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506Episodes
Category: Science

A fun take on the latest science news with enough data to sink your teeth into. Lagrange Point goes beyond the glossy summary and gets in depth with the research from across the world.

September 26, 2022

Episode 502 - Ignobel prizes ’22 - Blind dates and Mother Ducks

We celebrate the Ignobel prizes for 2022 with science that makes you laugh and then think. What connects a Fish, ducks and slipstream racing? How do mother ducks manage to keep all their ducklings in tow? Does swimming in formation help the ducks save energy? What's the best spot in the slipstream to be? We all know following in the slipstream is good, but if you're 3 or more back you can literally get pulled along. Complex fluid mechanics makes swimming in a line a way for a mother duck to pull the ducklings along. What happens physically when you find someone who is a good match? Is eye contact or heart rate a better measure of having  a 'spark' with someone new?

  1. Wave-Riding and Wave-Passing by Ducklings in Formation Swimming,” Zhi-Ming Yuan, Minglu Chen, Laibing Jia, Chunyan Ji, and Atilla Incecik, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol. 928, no. R2, 2021.
  2. “Energy Conservation by Formation Swimming: Metabolic Evidence from Ducklings,” Frank E. Fish, in the book Mechanics and Physiology of Animal Swimming, 1994, pp. 193-204.
  3. Physiological Synchrony is Associated with Attraction in a Blind Date Setting,” Eliska Prochazkova, Elio Sjak-Shie, Friederike Behrens, Daniel Lindh, and Mariska E. Kret, Nature Human Behaviour, vol. 6, no. 2, 2022, pp. 269-278.
September 26, 2022

Episode 502 - Ignobel prizes ’22 - Blind dates and Mother Ducks

We celebrate the Ignobel prizes for 2022 with science that makes you laugh and then think. What connects a Fish, ducks and slipstream racing? How do mother ducks manage to keep all their ducklings in tow? Does swimming in formation help the ducks save energy? What's the best spot in the slipstream to be? We all know following in the slipstream is good, but if you're 3 or more back you can literally get pulled along. Complex fluid mechanics makes swimming in a line a way for a mother duck to pull the ducklings along. What happens physically when you find someone who is a good match? Is eye contact or heart rate a better measure of having  a 'spark' with someone new?

  1. Wave-Riding and Wave-Passing by Ducklings in Formation Swimming,” Zhi-Ming Yuan, Minglu Chen, Laibing Jia, Chunyan Ji, and Atilla Incecik, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol. 928, no. R2, 2021.
  2. “Energy Conservation by Formation Swimming: Metabolic Evidence from Ducklings,” Frank E. Fish, in the book Mechanics and Physiology of Animal Swimming, 1994, pp. 193-204.
  3. Physiological Synchrony is Associated with Attraction in a Blind Date Setting,” Eliska Prochazkova, Elio Sjak-Shie, Friederike Behrens, Daniel Lindh, and Mariska E. Kret, Nature Human Behaviour, vol. 6, no. 2, 2022, pp. 269-278.
September 20, 2022

Episode 501 - The journey of the mandarin

Mandarin oranges are very closely related but also incredibly diverse. A quirk of cloning means we can accurately trace the journey of all mandarins back to their origins in Hunan province. Mandarins come in so many shapes and sizes and are used to celebrate by many cultures, but they all share a lot in common. Oregano and Thyme both produce some great smells, but these chemicals can carry a useful punch. How do Oregano and Thyme produce chemicals with antibacterial properties?

  1. Sandra T. Krause, Pan Liao, Christoph Crocoll, Benoît Boachon, Christiane Förster, Franziska Leidecker, Natalie Wiese, Dongyan Zhao, Joshua C. Wood, C. Robin Buell, Jonathan Gershenzon, Natalia Dudareva, Jörg Degenhardt. The biosynthesis of thymol, carvacrol, and thymohydroquinone in Lamiaceae proceeds via cytochrome P450s and a short-chain dehydrogenaseProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021; 118 (52): e2110092118 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2110092118
  2. Guohong Albert Wu, Chikatoshi Sugimoto, Hideyasu Kinjo, Chika Azama, Fumimasa Mitsube, Manuel Talon, Frederick G. Gmitter, Daniel S. Rokhsar. Diversification of mandarin citrus by hybrid speciation and apomixisNature Communications, 2021; 12 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-24653-0
September 12, 2022

