Science writer Carl Zimmer talks to Geneticist Christopher Mason at Weill Cornell Medicine in NYC about his mission to study the DNA of astronauts. He’s part of a team of scientists who are examining blood and other samples from astronaut Scott Kelly, who recently spent 340 days aboard the International Space Station. They’re looking at how life in space alters astronauts at a molecular level. They hope their discoveries can help protect astronauts on long-distance trips, such as the proposed mission to Mars.
Importantly, they will also be looking at epigenetic differences (relevant, since epigenetics have been a popular topic lately).
Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory, Hertfordshire, UK
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
For their mechanistic studies on DNA repair. (As a Turkish chemistry major from UNC, huge shoutout to Sancar for this accomplishment… perhaps it’s a sign for me?)
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 is awarded to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar for having mapped, at a molecular level, how cells repair damaged DNA and safeguard the genetic information. Their work has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions and is, for instance, used for the development of new cancer treatments.
Out drinking with a few biologists, Jad finds out about something called CRISPR. No, it’s not a robot or the latest dating app, it’s a method for genetic manipulation that is rewriting the way we change DNA. Scientists say they’ll someday be able to use CRISPR to fight cancer and maybe even bring animals back from the dead. Or, pretty much do whatever you want. Jad and Robert delve into how CRISPR does what it does, and consider whether we should be worried about a future full of flying pigs, or the simple fact that scientists have now used CRISPR to tweak the genes of human embryos.