Reviewed here are some issues of the Nature podcast. In the 18th June edition there is a look at the finding that DNA in sperm cells is packaged tightly or loosely and this determines the subsequent expression of genes. The DNA binding protein that produces a loose packaging of DNA is called protamine and there are implications not just for later expression of DNA in the development of the embryo but also a possible assoiation with fertility. There is also coverage of a recent submission of a ‘fake’ paper to a journal. In the 11th June edition, there is a discussion of a study in Nematode worms which shows that longevity can be increased six-fold by genetic manipulation and that the mechanisms seems to be activation of a stress response causing somatic cells to take on some of the characteristics of germ-line cells. There is also a look at research showing that in a sample of cancer studies that women are under-represented. In the 4th June edition there is coverage of some recent developments in induced pluripotent stem cells. These involve taking adult cells and inducing them to form stem cells which can then differentiate into other cell types. This avoids the need for embyonic stem cells. There are still a number of technical hurdles to be overcome. There is also a look at the stimulation of new neuronal cell growth in response to Deep Brain Stimulation. The finding (presented at a conference in Canada) is that there is evidence that these new cells are involved in the formation of new memories (i.e. they are functional) as they express Fos. There is also a special edition looking at science journalism and some of the ways this has changed in response to new technologies including the effects of twittering.
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