Science Podcasts

Naked Genetics episode

Thu, 14th Feb 2013

The wonderful world of RNA

RNA polymerase (c) Alterganon

You’ve probably heard of DNA, but what do you know about RNA? As well as being the molecule that shuttles information from our genes into our cells, it also plays a huge number of other roles in all cells, from bacteria and viruses to tiny worms, plants and humans. Plus we delve into quadruplex DNA, wonder about the wolf genome, speculate on skin colour and our gene of the month has a literary twist.

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In this edition of Naked Genetics

Full Transcript

  • 01:07 - Dr Julie Claycomb - Understanding RNA

    Everyone’s heard of DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid to give it its full name - the blueprint of life that encodes the information that tells our cells when to grow, what to be and when to die. But there’s another important player in the world of molecular biology, and that’s RNA, ...

  • 08:26 - Quadruplex DNA

    The first thing we’ve picked out is a really interesting story about quadruplex DNA which sounds like this big new, exciting thing.

  • 11:39 - Dog domestication

    Researchers have used genetics to answer questions about how dogs may have become domesticated

  • 15:09 - Gene mutation in melanoma

    Writing in the journal Science, German researchers have revealed a previously unknown genetic route to melanoma - the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

  • 16:25 - Gender gene clues to heart disease

    As we approach Valentine’s day, much is made of the difference between the behaviour of men’s and women’s hearts in the romantic sense. But in purely biological terms there’s little difference between these organs, except for small differences in the electrical signals they prod...

  • 17:33 - Storing stories in DNA

    And finally, enormous library archives of magnetic tape or other media could one day be a thing of the past if a new data storage technique takes off - storing information encoded in DNA.

  • 18:41 - Dr Susan Gottesman - Bacterial RNAs

    Susan Gottesman from the Centre for Cancer Research in Bethesda, Maryland, is an expert on bacterial RNAs.

  • 22:05 - Professor Joan Steitz - Viral RNAs

    Joan Steitz at Yale University has worked on RNA for more than three decades, and specialises in the small RNAs produced by viruses. I started by asking her how RNA research has grown in importance over recent years.

  • 25:27 - Why are there different skin colors?

    Does human migration have something to do with skin color change? My main question is why are there different skin colors, how did it happen?

  • 28:19 - Gene of the month - Amontillado

    And finally, our gene of the month is Amontillado, a gene with a rather macabre twist. Horror fans may know 19th century writer Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Cask of Amontillado”, where an unwitting victim is lured into a wine cellar with the promise of a precious vintage sherry,...

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