27 April, 2016 – Episode 564 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)


Interview with Dr. Cat Lutz from the Jackson Lab, Stabby Animals, Needy Nightshade, Alien Oceanography, Brain Thesaurus, Addictive Genes, Antibiotic Progress, Fragile X Memory, Soil Bacteria, Dirty Wine, Corvids Are Smart, A New Moon, Old Climate Records, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
So much progress has taken place over the past few centuries
that it is hard at times to consider what effort each individual advance required to reach the modern age…
When we think of the great contributors to science
many names come quickly to mind…
But chances are none of the names you may be thinking belong to mice…
And yet behind many of our Nobel Prize winning human scientists…
There is a focused and dedicated team of research mice…
Living lives even more dedicated to science than the Humans who employ them.
And let us also not forget the trusty Lab Rat,
who’s stoic and steadfast use of logic and mastery of emotional equilibrium
is the basis of much modern psychology…
And while our whiskered cousins may not claim credit for the results…
The modern era of science and medicine would not have been possible…
Without their dedication, brave commitments and heroic contributions…
Research Mouse, Lab Rat, we salute you here on
This Week in Science,
Coming up Next…

Interview with Dr. Cathleen Lutz of the Jackson Laboratory. Dr. Cat Lutz is head the Mouse Models Repository at The Jackson Laboratory, and is responsible for managing all aspects of the Repository, which consists of over 1800 strains for distribution to the scientific community.

Blair’s Animal Corner!
How stabby?
That is the scientific question a group of researchers asked this week. But what is really fascinating is how they measured it!

Deadly nightshade have invertebrate friends
When being poisonous isn’t good enough to keep herbivores away, nightshade has found a way to enlist the help of ants, by bribing them with what is essentially sugar-water.

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Alien Oceanography
The Cassini mission explored Saturn’s moon Titan over several years, and a new paper out describes the moon’s polar oceans, specifically Ligeia Mare. It appears to contain mainly methane, have a soft bottom, and be surrounded by wetlands.

Brain Thesaurus
A new fMRI project has mapped the brain’s organization of language in native English speakers, and found that while there are differences between individual brains the rough semantic categories are the same across individuals.

Addictive Genes…
Rat study confirms pre-disposure to addiction.

Teixobactin Progress
Chemists have succeeded in synthetically producing the novel anti-bacterial agent Teixobactin that was discovered just last year. While still a long way from being able to use the compound for treatment of human infections, it is the first step in creating a new class of antibiotic drug.

Cancelling Mutation Effects
Researchers used an experimental cancer drug called Nutlin-3 to succesfully reverse the memory effects of a genetic mutation causing Fragile X syndrome in mice.

Soil Bacteria
Nitrogen fixers are so important, but they don’t really need the plants.

Can you really taste the soil your wine was grown in?
Sort of…

Corvids are Smart
In a non-shocking study, ravens appeared to be just as good at solving a food puzzle as chimpanzees, proving once again that size doesn’t matter, when it comes to your brain.

MakeMake Moon!
Hubble Space telescope discovered a moon orbiting the Kuiper belt object called Makemake making it even more Pluto-like.

Climate Data
Lots of it from ancient farmers and merchants corroborate the effect of the Industrial Revolution on the Earth’s increasing temperature.

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I'm the host of this little science show.