Listen to the latest from the world of science, with Shamini Bundell and Benjamin Thompson.

In this episode:

00:57 Reviving retinas to understand eyes

Research efforts to learn more about diseases of the human eye have been hampered as these organs degrade rapidly after death, and animal eyes are quite different to those from humans. To address this, a team have developed a new method to revive retinas taken from donors shortly after their death. They hope this will provide tissue for new studies looking into the workings of the human eye and nervous system.

Research article: Abbas et al.

08:05 Research Highlights

A technique that simplifies chocolate making yields fragrant flavours, and 3D imaging reveals some of the largest-known Native American cave art.

Research Highlight: How to make a fruitier, more floral chocolate

Research Highlight: Cramped chamber hides some of North America’s biggest cave art

10:54 Did life emerge in an ‘RNA world’?

How did the earliest biochemical process evolve from Earth’s primordial soup? One popular theory is that life began in an ‘RNA world’ from which proteins and DNA evolved. However, this week a new paper suggests that a world composed of RNA alone is unlikely, and that life is more likely to have begun with molecules that were part RNA and part protein.

Research article: Müller et al.

News and Views: A possible path towards encoded protein synthesis on ancient Earth

17:52 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, the ‘polarised sunglasses’ that helped astronomers identify an ultra-bright pulsar, and how a chemical in sunscreen becomes toxic to coral.

Nature: A ‘galaxy’ is unmasked as a pulsar — the brightest outside the Milky Way

Nature: A common sunscreen ingredient turns toxic in the sea — anemones suggest why

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