In this episode:
00:46 Modifying a fungal drug to make it less toxicAmphotericin B is a drug used to treat life-threatening fungal infections. But while it is effective against many fungal species, it is also extremely toxic to kidneys, meaning it is mostly used as a drug of last-resort. This week, a team has unpicked the mechanism behind the drug’s toxicity, allowing them to modify it and reduce side effects in human kidney cells. The researchers hope this new version of the drug could become a useful tool in fighting fungal diseases.
Research article: Maji et al.
09:00 Research HighlightsReconstructing woolly rhino DNA using samples from fossilized hyena dung, and a soft robot that can perform surgery inside a beating heart.
Research Highlight: Woolly-rhino genome emerges from cave hyena’s fossilized poo
Research Highlight: A robot performs heart surgery with a strong but delicate touch
11:26 Phosphorus found at the edge of our GalaxyPhosphorus is a vital element for life and for planet formation, but although abundant in the inner part of the Milky Way, it has been undetected in the outer regions of our Galaxy. Now, researchers have identified phosphorus-containing molecules huge distances from Earth, although exactly how this phosphorus was created is unclear. The team suspect that lower-mass stars are behind the phosphorus generation, and believe that the detection of the element could broaden the range of planets that may be habitable in our Galaxy.
Research article: Koelemay et al.
18:14 Briefing ChatWhat Osiris-REx’s hypersonic capsule return could teach researchers about asteroids hitting Earth’s atmosphere, and the genetic studies that could help restore the genomes of Scotland’s endangered ‘Highland tigers’.
Nature News: Asteroid sampler’s hypersonic return thrilled scientists: here’s what they learnt
Nature News: How to keep wildcats wild: ancient DNA offers fresh insights
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In this episode:
00:49 What caused the Universe to become fully transparent?Around 13 billion years ago, the Universe was filled with a dense ‘fog’ of neutral hydrogen that blocked certain wavelengths of light. This fog was lifted when the hydrogen was hit by radiation in a process known as...
The phenomenon of animals catching diseases from humans, called reverse zoonoses, has had a severe impact on great ape populations, often representing a bigger threat than habitat loss or poaching.
However, while many scientists and conservationists agree that human diseases pose one of the...