Reviewed here are a number of recent Nature Podcasts with links. Darwin’s Bicentenary Anniversary is covered in a special issue of the Nature Podcast dedicated to Darwin. There are a number of interesting studies covered also including a closer look at the how functional MRI uses blood flow measurement and what this means as well as coverage of advances in genomic sequencing.
In the 8.1.9 edition of the Nature Podcast there is discussion of what may happen in 2009 including the possible construction of a new ‘artificial’ organism from a synthetic genome. There is also a discussion of advances in genome sequencing due to the increasing speed of the techniques available.
In the 15.1.9 edition of the Nature Podcast there is a discussion of the creation of an artificial cellular oscillator. In the discussion the researchers suggest that an eventual goal might be to use such systems in delivering therapy. They also suggest that observation of these systems in action might provide insights into cellular constituents such as enzymes.
In the 22.1.9 edition of the Nature Podcast there is a discussion of difficulties with fMRI. The researchers look at blood flow to the visual cortex which occurred both with and without a visual stimulus. They used high energy light emitting diodes, to look at blood oxygenation and blood volume. The findings suggested that blood flow could change prior to activity in the region and that this could represent preparedness in the brain. One of the researchers in the discussion looked at the possibility of identifying signals which are not confounded by a preparatory change in activity. There was also an interesting discussion about how the internet and mobile devices can be used in emergency response systems using text messages or twitter for instance and examples are given.
In the 12.2.9 edition of the Nature Podcast is dedicated to Darwin. The presenters visit Darwin’s home, describing the study in which he worked and the gardens in which he walked and observed nature. There is an interview with one of Darwin’s great grand-daughters who herself is a poet and has written a book of poetry about Darwin.They look at some of the observations of his own family that Darwin made and even suggest that he originated the field of child psychology. There is also an interview with an actor who plays Darwin in an upcoming film. There is also a discussion of a segmental replication in the genome of a number of primate species and also in humans. There is speculation that such replication may give rise to more opportunities for mutation in regions which are potentially functionally important.
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