Itai Yanai: The Society of Genes

The Dissenter | 28 October 2021 | 1h 05m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Itai Yanai about his book The Society of Genes, co-authored with Martin Lercher. Discusses the “selfish gene” metaphor; the randomness of mutations; how genes cooperate and compete with one another; pleiotropy and polygenic traits and what they tell us about how genes work; the evolution of sex; what we can learn about genetics by studying cancer; genetic diversity and how to deal with genetic ancestry in medicine; epigenetics; gene editing; and some unanswered questions in genetics.

Herbert Gintis on Game Theory, Evolution, and Social Rationality

Sean Carroll’s Mindscape | 13 September 2021 | 1h 29m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Herbert Gintis arguing that game theory, together with an expanded model of rational behaviour (that includes social as well as personally selfish interests) provides an understanding of human behaviour that integrates ideas from biology, economics, psychology, and sociology.

Paul Nurse on What Is Life?

Books on Pod with Trey Elling | 9 February 2021 | 0h 56m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Sir Paul Nurse about his book What Is Life?. Discusses five key ideas of biology along with details about each: the cell, the gene, evolution by natural selection, life as chemistry, and life as information. Also considers some current challenges and whether mankind is up to the task.

Fungi

In Our Time | 15 February 2018 | 0h 48m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Discusses fungi: organisms which are not plants or animals but a kingdom of their own. The millions of species of fungi play a crucial role in ecosystems, enabling plants to obtain nutrients and causing material to decay. Without fungi, life as we know it simply would not exist. They also make possible the production of bread, wine and certain antibiotics.

Evolutionary Arms Race

Origin Stories | 29 April 2016 | 0h 21m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with Pardis Sabeti, a computational biologist who uses maths and computers to look into the genomes of humans and infectious microbes to see how they are evolving. Summarises the ideas in her book Outbreak Culture: The Ebola Crisis and the Next Epidemic. Sabeti was named one of Time Magazine’s People of the Year in 2014 for her role in the fight against Ebola.

Photosynthesis

In Our Time | 15 May 2014 | 0h 46m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss photosynthesis, the process by which green plants and many other organisms use sunlight to synthesise organic molecules. Photosynthesis arose very early in evolutionary history and has been a crucial driver of life on Earth. In addition to providing most of the food consumed by organisms on the planet, it is also responsible for maintaining atmospheric oxygen levels, and is thus almost certainly the most important chemical process ever discovered.

Echolocation

In Our Time | 21 June 2018 | 0h 51m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss how some bats, dolphins and other animals emit sounds at high frequencies to explore their environments, rather than sight. Bats that echolocate have a range of frequencies for different purposes and techniques for preventing themselves from becoming deafened by their own sounds. Some prey have evolved ways of detecting when bats are emitting high frequencies in their direction, and some fish have adapted to detect the sounds dolphins use to find them.