25 November, 2015 – Episode 542 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)


Engineering Mosquitoes, Blue Origin Success!, High Power Beams!, Little Not Humans, Sperm Size Matters, Vampire Giving, Blue-Green Origin, Bugs To Brains, Future Vaccines, Head Games, Amazing Dancing Finches, Terrific Tardigrades, Robo-Bartenders, And Much More!

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This week in Science,
Coming up Next…

Engineering Mosquitoes
Using the CRISPR gene-editing system, researchers have successfully engineered mosquitoes to produce malaria-targeting antibodies, which could lead to 100% resistance in the wild if released from the lab.

Blue Origin Success!
Jeff Bezos’ company, Blue Origin, successfully launched a rocket into sub-orbital space and landed it back on the launchpad in an upright position. Is this a win for private space exploration?

High Power Beams!
CERN’s LHC has started smashing lead atoms to investigate quark gluon plasma, and the behavior of matter at incredibly high temperatures. The collisions exert a massive Peta-electron volt of energy.

Old Teeth, New Species?
Dental analysis suggests Homo floresiensis was a separate species from modern man

Sperm: does size matter?
It turns out that it depends on how big you are. Or rather, how big a female’s reproductive tract is. For larger animals like whales, it is the sheer amount of sperm, hoping some will reach the egg. For smaller critters like mice, the longer and bigger the spem, the faster they are, and therefore more successful. Sex is complicated…

What goes around comes around for vampire bats
Bats will regurgitate blood into each other’s mouths when the going gets tough, with the understanding that they will receive the same kindness when their luck runs out. Is this a case of bat guilt? Morality? Or just a good survival skill?

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Blue-Green Origin (oxygen!)
The oxygen on planet Earth might have originated from blue-green algae.

Bugs Say No
Bacteria in your gut might be responsible for signalling fullness, and triggering you to stop eating.

Just add water
The vaccines of the future could be freeze-dried for rapid production in all areas of the world.

Head Games
Tuft University researchers have used electrical signalling to force a species of flatworm to grow their heads in the shapes of other closely-related flatworm species.

Amazing dancing finches!
High-speed footage shows that finches are doing more than hopping – they are tap dancing for their mate!

Scientists are teaching robots how to be efficient bartenders.

Tardigrade Genomes
Turns out that the indestructible tardigrade is chock full of other organism’s genes, and has lots of genes for stress resilience.

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