Episode 500 - Forest helping pump water and create rain

Plants harness the energy from the sun for so much more than photosynthesis. You have a beating hart to pump around your blood, but what do plants. Plants' vascular systems aren't pressurized so how do they power their circulation? Just how much energy do plants use globally each year to pump water out of the ground and into their leaves? Plants use incredible amounts of energy each year just to pump water out of the ground into their leaves. The fresh scents of plants are organic compounds that can reveal a lot about a plants condition. The scents of plants can play a role in influencing the climate around them. 

  1. Gregory R. Quetin, Leander D. L. Anderegg, Alexandra G. Konings, Anna T. Trugman. Quantifying the Global Power Needed for Sap Ascent in PlantsJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 2022; 127 (8) DOI: 10.1029/2022JG006922
  2. Joseph Byron, Juergen Kreuzwieser, Gemma Purser, Joost van Haren, S. Nemiah Ladd, Laura K. Meredith, Christiane Werner, Jonathan Williams. Chiral monoterpenes reveal forest emission mechanisms and drought responsesNature, 2022; 609 (7926): 307 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05020-5
August 29, 2022

Episode 498 - Proteins, MRNA and fighting back against cancer

How can we develop new treatments to tackle antibiotic resistance and tumors. Antibiotics were the miracle of public health in the 20th century, but how can we establish new treatments into the 21st. Find the right protein and you can stop bacteria in its tracks by splitting it in two. New treatments can tackle antibiotic resistant bacteria by using proteins to break them in two. Cancer vaccines are benefiting from the mRNA revolution. A challenge with vaccines is that they can end up in the liver, so how do you get them to  deliver their instructions more effectively. Using special lipid nano particles, cancer mRNA vaccines can target the lymph nodes making for more powerful vaccines.

  1. Shouya Feng, Daniel Enosi Tuipulotu, Abhimanu Pandey, Weidong Jing, Cheng Shen, Chinh Ngo, Melkamu B. Tessema, Fei-Ju Li, Daniel Fox, Anukriti Mathur, Anyang Zhao, Runli Wang, Klaus Pfeffer, Daniel Degrandi, Masahiro Yamamoto, Patrick C. Reading, Gaetan Burgio, Si Ming Man. Pathogen-selective killing by guanylate-binding proteins as a molecular mechanism leading to inflammasome signaling. Nature Communications, 2022; 13 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-32127-0
  2. Jinjin Chen, Zhongfeng Ye, Changfeng Huang, Min Qiu, Donghui Song, Yamin Li, Qiaobing Xu. Lipid nanoparticle-mediated lymph node–targeting delivery of mRNA cancer vaccine elicits robust CD8 + T cell response. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2022; 119 (34) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2207841119
August 22, 2022

Episode 497 - Wearable med-tech inside and out

Wearable medical devices inside and outside of your body. Understanding what's happening inside your body can be tricky. Lugging around a scanning device with you all day isn't practical, but how can doctors tell what's happening in your daily life? Want to know what your organs are doing when you go for a jog or live your daily life? Wearable ultrasonic patches can give precise and long term ultrasounds making precise medicine possible. Stimulating nerves is a useful treatment for some conditions like Parkinson's or epilepsy but are very invasive. How can you use magnets to make these treatments much more friendly.

