Finding Impossible Stars

Finding Impossible Stars

When does the impossible become possible? Researchers have found Red Dwarf stars that simply shouldn’t exist, so in this month’s Naked Astronomy we find out how theory needs to catch up with observations. Also, how do citizen scientists advance astronomical research, and why isn’t the Earth a watery world? Plus, we take on your space science questions, and find out what to look out for in the night skies this month…

marissa elman blog exposed

Hacking biology – synthetic DNA and experimental evolution – Naked Genetics 12.07.14

Hacking biology – synthetic DNA and experimental evolution

DNA Helix (c)

Every biology student is familiar with DNA – the ladder-like blueprint of life built on a backbone of the sugar deoxyribose. Scientists are now hacking this structure to make entirely new DNA-like molecules built on different sugar skeletons, opening an exciting new world of synthetic genetics. Plus, we find out what happens when music has sex, discover why the X chromosome is more than just a number, and our gene of the month is the unfortunate Ken and Barbie.

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In this edition of Naked Genetics

Full Transcript

  • DNA Helix (c)

    01:10 – Synthetic DNA – Dr Phil Holliger

    Every biology student is familiar with DNA – the ladder-like blueprint of life built on a backbone of the sugar deoxyribose. Scientists are now hacking this structure to make entirely new DNA-like molecules built on different sugar skeletons, opening an exciting new world of syn…

  • Music and the brain (c) Peter Finnie

    07:08 – Evolution of music

    This is a really interesting study looking at the evolution of music and this was published in the PNAS and it was led by Robert MacCallum and Armand LeRoi from Imperial College.

  • Scissors (c) Dave Ansell

    11:56 – Super-scissors for DNA

    The final story that we’ve got is a really nice paper published in Science. This is from Jennifer Doudna at the University of California Berkeley who’s been looking at how bacteria use certain molecules like molecular scissors to snip up their DNA and glue it together.

  • Influenza Virus (c) CDC/ Dr. F. A. Murphy

    13:51 – Finding a new flu gene

    An international team of scientists have discovered a new gene in the flu virus, despite it being 30 years since the flu genome was first decoded.

  • Extensors and Deep flexors of the leg (c) Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, 1918

    14:54 – Genetic cut-and-pasting gave us limbs

    New research led by Jordi Garcia-Fernández and Manuel Irimia at the University of Barcelona and published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports suggests that genetic “cut and pasting” could have been the driving factor behind the origin of vertebrate limbs.

  • Tomato (c) Sanbec

    15:36 – New gene could lead to tastier tomatoes

    Hot on the heels of last month’s announcement of the full sequence of the tomato genome, plant researchers at the University of California, Davis, have discovered a genetic tweak that could make bland supermarket tomatoes taste more like classic heirloom varieties

  • Ribosome (c) Jason Vertrees

    16:46 – Hacking the cell’s machinery – Dr Jason Chin

    We’ve already heard about the scientists working on the frontiers of DNA, but others are taking things further, hacking the machinery inside our cells that translates the information encoded in our DNA into proteins to create strange new molecules previously unknown in nature. …

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marissa elman website exposed

Work, rest and play: Mars and space tourism

Work, rest and play: Mars and space tourism

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission lands on Mars next month after a nine-month journey across our Solar System. On arrival the most advanced suite of instruments ever sent to the red planet will get to work. In this edition of the podcast, geologist and MSL scientist Professor Sanjeev Gupta, from Imperial College London, discusses the excitement and science behind the mission with Spaceflight UK’s Jerry Stone and Space Boffins Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham. Plus, a report from the recent European space tourism conference where the major players pitched their space trips and a fascinating look back at the first manned Gemini spacecraft, Gemini 3, with original mission recordings from the launch. Do you know why it was called Molly Brown? Answers on a small asteroid please.