Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 4th Aug 2007

Venoms and Toxins - Nature's Chemical Arsenal

Roadside Snake Charmer - Agra, India (c) Gregor Younger

This week, mind reading children, scientists find a new gene in the lung cancer cocktail, and satnav or map-nav - what's greener? Plus we become biological weapons inspectors and explore nature's arsenal of venoms, poisons and toxins, including a scorpion's sting that can highlight cancer, how funnel web spiders are helping farmers fight off insect pests, the marine cone snail that harbours a painkiller ten thousand times more powerful than morphine, and how a snake bite can help to prevent a heart attack. Meanwhile, in Kitchen Science, Ben samples a more everyday toxin - by making stinging nettle tea.

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 17:01 - Scorpion's Sting Help Fight Cancer

    Jim Olsen and his team from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle have found a way to use scorpion venom to make a ‘paint’ which shows up cancer cells. This means that surgeons can be more certain that they are taking out an entire tumour, which can limit the da...

  • 22:56 - Science Update - Sea Levels and Foxy Foxes

    This week, Susanne and Bob look into the sex lives of Arctic Foxes and the effect of melting Polar ice sheets.

  • 25:13 - Deadly Snails Kill Pain

    Chris talks to Dr Bruce Livett about using the venom of cone shells to cure pain.

  • 33:23 - Snakes - Venom, Antivenom and Medicinal Uses

    We spoke to Gavin Laing, of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicne, about why snake venom is so potent, how we could use it as medicine and how to make antivenom for those who do get bitten!

  • 35:47 - How do you make anti-venoms?

    I was wondering how they produce antibodies from venoms of snakes to make a anti-venom from it. And whether this is a long process or not.

  • 39:13 - Spider Venom on Apples - Natural Insecticides

    Robyn Williams, from ABC Radio National's 'The Science Show' speaks to Glenn King about finding natural alternatives for insecticides - in the venom of deadly spiders!



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Welcome to the forum! Karen W., Mon, 1st Oct 2007

I was really fascinated with spider venom used as a natural pesticide that has to be the way to go. Lazy_Genius, Mon, 1st Oct 2007

Although just because it is natural doesn't mean that it is going to be environmentally harmless. Each chemical should be taken on its merits wherever it came from. daveshorts, Mon, 1st Oct 2007

yes thats true, The guy seemed a little fuzzy on how it would effect friendly species too Lazy_Genius, Mon, 1st Oct 2007

i love nature

footballyears, Thu, 5th Nov 2009

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