  1. Chonghe Wang, Xiaoyu Chen, Liu Wang, Mitsutoshi Makihata, Hsiao-Chuan Liu, Tao Zhou, Xuanhe Zhao. Bioadhesive ultrasound for long-term continuous imaging of diverse organs. Science, 2022; 377 (6605): 517 DOI: 10.1126/science.abo2542
  2. Joshua C. Chen, Peter Kan, Zhanghao Yu, Fatima Alrashdan, Roberto Garcia, Amanda Singer, C. S. Edwin Lai, Ben Avants, Scott Crosby, Zhongxi Li, Boshuo Wang, Michelle M. Felicella, Ariadna Robledo, Angel V. Peterchev, Stefan M. Goetz, Jeffrey D. Hartgerink, Sunil A. Sheth, Kaiyuan Yang, Jacob T. Robinson. A wireless millimetric magnetoelectric implant for the endovascular stimulation of peripheral nerves. Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2022; DOI: 10.1038/s41551-022-00873-7
August 8, 2022

Episode 495 - Plants without sunlight and electricity from sweat

How can we take ideas from nature and turn them upside down like growing plants without sunlight. There are some plants that thrive in 'low light' but what if they needed no light? Is it possible to change photosynthesis to work even without sunlight? Photosynthesis is great and all, but it's only around 1% efficient, so can it be improved? IF you were to make artificial photosynthesis can it outperform good ol natural sunlight? Biofilms are often the scourge of wearable devices, but what if they could help generate power? Turning sweat into electricity with bacteria could power your wearable devices.

  1. Elizabeth C. Hann, Sean Overa, Marcus Harland-Dunaway, Andrés F. Narvaez, Dang N. Le, Martha L. Orozco-Cárdenas, Feng Jiao, Robert E. Jinkerson. A hybrid inorganic–biological artificial photosynthesis system for energy-efficient food production. Nature Food, 2022; 3 (6): 461 DOI: 10.1038/s43016-022-00530-x
  2. Elizabeth C. Hann, Sean Overa, Marcus Harland-Dunaway, Andrés F. Narvaez, Dang N. Le, Martha L. Orozco-Cárdenas, Feng Jiao, Robert E. Jinkerson. A hybrid inorganic–biological artificial photosynthesis system for energy-efficient food production. Nature Food, 2022; 3 (6): 461 DOI: 10.1038/s43016-022-00530-x
August 1, 2022

Episode 494 - Mass extinctions and recovery in our oceans

What happens when most life in the ocean just dies off? Our oceans have seen many mass extinctions in the past, how long does it take to recover? What happened at the end of the Permian that caused massive extinctions in the ocean? What creatures were best able to survive when 80% of the rest of life in the ocean died? Burrowing and feeding on mud at the ocean depths helped soft bodied creatures survive a mass extinction. What lurked in the north Pacific that heated up the oceans? What was 'The Blob' and how were seals able to uncover it's secrets in the North pacific?

  1. Xueqian Feng, Zhong-Qiang Chen, Michael J. Benton, Chunmei Su, David J. Bottjer, Alison T. Cribb, Ziheng Li, Laishi Zhao, Guangyou Zhu, Yuangeng Huang, Zhen Guo. Resilience of infaunal ecosystems during the Early Triassic greenhouse EarthScience Advances, 2022; 8 (26) DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abo0597
  2. Rachel R. Holser, Theresa R. Keates, Daniel P. Costa, Christopher A. Edwards. Extent and Magnitude of Subsurface Anomalies During the Northeast Pacific Blob as Measured by Animal‐Borne SensorsJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 2022; 127 (7) DOI: 10.1029/2021JC018356
July 25, 2022

Episode 493 - Pleasant memories of sound and music relieving pain

There are plenty of tales of music soothing wild beasts, but is there actually a link between music and pain relief? How did researchers quantitatively study the soothing powers of music? What's better for blocking out pain ; Classical music, discordant arrangements or white noise? How does sound dull the effect of pain in mice? Just how good is a bat's auditory long term memory? can you train a bat to recognize the sound of a tasty treat? How do bats process and associate sounds with food?

