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Genes and evolution – from populations to tumours – Naked Genetics 12.03.14

Genes and evolution – from populations to tumours

DNA Helix (c)

From whole populations to individual cancers, we’re taking a look at genes and evolution. We’re also talking about dogs and their diseases, shining a light on Van Gogh’s sunflowers, and wondering whether the USB-sized DNA sequence is hope or hype. Plus we’ve got our gene of the month – whether it’s Sonic, Desert or Indian, we’ll be carefully getting to grips with the prickly persona of the hedgehog gene.

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In this edition of Naked Genetics

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  • Evolutionary_models (c)

    01:14 – Human evolution – Professor Mark Thomas

    Back in 1973, Theodosius Dobzhansky published an essay titled “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” so to start off we thought we’d find out how the gradual shuffling and shifting of genes over time shapes not only whole populations of living organism…

  • Dog nose (c) inajeep @ flikr

    10:18 – Epstein-Barr virus in dogs

    This is about dogs and Epstein-Barr virus, which is type of virus that can cause some types of cancer. And it can also do that in dogs as well…

  • dog (c)

    11:36 – Epilepsy in dogs

    Another story that I noticed involving dogs and their diseases is about epilepsy. And actually a quite number of different breeds of dogs are affected by epilepsy.

  • GFAJ-1 - bacteria that thrive on Arsenic (c) Image courtesy of Science/AAAS

    12:44 – Sequencing the microbiome

    Now they’ve sequenced the human genome, they’re trying to move on to sequencing all the bugs in our gut…

  • Electrophoresis_DNA_fingerprint (c)

    14:26 – “USB” gene sequencer

    And another story that hit the headlines, the USB-sized gene sequencer. And I think people just went nuts for this. …

  • Cloned Cows (c) Lindomar Cruz/Agência Brasil

    15:28 – Evolution of cows

    So they were looking at DNA from ancient cow ancestral fossils from Iran, in fact…

  • Western Gorilla (c) Ryan E. Poplin

    17:24 – The Gorilla Genome

    Never mind Gorillas In The Mist, how about gorillas in the lab? Scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have sequenced the whole genome of the gorilla – the last of the great apes to have its genome read…

  • Flock of birds in flight (c) Kumon @ wikipedia

    18:07 – Zebrafinch singing

    Scientists at UCLA have identified around 2,000 genes in zebrafinches linked to singing – more than 1,500 than were previously known about…

  • Coral Garden (c) Richard Ling

    18:30 – Light-sensitive stinging cells

    Researchers studying hydra – tiny sea-creatures related to corals and jellyfish – have made the surprising discovery that their stinging cells, called cnidocytes, are sensitive to light. …

  • wheat (c) Myrabella

    19:06 – Salt-tolerant wheat

    Writing in the journal Nature Biotechnology, scientists in Australia have bred a new strain of salt-tolerant wheat, by crossing in a gene from a more ancient strain of the plant with a higher tolerance for salt…

  • Fungus Fruiting Body (c) Nicholas Money, PLoS ONE, 2008

    19:48 – Fungi for biofuel

    Researchers in the US have sequenced the genome of particular species of fungus that can turn cellulose into biofuel…

  • Small cell lung cancer (c) Nephron@wikimedia

    20:33 – Tumour evolution – Professor Charles Swanton

    One of the biggest genetics stories this month came from the world of cancer research. Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, Professor Charles Swanton and his team discovered that different parts of a tumour – as well tumours that have spread to other parts of the body…

  • 28:32 – Do genes delivered by gene therapy get inherited?

    Hello Naked Scientists!

    After an individual receives a treatment of gene therapy, is it the original faulty DNA, or the new corrected DNA, that gets passed on to their offspring? Is it only males that can pass on the new gene, because female eggs are not “updated”?

    Thanks! …

  • European hedgehog (Erinaceus_europaeus) (c) Gaudete

    29:52 – Gene of the month – Sonic Hedgehog

    If you ask most people what they think of when they hear the words “Sonic Hedgehog”, they’ll probably describe a spiky blue video game character. But ask a biologist, and they might at least pause for a moment, because as well as being the main protagonist of the 90s Sega games,…

  • A sunflower (c) Jon Sullivan

    Van Gogh’s sunflower mutation

    They’ve looked at sunflowers in Van Gogh’s very famous painting, figured out there’s a tiny little mutation going on in some of the flowers in the picture…

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