Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 9th Dec 2012

Unravelling Epigenetics

Histones and DNA (c) Zephyris

Epigenetics controls the activity of genes inside cells and holds the key to new treatments for old diseases.  We explore the impacts of epigenetics on embryonic development, cancer, and stem cell biology, and find out how epigenetic changes during pregnancy can even affect your grandchildren!  Plus, why parenthood extends your lifespan, and the genetic recipe for the red blood cell.

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:05 - Exploring the Exciting field of Epigenetics

    DNA functions a bit like a recipe book which tells you to cook up the chemicals that they need to function. But different sorts of cells need to use different genes, or recipes, to do their different jobs and how this is controlled is partly down to a process called epigenetics...

  • 07:32 - Does epigenetics dictate our preferences?

    Epigenetic changes and preferences - so why you like things and why you don’t - could it be that when you like something when you're older, but don’t like it when you're younger, could some of these preferences be – and that’s obviously a slightly simplified thing, but could it b...

  • 08:15 - Can we alter our epigenome?

    Is there any research into undoing some of the stuff that’s been done?” and you were mentioning about how a baby inside a mother who’s pregnant has the future babies inside that. He says here, “If our parent’s lifestyles before we were conceived can determine how much of our DNA...

  • 09:02 - Epigenetics and Cancer

    Apart from enabling us to understand how cells function and develop, epigenetics can also give us some new treatments for a range of diseases including cancers. Dr. Mark Dawson from Cambridge University tells us more....

  • 17:19 - Can we reduce cancer risk with epigenetics?

    Can we train our phenotype by altering our epigenetics? Could we potentially modulate the expression of genes that are related to an increase cancer risk, for instance our BRCA 1 and 2 genes that cause breast cancer?

  • 18:08 - Is having children good for you?

    This is a difficult area to research, because you can’t conduct a randomised trial like you normally would to test a hypothesis. But a new study gets to the bottom of this tricky question. The verdict? Having children seems to increase your chance of having a long life!

  • 35:19 - Urban Flooding - Planet Earth Online

    Britain’s continuing wet weather has highlighted a serious problem facing towns and cities – urban flooding. Rather than soaking through the soil, water in built up areas is blocked by concrete, tarmac and tile and can overwhelm the drains and flood. But there is an alternativ...

  • 40:35 - Can a baby be born with leukaemia?

    A baby died at 3 months of age with acute leukaemia, but the doctor said the baby was born with it. Could that be the case?

  • 41:54 - Examining Epigenetics in Induced Stem Cells

    Epigenetics may have ramifications for other areas of science, including stem cell research and treatments. Ryan Lister from Western Australia University explores this with Naked Scientist Chris Smith.....

  • 49:00 - Does radiation aid evolution?

    Radiation is often considered harmful for us on a personal level, but could it be beneficial for human kind because it will speedup genetic mutation and therefore, our development in general?

  • 49:45 - Can nanotechnology change DNA?

    Can nanotechnology like mini robots for instance change our DNA in our body in the future? Would you see this being a therapy of the future?”

  • 50:27 - Are behaviours genetic?

    Is there anything discovered to date which might explain how instincts are encoded in DNA like spiders doing certain things with their webs and certain human behaviours for example?

  • 51:02 - How do cancer cells survive?

    How does cancer evade the body? How does this escape the clutches of say, the immune system getting rid of cancerous cells? If genetics allow cells to replicate uncontrollably, why hasn’t genetics evolve to boot the cancer out?”

  • 51:57 - Genetically tweaking offspring?

    Hey, Naked Scientists. Will the science you're discussing - epigenetics - pave the way for ‘fine tuning’ our offspring?” in other words, actually making tweaks to them to make them healthier and fitter?

  • 52:42 - In-the-dish vs in-the-body?

    Hi, folks. How can we be sure what happens during In Vitro studies is faithful as a representation of what happens In Vivo?

  • 53:15 - Do foetuses get cancer?

    Do foetuses get cancer? Their cells divide rapidly, so surely they can make genetic errors and get cancer. Thank you in advance. Louis CH



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