Download the Nature Podcast 10 July 2024

In this episode:

00:45 In situ editing of the gut microbiome

Researchers have developed a method to directly edit the genes of specific bacteria in the guts of live mice, something that has previously been difficult to accomplish due to the complexity of this environment. The tool was able to edit over 90% of an E. coli strain colonising mice guts, with other work showing the tool could be used to edit genes in pathogenic bacterial species and strains. It is hoped that with further research this technique could be adapted to work in humans, potentially altering bacteria associated with disease.

Nature News: This gene-editing tool alters bacteria in the gut of living mice

Research Article: Brödel et al.

06:56 Research Highlights

The ants that perform life-saving surgery on their nest-mates, and why amber’s scarcity led ancient artisans to make imitation jewellery.

Research Highlight: Ants amputate their nest-mates’ legs to save lives

Research Highlight: Fake jewellery from the Stone Age looks like the real deal

08:46 How is bone health maintained during breastfeeding?

During breastfeeding bones are stripped of calcium, while levels of oestrogen — which normally helps keep them healthy — drop off precipitously. This puts bones under tremendous stress, but why they don’t break down at this time has proved a mystery. Now, a team has identified a hormone produced in lactating mice that promotes the build up of bones, keeping them strong during milk production. Injecting this hormone into injured mice helped their bones heal faster, and the team hopes that their finding could ultimately help treat bone-weakening conditions like osteoporosis in humans.

Research Article: Babey et al.

17:55 Briefing Chat

This time, new clues about the neurological events that spark migraines, and a quick chemical method to recycle old clothes.

Nature News: What causes migraines? Study of ‘brain blackout’ offers clues

Nature News: Chemical recycling’: 15-minute reaction turns old clothes into useful molecules

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