  1. Wenjie Zhou, Chonghuan Ye, Haitao Wang, Yu Mao, Weijia Zhang, An Liu, Chen-Ling Yang, Tianming Li, Lauren Hayashi, Wan Zhao, Lin Chen, Yuanyuan Liu, Wenjuan Tao, Zhi Zhang. Sound induces analgesia through corticothalamic circuits. Science, 2022; 377 (6602): 198 DOI: 10.1126/science.abn4663
  2. M. May Dixon, Patricia L. Jones, Michael J. Ryan, Gerald G. Carter, Rachel A. Page. Long-term memory in frog-eating bats. Current Biology, 2022; 32 (12): R557 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.05.031
July 4, 2022

Episode 490 - The history of fire on Earth

The history of fire on earth from the first wildfires to the first use to cook. We all know you need fuel and oxygen for fire, but when did the first fires occur on Earth. When did the first wild fires occur on earth? What was there to burn on early Earth if there weren't any large trees or plants? Giant mushrooms and large fields of moss, early Earth was very different but it could still have wildfires. When did the first hominids use fire as a tool? How can we identify if something that was burn was done so deliberately or accidentally. We know at some point hominids used fire as a tool, but when exactly -  200,500 800 million years ago?

  1. Zane Stepka, Ido Azuri, Liora Kolska Horwitz, Michael Chazan, Filipe Natalio. Hidden signatures of early fire at Evron Quarry (1.0 to 0.8 Mya)Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2022; 119 (25) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2123439119
  2. Ian J. Glasspool, Robert A. Gastaldo. Silurian wildfire proxies and atmospheric oxygenGeology, 2022; DOI: 10.1130/G50193.1
June 14, 2022

Episode 487 - Feeding the planet without damaging it

​As our climate changes, feeding the planet without making things worse is a big challenge. How do plants work together to survive extreme weather events? When there is a large drought or extreme weather event what works better, single species or mixed? Plant diversity can help plants weather the storm of climate change and come out stronger. How do cover crops help 'fix' nitrogen in the soil and reduce negative climate impacts. Excess fertiliser is not only expensive for farmers but damaging to the local and global environment. How can cover crops help soil recover and reduce negative climate change impacts of mono cropping. 

  1. Yuxin Chen, Anja Vogel, Cameron Wagg, Tianyang Xu, Maitane Iturrate-Garcia, Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, Alexandra Weigelt, Nico Eisenhauer, Bernhard Schmid. Drought-exposure history increases complementarity between plant species in response to a subsequent droughtNature Communications, 2022; 13 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-30954-9
  2. Nakian Kim, Chance W. Riggins, María C. Zabaloy, Marco Allegrini, Sandra L. Rodriguez-Zas, María B. Villamil. High-Resolution Indicators of Soil Microbial Responses to N Fertilization and Cover Cropping in Corn MonoculturesAgronomy, 2022; 12 (4): 954 DOI: 10.3390/agronomy12040954
  3. Nakian Kim, Chance Riggins, María C. Zabaloy, Sandra Rodriguez-Zas and María B. Villamil. Limited impacts of cover cropping on soil N-cycling microbial communities of long-term corn monoculturesFrontiers in Microbiology, 2022 DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.926592
June 7, 2022

Episode 486 - Bypassing the brains defences for treatment

The brain is incredibly important and needs to be protected by your body but this also makes it hard to treat. Brain tumours can be stubborn to root out because many treatments are blocked by the blood brain barrier. The blood brain barrier blocks many cancer treatments, but with the right disguise and nano coating cancer treatments can sneak past. Brain tumours can block the immune system from functioning, but sneaking through the right treatment can help the immune system fight back. Traumatic brain injury and subsequent inflammation can lead to significant damage, and normal anti-inflammatory methods are blocked by the blood brain barrier. If you can't sneak anti-inflammatories through the blood brain barrier, why not just boost their production locally? T Cells can fight back against inflammation after a traumatic brain injury if there's enough food for them to thrive on. 

  1. Yshii, L., Pasciuto, E., Bielefeld, P. et al. Astrocyte-targeted gene delivery of interleukin 2 specifically increases brain-resident regulatory T cell numbers and protects against pathological neuroinflammationNat Immunol, 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41590-022-01208-z
  2. Mahmoud S. Alghamri, Kaushik Banerjee, Anzar A. Mujeeb, Ava Mauser, Ayman Taher, Rohit Thalla, Brandon L. McClellan, Maria L. Varela, Svetlana M. Stamatovic, Gabriela Martinez-Revollar, Anuska V. Andjelkovic, Jason V. Gregory, Padma Kadiyala, Alexandra Calinescu, Jennifer A. Jiménez, April A. Apfelbaum, Elizabeth R. Lawlor, Stephen Carney, Andrea Comba, Syed Mohd Faisal, Marcus Barissi, Marta B. Edwards, Henry Appelman, Yilun Sun, Jingyao Gan, Rose Ackermann, Anna Schwendeman, Marianela Candolfi, Michael R. Olin, Joerg Lahann, Pedro R. Lowenstein, Maria G. Castro. Systemic Delivery of an Adjuvant CXCR4–CXCL12 Signaling Inhibitor Encapsulated in Synthetic Protein Nanoparticles for Glioma ImmunotherapyACS Nano, 2022; DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.1c07492
May 30, 2022

