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Talking Biotech is a weekly podcast that uncovers the stories, ideas and research of people at the frontier of biology and engineering. Each episode explores how science and technology will transform agriculture, protect the environment, and feed 10 billion people by 2050. Interviews are led by Dr. Kevin Folta, a professor of molecular biology and genomics.
 
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A microbiome is described as a population of bacteria, fungi, protists and viruses that inhabit a specific environment. Animals, including humans, are composed of many microbiomes featuring trillions of microbes. There are different microbiomes found throughout the animal digestive tract, each with important roles in animal digestion, feed conversi…
 
This week's podcast has two parts. In the first section University of Idaho lactation specialist Dr. Shelley McGuire discusses the recent paper that claims to have found the herbicide glyphosate in breast milk. In the second half Gabe Ignetti from the Ecomodernist Society of North America discusses an environmental movement that embraces science, i…
 
Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death, but is remarkably treatable if caught early. Unfortunately, because of the invasive nature of the colonoscopy, many elect not to have this procedure done in a regular and timely manner. Colorectal cancers advance from normal cells through several distinct neoplasias, each with distinct…
 
The foundation of many modern consumer products begins with petroleum. Fossil fuels contain the building blocks of higher-complexity polymers, and are used in the creation of everything from high performance plastics in medical devices to your computer screen. But using petroleum use is not sustainable and has impacts in climate and pollution. What…
 
Injury to organs frequently results in impaired function due to the formation of scar tissue. Heart attacks and chronic high blood pressure can induce the formation of pathogenic fibroblasts, cells that lose their original function, yet maintain some structural element of the injured tissue. The formation of fibrogenic tissue affects a significant …
 
Prion disorders are rare neurological diseases where a protein within the nervous system converts to a pathological form. The change in conformation affects other proteins, recruiting them to the misshapen, deleterious type. Chronic wasting disease is a neurological disease of deer, caused by prion conversion. In this episode Dr. Sandra Pritzkow fr…
 
Specific chemistries are used to protect crops from insects, weeds, fungi and other microbes. Legacy issues with some older pesticides led to restrictions or bans on their use. Unfortunately, suspicion remains around contemporary solutions, even though today's chemistries are highly specific, with low toxicity to non-target organisms, including hum…
 
Epigenetic regulation of gene expression occurs via many mechanisms. One method is the methylation of regulatory sequences that control the expression of specific genes. Methylation is the addition of a small methyl group to specific bases of the DNA helix. Addition of a methyl group can change how the DNA blueprint is accessed and expressed. Today…
 
Recent reports criticized the lack of reproducibility in scientific publications, and this has profound effects on the public's trust in research results. Today's interview is with Tim Errington, Director of Research at the Center for Open Science. The Center for Open Science has devised a series of strategies and tools that can help improve reprod…
 
Proteins define the structure and function of cells. The human genome encodes tens of thousands of proteins, yet we know surprisingly little about most of their functions. The Human Protein Atlas uses labor-intensive methods to identify the tissue localization of a significant catalog of human proteins. The reasoning is that if we know where a prot…
 
Many diseases do not have cures, yet from deleterious mutations in the genome. Many of these are rare disorders that do not benefit from extensive research or drug development. Current therapies mask symptoms more than solve the basis of the disorder. Dietrich Stephan of NewBase describes a novel custom drug design platform that shows amazing poten…
 
We are bombarded by claims, and have access to the most information in human history, instantly. How do we sort it out? What is real and what's not? Who do we trust? These are major questions today, and affect everything from public health to the foundations of democracy in the USA. From the news to the internet to the dinner table we are immersed …
 
Mosquitoes are the world's most dangerous animals, vectoring dozens of diseases. One of the major disease vectors is Ades aegypti, an invasive insect with an ever-expanding range. Municipalities have turned to insecticides for control, which can impact beneficial insects. Sterile insect techniques, performed by mutagenizing mosquitoes to sterility,…
 
Heart attack and stroke are leading causes of death worldwide. Current treatments are aimed at prevention-- using various medications to control the health of the circulatory system. This week's podcast speaks with Dr. Oki O'Connor, Co-CEO of Underdog Pharmaceuticals. Dr. O'Connor discusses the cellular basis of atherosclerosis, and how modified ch…
 
Apples are a beloved fruit, with over 8000 varieties available worldwide. The apples in the grocery store represent just a tiny section of apple genetic potential, a few flavors that ship well and can be stored for a long period of time. But today in the genomics era new tools seek to speed the breeding of apples to create new varieties, flavors, a…
 
The process of animal development is a complex coordination of different genes through time. At least that's what we thought. Dr. Michael Levin from Tufts University is forcing us to rethink these processes, with impacts in medicine, cancers, correction of developmental defects and limb regeneration. ,…
 
Gene editing with CRISPR/Cas, TALEN or other tools allows scientists to make directed and precise changes in DNA. The technologies promise to transform agriculture and medicine. But the application of these technologies hinges on consumer sentiment. Dr. Brandon Mc Fadden is an agricultural economist that specializes in understanding what makes cons…
 
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