Genetics Unzipped

S3.04 – Race to the bottom

In this episode, we’re hunting for the ghosts in our genomes, telling the story of the discovery of the double helix in Lego, and finding out how to argue with a racist.

S3.03 – Fish, facts and fiction, from Haeckel’s embryos to Tiktaalik

In this episode exploring great ideas in genetics, we’re discovering our inner fish – finding out whether we really do go through a fishy phase in the womb, and looking at the legacy of Tiktaalik, the first fish to walk on land.

 

 

 

S3.02 – Hidden family secrets revealed by genetic testing

It’s been impossible to ignore the rise in direct-to-consumer and medical genetic testing over the past few years.  And as the cost of whole genome sequencing falls – and the potential personal, health and financial value of genomic data rises – this trend is only likely to continue.  But do people really realise what they’re signing up for when they spit into a tube or squirt out a blood sample?  As we head into the next decade, ethical issues like informed consent and privacy for genomic testing and research are becoming impossible to ignore – especially as your genetic information doesn’t just belong to you but is also shared with your blood relatives.

S3.01 – Investigating the icons of evolution, from Darwin’s Finches to the March of Progress

In this episode from our centenary series exploring 100 ideas in genetics, we’re exploring a couple of iconic images in evolution – the much-parodied March of Progress, portraying the inexorable journey from monkey to man, and the famous finches of the Galapagos islands, which are supposedly the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection.  Where did these infamous images come from, and do they really show what everyone seems to think they do?

Mini-series: New Light on Old Britons – Galton Institute Symposium 2019

A stellar lineup of speakers covered the latest research into the early history of the British people. Who were these ancient Britons? Where did they come from and what were they like? What’s the real story behind the romantic myths about the Celts? And what can modern genetic and archaeological techniques tell us about their lives and loves?  Discover the answers in this short series of podcasts and videos from the conference, produced by Georgia Mills and Ed Prosser for First Create The Media.   Visit the Galton Institute website to find out more about the society or follow them on Twitter @GaltonInstitute

028 Sperm wars, sneaky sheep, substandard stallions and more

In this episode we’re bringing you highlights from the Society’s Centenary Conference, held up in Edinburgh last month.

We’ve got stories of sneaky sheep, substandard racing stallions, the Vikings of the Scottish Isles and a ceilidh with a scientific spin. Plus, news from the front lines of the sperm wars.

 

027 Uprooting the tree of life: Darwin, DNA and De-extinction

In this episode from our centenary series exploring 100 ideas in genetics, we’re uprooting the tree of life – asking whether we should believe our eyes or our sequencing machines when it comes to deciding what makes a species.  Plus, the greatest comebacks of all time – we look at the science of de-extinction and find out whether Jurassic Park could ever become a reality.

 

 

026  The future is now: Curing HIV, advancing CRISPR therapies, predatory phages for superbug infections and advice for a healthy life

In this episode we’re reporting back from the Manova Global Health Summit, exploring the latest advances in health technology such as CRISPR-based gene therapies, infection-fighting viruses and a potential cure for HIV.  Plus veteran health columnist Jane Brody’s advice for a healthy life, and reflections on progress in cancer from US journalist and advocate Katie Couric.

 

025  When ‘Becky’ met Bateson: Edith Rebecca Saunders, the mother of British plant genetics

The history of genetics has a few famous partnerships – such as James Watson and Francis Crick or Francois Jacob and Jacques Monod.  But there’s one pair without whom this podcast wouldn’t exist at all, and that’s Edith Rebecca Saunders and William Bateson, who founded The Genetics Society one hundred years ago.

 

024 Exploring the Poop-ome, from the microbiome to metagenomic

We’re getting our hands dirty by delving into the poop-ome – the trillions of bacteria that live inside our guts and make up what’s known as the microbiome.  Rather than simply being a bunch of bugs, the microbiome is now believed to play a role in virtually every aspect of health and disease.  But what are they up to?  How do we even know what species are in there?  And can you blame your stinky farts on your gut bacteria?

 

023 Mergers and Aquisitions

In this episode from our centenary series exploring 100 ideas in genetics, we’re looking at mergers and acquisitions – but in a biological rather than a financial sense.  We find out what happens when two cells decide to move in together, unpack the history of genetic engineering and bleat on about the story of Dolly the Sheep.

 

 

022 Big Questions about the Big C

In this episode we’re digging into some of the mysteries around what’s often seen as the ultimate genetic disease, finding out how low doses of radiation might affect cancer risk and why tumours start in some tissues and not others.

 

 

 

021 In case you missed it…

In this episode we’re bringing you a selection of our favourite bits from the year so far that you might have missed.  We’re taking a short summer break and will be back again with new episodes from the 12th of September. In the meantime, I’ve picked a few highlights from our earlier episodes that you may have missed. I hope you enjoy listening to them, whether again or for the first time, as much as producer Hannah and I enjoyed making them.

 

020 Age, Sex and Death

In this episode from our centenary series exploring 100 ideas in genetics, we’re telling tales of sex and death, and exploring the very darkest side of genetics.

 

 

 

019 The Genetic Time-machine

In this episode from our centenary series exploring 100 ideas in genetics, we’re telling tales of sex and death, and exploring the very darkest side of genetics.

 

 

 

018 Cut. Paste. Copy. Repeat.

In this episode from our centenary series covering 100 ideas in genetics, we’re exploring the dark heart of the genome, untying nature’s shoelaces, and looking back at the discovery of RNA splicing.

 

 

 

017 Happy 100th Birthday to Us

In this episode we’re celebrating the actual birthday of the society – founded on the 25th June, 100 years ago – with past president, Nobel laureate and winner of the Genetics Society’s first centenary medal, Sir Paul Nurse.

 

 

 

016 Genetics by Numbers

In this episode from our centenary series exploring 100 ideas in genetics, we’re unravelling the story of the double helix, cracking the triplet code, and sketching out a Punnett square.

 

 

 

015 Up the Garden path

In this episode we’re diving into the valley of hybridisation, visiting the Society’s medal-winning Mendel-based garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Plus, the importance of playing with your genes.

 

 

 

014 The Seeds of a great Idea

In this episode from our series exploring 100 ideas in genetics, we’re taking the train to London with William Bateson, seeking the secrets of snapdragons, and unravelling the next generation of DNA sequencing technology.

 

 

 

 

013 The Zero Dollar Genome

Dr. Kat Arney talks to George Church about his plans for the ‘Zero Dollar Genome’, and finds out how one scientist’s interest in personal genomics got a little too close to home.

 

 

012 Strands of Life

In this episode from our series exploring 100 ideas in genetics, we explore the discovery of chromosomes – the strands of genetic material within every living cell – take a look at Lyonisation, and solve the case of the missing chromosomes.

 

 

011 Darwin Vs. Mendel

What would have happened if Darwin had read Mendel?  And what if they’d been on Twitter?  Plus, something else that Darwin would have loved – an ambitious project to sequence the DNA of everything across the tree of life.

 

 

 

 

 

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