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How can we measure some of the most energetic events in the universe? This month, we’re exploring the new science being carried out by NuSTAR, a space-based high-energy x-ray telescope. Plus, we’ll find out why being outside the goldilocks zone might not mean there’s no chance of life, as it seems other sources of heat may make even more planets and moons good places to look for biochemistry…

Stop bugging me! The genetics of bedbugs and other insects – Naked Genetics 12.10.14

Stop bugging me! The genetics of bedbugs and other insects

Bedbug (c) Toby Fountain

They suck your blood, hitch-hike on your luggage, and are a growing threat to the hotel industry. Bedbugs are a growing problem in the modern jet-set world, and scientists are using genetic techniques to try and understand why. Feeling itchy yet? Plus, we look at the genetics of some other annoying insects, get to the bottom of the recent controversy about junk DNA, and our gene of the month is none other than Superman and his weedier alter-ego Clark Kent…

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In this edition of Naked Genetics

Full Transcript

  • Bedbug (c) Toby Fountain

    01:10 – Bedbug genetics

    Our first guest, Toby Fountain, is responsible for one of the least pleasant experiences I’ve had for a long time, when he took me into the bedbug breeding room in his lab at the University of Sheffield. I asked him to explain the growing bedbug threat, how genetics can help us …

  • Encyclopedia Britannica 2 (c) Surya Prakash

    08:12 – ENCODE, hype and junk DNA

    First, it’s time to take a look at one of the biggest genetics stories this month with science writer Nell Barrie. In last month’s podcast, I covered a news story about ENCODE – the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements, which had just been published. Over the past few weeks a debate has…

  • In-ear hearing aid (c) Bergsten @ wikipedia

    13:47 – Stem cells for hearing loss

    Researchers at the University of Sheffield, together with colleagues in Thailand, have made a big step forward in developing stem cell therapy for hearing loss, publishing their work in Nature.

  • Dead oyster (c) (c) Wolcott Henry 2005/Marine Photobank

    14:59 – Oyster genome sequenced

    Beloved of upper-class diners everywhere, and a multi-million pound industry in the far East and US, oysters are more than just a pretty shell. Now an international team of researchers from China, the US and Europe have mapped and sequenced the Pacific oyster genome, publishing …

  • Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) (c) schani

    15:52 – How the king cheetah got its spots

    Researchers from the US, Brazil, South Africa, China and Namibia have worked together to solve a feline mystery that sounds like one of Kipling’s Just So stories – how the king cheetah got his spots, or rather, stripes.

  • Multicoloured flowers (c) Dave Ansell

    17:01 – Allergy-free houseplants

    And finally, good news for people who suffer from allergies to Pelargoniums, the popular houseplants. Scientists in Spain, led by the aptly-named Begona Garcia-Sogo have shown that adding two genes into the plants can prevent them from producing allergy-triggering pollen, and ma…

  • A mosquito biting a finger (c) Ngari.norway @ wikipedia

    18:26 – Mosquitoes, fruit flies and infections

    Not only do mosquitoes keep you awake with their annoying hum and painful bites, they’re a major channel for the spread of diseases in many parts of the world, including malaria and dengue fever. At the University of Cambridge, Dr Frank Jiggins is investigating why some insects …

  • DNA (c) Mnolf

    25:18 – Can gene therapy alter reproductive cells?

    Dear Chris,

    I guess it is already possible to identify that a person has a genetic disease that he/she would pass on to descendents.

    Is it likely that it will be possible, in the future, to genetically treat his/her reproductive cells to correct them and supress the transm…

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