Science in 2023: what to expect this year
In this episode, reporter Miryam Naddaf joins us to talk about the big science events to look out for in 2023. We'll hear about vaccines, multiple Moon missions and new therapeutics, to name but a few.
News: the science events to look out for in 2023
Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.
How to build a virus-proof cell
00:47 An edited genetic code that prevents viral infectionResearchers have engineered bacteria with synthetic genomes to be immune to viral infection. The team streamlined the bacteria’s genetic code, and re-engineered the protein-producing machinery to insert the wrong amino acid if used by a virus, effectively making the bacteria ‘speak’ a different language to any invaders. It’s hoped that this technique could be used to reduce unwanted sharing of genes from modified organisms.Research article: Nyerges et al.News & Views: Synthetic bacterial genome upgraded for viral defence and biocontainment07:42 Research HighlightsEstimating the methane output of an enormous wetland ecosystem, and how honeybees improve their dance moves with a little help from their elders.Research Highlight: Methane from one of Earth’s largest wetland complexes is set to soarResearch Highlight: Watch them waggle: bees dance better after lessons from elders10:02 How mini-MRI scanners could improve access to imagingMagnetic resonance imaging is a standard technique in clinical care. However many people, particularly those living in low- and middle-income countries have limited access to this technology. To address this, new types of smaller MRI scanners are being designed that are more affordable and practical for use in rural settings or small clinics. We hear from a researcher working on one of these systems about ways improve them and ensure they are available to all.Comment: Five steps to make MRI scanners more affordable to the world18:11 Briefing ChatWe discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, how researchers have developed embryos from two male mice and new claims of room-temperature superconductivity.News: The mice with two dads: scientists create eggs from male cellsQuanta Magazine: Room-Temperature Superconductor Discovery Meets With Resistance
How the Australian wildfires devastated the ozone layer
00:47 Wildfire smoke’s chemical composition enhances ozone depletionSmoke from the devastating Australian wildfires of 2019-2020 led to a reduction in ozone levels in the upper atmosphere, but it’s been unclear how. Now, a team proposes that smoke’s particulate matter can enhance the production of ozone depleting chemicals, matching satellite observations during the Australian fires. The results spark concerns that future wildfires, which are set to grow more frequent with ongoing climate change, will undo much of the progress towards restoration of the ozone layer.Research article: Solomon et al.News & Views: How wildfires deplete ozone in the stratosphere08:27 Research HighlightsA global analysis of bats reveals the species most likely to be hunted by humans, and the stem cells that allow deer antlers to regrow.Research Highlight: Big bats fly towards extinction with hunters in pursuitResearch Highlight: Mice grow ‘mini-antlers’ thanks to deers’ speedy stem cells10:53 Modelling food systems with ‘digital twins’Recent global crises have highlighted the fragility of the interconnected systems involved in getting food from farm to fork. However, siloed datasets have made it hard to predict what the exact impacts of these events will be. In a World View for Nature, researcher Zia Mehrabi argues that precise virtual models like those used in the aerospace industry should be developed for food systems. These so-called ‘digital twins’ could inform global food policy before emergencies unfold.World View: Sims-style ‘digital twin’ models can tell us if food systems will weather crises18:17 Briefing ChatWe discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, what the stray dogs of Chernobyl could reveal about the effects of chronic radiation exposure, and the debate surrounding the fate of Pablo Escobar’s ‘cocaine hippos’.News: What Chernobyl’s stray dogs could teach us about radiationNews: Pablo Escobar’s ‘cocaine hippos’ spark conservation rowSubscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.
How an increased heart rate could induce anxiety in mice
00:47 How a racing heart could trigger anxietyAnxiety can make the heart beat faster, but could the reverse be true as well? That question has been much debated, but hard to test. Now, a team has shown that artificially increasing a mouse’s heart rate can induce anxiety-like behaviours, and identified an area in the brain that appears to be a key mediator of this response. They hope that this knowledge could help to improve therapies for treating anxiety-related conditions in the future.Research article: Hsueh et al.News & Views: How an anxious heart talks to the brain08:32 Research HighlightsThe chance discovery of the smallest rock seen so far in the Solar System, and the first brain recording from a freely swimming octopus.Research Highlight: Asteroid photobombs JWST practice shotsResearch Highlight: How to measure the brain of an octopus10:57 How NASA’s DART mission beat expectiationsIn September 2022, NASA’s DART spacecraft smashed into a space rock known as Dimorphos, which orbits a near-Earth asteroid. The aim of the mission was to test whether asteroids could be redirected as a method to protect Earth against future impacts. This week, multiple papers have been published describing what researchers have learnt about the impact and its aftermath. Reporter Alex Witze joined us to round up the findings.News: Asteroid lost 1 million kilograms after collision with DART spacecraftResearch article: Thomas et al.Research article: Daly et al.Research article: Li et al.Research article: Cheng et al.Research article: Graykowski et al.Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.