Episode 485 - Plants race against rising sea levels

How can plants adapt to a changing climate and strange volcanic soils. By tracking the divergent evolution of Thale Cress, scientists can track the genetic changes needed to thrive in weird soil. Volcanic soil can have benefits along with risks, but how can plants adapt quickly to odd soil types? How did plants learn to thrive on a volcanic island, Pico de Fogo. What can a long running study tell us about plants adapting to a changing climate. Extra CO2 is good for plants...to up to a point. For plants in wetlands its a race between rising sea levels and extra CO2. 

  1. Emmanuel Tergemina, Ahmed F. Elfarargi, Paulina Flis, Andrea Fulgione, Mehmet Göktay, Célia Neto, Marleen Scholle, Pádraic J. Flood, Sophie-Asako Xerri, Johan Zicola, Nina Döring, Herculano Dinis, Ute Krämer, David E. Salt, Angela M. Hancock. A two-step adaptive walk rewires nutrient transport in a challenging edaphic environmentScience Advances, 2022; 8 (20) DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abm9385
  2. Chunwu Zhu, J. Adam Langley, Lewis H. Ziska, Donald R. Cahoon, J. Patrick Megonigal. Accelerated sea-level rise is suppressing CO 2 stimulation of tidal marsh productivity: A 33-year studyScience Advances, 2022; 8 (20) DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abn0054
May 2, 2022

Episode 481 - Finding hidden life in our oceans with RNA and DNA

Using sequencing techniques we can find all kinds of hidden life in our oceans. RNA viruses are ancient, but their old genes can help us spot them in great numbers in our oceans. There are huge amounts of 'life' in our oceans that we don't know about. No matter if you think viruses are 'alive' or not, there are way more than we imagined in our oceans. RNA viruses are easier to spot in our oceans if you look for the right ancient gene. Using gene sequencing we can find fish that are hidden in our reefs. Visually spotting fish is helpful but can overlook sneak fish. Using environemtnal sequencing techniques way more diverse range of fish can be found.

  1. Ahmed A. Zayed, James M. Wainaina, Guillermo Dominguez-Huerta, Eric Pelletier, Jiarong Guo, Mohamed Mohssen, Funing Tian, Akbar Adjie Pratama, Benjamin Bolduc, Olivier Zablocki, Dylan Cronin, Lindsey Solden, Erwan Delage, Adriana Alberti, Jean-Marc Aury, Quentin Carradec, Corinne da Silva, Karine Labadie, Julie Poulain, Hans-Joachim Ruscheweyh, Guillem Salazar, Elan Shatoff, Ralf Bundschuh, Kurt Fredrick, Laura S. Kubatko, Samuel Chaffron, Alexander I. Culley, Shinichi Sunagawa, Jens H. Kuhn, Patrick Wincker, Matthew B. Sullivan, Silvia G. Acinas, Marcel Babin, Peer Bork, Emmanuel Boss, Chris Bowler, Guy Cochrane, Colomban de Vargas, Gabriel Gorsky, Lionel Guidi, Nigel Grimsley, Pascal Hingamp, Daniele Iudicone, Olivier Jaillon, Stefanie Kandels, Lee Karp-Boss, Eric Karsenti, Fabrice Not, Hiroyuki Ogata, Nicole Poulton, Stéphane Pesant, Christian Sardet, Sabrinia Speich, Lars Stemmann, Matthew B. Sullivan, Shinichi Sungawa, Patrick Wincker. Cryptic and abundant marine viruses at the evolutionary origins of Earth’s RNA viromeScience, 2022; 376 (6589): 156 DOI: 10.1126/science.abm5847
  2. Laetitia Mathon, Virginie Marques, David Mouillot, Camille Albouy, Marco Andrello, Florian Baletaud, Giomar H. Borrero-Pérez, Tony Dejean, Graham J. Edgar, Jonathan Grondin, Pierre-Edouard Guerin, Régis Hocdé, Jean-Baptiste Juhel, Kadarusman, Eva Maire, Gael Mariani, Matthew McLean, Andrea Polanco F., Laurent Pouyaud, Rick D. Stuart-Smith, Hagi Yulia Sugeha, Alice Valentini, Laurent Vigliola, Indra B. Vimono, Loïc Pellissier, Stéphanie Manel. Cross-ocean patterns and processes in fish biodiversity on coral reefs through the lens of eDNA metabarcodingProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2022; 289 (1973) DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2022.0162
April 25, 2022

