Harvard Medical School – A 13-year international study in mice demonstrates that loss of epigenetic information, which influences how DNA is organized and regulated, can drive aging independently of changes to the genetic code itself.
It also shows that restoring the integrity of the epigenome reverses age-related symptoms.
Two million year-old DNA found in frozen soil has been sequenced, revealing a surprising picture of an ancient landscape. Extinct creatures including, unexpectedly, elephant-like mastadons turn out to be among the beasts roaming Greenland. Researcher Eske Willerslev explains how DNA found in the environment can be used to reconstruct the past as so-called ‘eDNA’ becomes a vital tool for palaeontologists.
On this week’s show: The U.S. government is partnering with academics to speed up the search for more than 80,000 soldiers who went missing in action, and how humans create their own “oxidation zone” in the air around them.
First up on the podcast this week, Tess Joosse is a former news intern here at Science and is now a freelance science journalist based in Madison, Wisconsin. Tess talks with host Sarah Crespi about attempts to use environmental DNA—free-floating DNA in soil or water—to help locate the remains of soldiers lost at sea. Also featured in this segment:
University of Wisconsin, Madison, molecular biologist Bridget Ladell Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution marine biologist Kirstin Meyer-Kaiser
Also this week, Nora Zannoni, a postdoctoral researcher in the atmospheric chemistry department at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, talks about people’s contributions to indoor chemistry. She chats with Sarah about why it’s important to go beyond studying the health effects of cleaning chemicals and gas stoves to explore how humans add their own bodies’ chemicals and reactions to the air we breathe. In a sponsored segment from Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office, Sean Sanders, director and senior editor for Custom Publishing, interviews Benedetto Marelli, associate professor at MIT, about winning the BioInnovation Institute & Science Prize for Innovation and how he became an entrepreneur.
The burgeoning field of “nutrigenomics” claims that the food we eat can alter our genetics. Dietitians, scientists and lifestyle companies have all hopped on the bandwagon.
Nutrigenomics (also known as nutritional genomics) is broadly defined as the relationship between nutrients, diet, and gene expression. The launch of the Human Genome Project in the 1990s and the subsequent mapping of human DNA sequencing ushered in the ‘era of big science’, jump-starting the field of nutrigenomics that we know today.