBC World Service 13 May, 8:30pm Also available on BBC Sounds

Just One Thing Dr Michael Mosley returns for his health radio series, which examines the small steps we can all take to improve our health. In this series, he starts with beetroot. BBC Radio 4 Wednesdays, 9:30am Also available on BBC Sounds

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