Episode 480 - Bacteria turning methane into electricity, and corrupting corn

How can bacteria turn methane directly into electricity? Why waste time producing bio gas to burn when bacteria could produce electricity directly.  When bacteria take over corn, before they wreck the join they order in delivered food. Bacteria enjoy a huge feast when taking over maize, then they get to work wrecking the joint. Bacteria ends up in spots its not meant to be and redirects food away from plant cells. Redirected takeout food keeps bacteria alive as they settle into their corn host in preparation for taking over. When moving into a new house it helps to get food delivered at first, which is exactly what bacteria does.

  1. Heleen T. Ouboter, Tom Berben, Stefanie Berger, Mike S. M. Jetten, Tom Sleutels, Annemiek Ter Heijne, Cornelia U. Welte. Methane-Dependent Extracellular Electron Transfer at the Bioanode by the Anaerobic Archaeal Methanotroph “Candidatus Methanoperedens”. Frontiers in Microbiology, 2022; 13 DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.820989
  2. Irene Gentzel, Laura Giese, Gayani Ekanayake, Kelly Mikhail, Wanying Zhao, Jean-Christophe Cocuron, Ana Paula Alonso, David Mackey. Dynamic nutrient acquisition from a hydrated apoplast supports biotrophic proliferation of a bacterial pathogen of maize. Cell Host & Microbe, 2022; 30 (4): 502 DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2022.03.017
April 18, 2022

Episode 479 - Fish that count and Spiders hearing with their webs

Can fish count? What purpose does a stingray have with addition and subtraction? Why are fish and stingrays able to do basic arithmetic without a cerebral cortex? Scientists taught fish to do arithmetic with some help from Bees. What happens with you put a spider web in an anechoic chamber? How do spiders tune their webs to detect sound? Spiders webs act as powerful microphone arrays that are also cable of carrying sound across long distances. Spider webs make powerful microphone arrays that allow spiders to hear great with great fidelity.

  1. V. Schluessel, N. Kreuter, I. M. Gosemann, E. Schmidt. Cichlids and stingrays can add and subtract ‘one’ in the number space from one to fiveScientific Reports, 2022; 12 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-07552-2
  2. Jian Zhou, Junpeng Lai, Gil Menda, Jay A. Stafstrom, Carol I. Miles, Ronald R. Hoy, Ronald N. Miles. Outsourced hearing in an orb-weaving spider that uses its web as an auditory sensorProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2022; 119 (14) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2122789119
April 4, 2022

Episode 477 - Plants reacting and defending themselves

How can plants defend themselves from attack? Animals scatter when they hear an alarm cry or a predator, but how do plants defend themselves? Plants react to danger around them by detecting chemical signals. Plants emit warning through volatile chemicals and others detect these signals to raise their own defences. How do plants detect light and know where to head without eyes? How do the shape of proteins that bend a plant towards like change when exposed to different light?

