Saturday, December 14, 2019

Talking Biotech 217 - Precision Medicine


Can genetic sequence data be used to guide diagnosis and therapy?  Scientists are finding that analysis of genetic information can reveal important information about drug sensitivity, probability of disease development, and other health risks and benefits.  Dr. Julie Johnson describes the use of genomics in the next wave of precision medicine, describing how the future of health care will benefit from understanding patients at the molecular level. 

Listen to this episode here

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Talking Biotech 216 - Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria in Plants


Plants need nitrogen to live, so farmers provide this nutrient through fertilization.  However, nitrogen is a gas that makes up the majority of air, but plants can't use it in this gaseous form. A conversion needs to take place to "fix" nitrogen, binding into a plant-usable form. This has been done using the Haber-Bosch process, an industrial form of nitrogen fixation that greatly expanded agriculture.  This process requires energy in production and transportation, and runoff can pollute water resources. Azotic Technologies has identified a bacterial species that inhabits the plant, and fixes atmospheric nitrogen. This could represent at least a partial way to supplement the need for exogenous nitrogen application.  

Listen to this episode here. 

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Talking Biotech 215 - The GE Crop Ban in South Australia


While Australian farmers have adopted GE crops with great economic and environmental success, the government of the state of South Australia has imposed a moratorium on their use.  The ban has been in place since 2005, and farmers in the region need to rely on more intensive methods of weed control and experience lower yields.  Recent political changes sought to reverse the ban.  Today's podcast features Caroline Rhodes, the CEO of Grain Producers South Australia, and discusses the unfair and burdensome rules that harm the state's producers. 

Listen to this episode here. 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Talking Biotech 214 - Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning


Massive repositories of biological data have been generated over the last two decades. While humans can target certain goals to derive from the data, computational tools can oftentimes find what humans cannot, and do so without the inherent bias of the human brain. Dr. Gabe Musso from BioSymmetrics expertly describes artificial intelligence and machine learning, its limitations and misconceptions. 

Listen to this episode here. 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Talking Biotech 213 - Egg Production and GE Ethics


New laying chickens are constantly produced to satisfy the demand for eggs. Unfortunately, males and females hatch, only the females are needed for egg production.  The males are destroyed shortly after birth, which leads to ethical and practical questions. Dr. Nigel Urwin describes efforts to use biotechnology to allow separation of eggs containing male or female embryos. The technology may change perceptions of genetic engineering and egg production.

This episode may be heard here.  

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Talking Biotech 212 - Michele Payn, Food Bullying


Michele Payn is  a much sought after keynote speaker and writer, and a strong advocate for agriculture.  She has completed the third book, this one dedicated to the pervasive problem of shaming and criticism around our personal food choices.  Listen to the whole story here. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Talking Biotech 211 - CAR-T Cells: Engineered to Attack Cancer

This week's podcast is pure gold, a great interview with Dr. Joe Fraietta from University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Fraietta discusses CAR-T cells, human immune cells genetically engineered to attack specific cancers.  It is a great primer on a new therapy that is changing cancer treatment.