Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 15th Oct 2011

Plant Pests and Plant Pathology

Damage caused by the horse-chestnut leaf miner (Cameraria ohridella)  (c) Opuntia@ wikipedia

This week, Plant Pests and Plant Pathology - we find out what happens when plants get ill, how to understand and prevent the spread of plant disease, and how they can call up an insect army to defend them if they’re attacked.  We also find out why some horse chestnut trees are going brown before their time, and meet the pesky critter responsible!  Plus, a new technique to cleanly edit out and correct errors in the DNA code, how the plague bacterium hasn't changed in 600 years, and why children, but not chimps, choose to work together.  

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:46 - A low protein diet increases snacking

    A study published in PLoS One that shows that having a lower percentage of protein in the diet can lead to more snacking behaviour and more perceived hunger.

  • 05:20 - Protein “Restraining Order” for Gut Bacteria

    An antibacterial protein secreted in the small intestine creates a tiny “no man’s land” between the wall of the intestine and the bacteria that live inside the gut. Breakdown of this physical buffer could lead to Inflammatory Bowel Disease and other chronic problems...

  • 08:00 - DNA Scalpel Fixes Mutations; Leaves No Scars

    A new technique to repair errors in DNA while leaving no trace has been reported in the journal Nature. The researchers have corrected an error that leads to an untreatable liver disease, and this technique could eventually lead to treatments for an extremely wide range of gene...

  • 14:26 - Black Death Bacterium Unchanged in Centuries

    Researchers have for the first time mapped the genome of Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that caused the Black Death - the plague between 1347 and 1351 that killed up to 30 million people - 50% of the population of Europe at the time.

  • 17:14 - Need help? Ask a Child, Not a Chimp

    Children are more likely to seek assistance in a task than chimpanzees, suggesting that a motivation to work together could be part of what makes us “human”...

  • 20:56 - Fighting Infections and Mimicking Muscles

    We find out why Vitamin D can keep Tuberculosis at bay, how muscles can be mimicked with nanotubes, how prosthetic can be controlled using brain signals and another reason to eat your greens...

  • 50:40 - Are we modelling pathogen evolution?

    Modelling the disease spread sounds incredible. Are scientists also modelling potential pathogen mutation to stay ahead of the game in terms of cultivar diversity?

  • 51:46 - Do many plants signal danger to their neighbours?

    While on safari in Africa, we saw plants that are favoured by elephants but which they can only eat for fifteen minutes before the plant and all those around it produce tannins to make itself inedible. Is this a common strategy?

  • 55:23 - Why are ants attracted to cherry plants?

    This concerns a fruiting Cherry tree that attracts ants. It came from Tescos and is clearly a graft onto a root stock so unfortunately I don't have a species. The behaviour I observe is as follows: ants climb the tree and head to a leaf stem, at the base of which is two red bud...

  • 57:42 - Can we prevent leaf miners in Tomato Plants?

    Can we prevent leaf miners in Tomato Plants?

  • 64:52 - Why don't black holes explode once they lose enough mass?

    If it takes a very massive star collapsing to form a black hole, and Hawking's radiation eats it away, then why doesn't it blow up after enough matter is eaten away? I was listening to one of your previous Naked Astronomy shows and they stated that eventually the black hole wi...



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