  1. Haruki Onosato, Genya Fujimoto, Tomota Higami, Takuya Sakamoto, Ayaka Yamada, Takamasa Suzuki, Rika Ozawa, Sachihiro Matsunaga, Motoaki Seki, Minoru Ueda, Kaori Sako, Ivan Galis, Gen-ichiro Arimura. Sustained defense response via volatile signaling and its epigenetic transcriptional regulationPlant Physiology, 2022; DOI: 10.1093/plphys/kiac077
  2. Li, H., Burgie, E.S., Gannam, Z.T.K. et al. Plant phytochrome B is an asymmetric dimer with unique signalling potentialNature, 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-04529-z
March 21, 2022

Episode 475 - Tarantula eating worms and Panda’s helpful bacteria

Tarantulas are often in horror films, but they too can be subject to a mysterious invasion and slow death by nasty nematodes. "In Hollywood, you haven't really made it until you've been recognized by those in the field of parasitology" says Jeff Daniels. Why did scientists immortalize Jeff Daniels in the name of a deadly nematode. Slowly loosing control of limbs and organs is a nasty way to go out, but its how nematodes can take down a tarantula. Panda's get a lot of help from bacteria to help them survive with their limited diet. Pandas need a lot of help to survive even though they only eat bamboo. Gut bacteria helps pandas turn their bamboo into all the energy they need to build mass and fat.

  1. Jacob Schurkman, Kyle Anesko; Joaquín Abolafia; Irma Tandingan De Ley; Adler R. Dillman. Tarantobelus Jeffdanielsi N. Sp. (panagrolaimomorpha; Panagrolaimidae), a Nematode Parasite of TarantulasJ Parasitol, 2022 DOI: 10.1645/21-42
  2. Guangping Huang, Le Wang, Jian Li, Rong Hou, Meng Wang, Zhilin Wang, Qingyue Qu, Wenliang Zhou, Yonggang Nie, Yibo Hu, Yingjie Ma, Li Yan, Hong Wei, Fuwen Wei. Seasonal shift of the gut microbiome synchronizes host peripheral circadian rhythm for physiological adaptation to a low-fat diet in the giant pandaCell Reports, 2022; 38 (3): 110203 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.110203
March 14, 2022

Episode 474 - Fossils changing the Planet and the planet changing Fossils

How can fossils change the planet and the planet change fossils? Forming fossils require specific set of circumstances. How can geological changes make the right conditions for fossils to be preserved? What happened 183 million years ago that made it possible to preserve even soft and delicate fossils? Preserving bones is comparatively easy compared to soft tissue and creatures like squid. So what has to happen to preserve these as fossils? How did fossils change the composition of rocks deep in the mantle? When life first emerged on our planet what change did it cause in the type of rocks found deep beneath the surface? life on the surface has changed the rocks we have deep in the earth.

  1. Sinjini Sinha, A. D. Muscente, James D. Schiffbauer, Matt Williams, Günter Schweigert, Rowan C. Martindale. Global controls on phosphatization of fossils during the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic EventScientific Reports, 2021; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-03482-7
  2. Alcott, L.J., Mills, B.J.W., Bekker, A. et al. Earth’s Great Oxidation Event facilitated by the rise of sedimentary phosphorus recyclingNat. Geosci., 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41561-022-00906-5
March 7, 2022

Episode 473 - Super materials from Molluscs and Scallops

Making super materials by learning the secrets of molluscs and scallops. How are scallops are able to survive the super-cool water in Antarctica. What makes Antarctic scallop shells able to simply brush aside ice? How do you shed a skin of ice from a scallop? What connects scallops with making airplanes more efficient? How do mussels manage to stick so well to things? Is it possible to replicate the stickiness of a mussel? Mussels make themselves near impossible to remove, so can you make them even stickier?

  1. William S. Y. Wong, Lukas Hauer, Paul A. Cziko, Konrad Meister. Cryofouling avoidance in the Antarctic scallop Adamussium colbecki. Communications Biology, 2022; 5 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s42003-022-03023-6
  2. Or Berger, Claudia Battistella, Yusu Chen, Julia Oktawiec, Zofia E. Siwicka, Danielle Tullman-Ercek, Muzhou Wang, Nathan C. Gianneschi. Mussel Adhesive-Inspired Proteomimetic Polymer. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2022; DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c10936