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Nature Podcast


The Nature Podcast brings you the best stories from the world of science each week. We cover everything from astronomy to zoology, highlighting the most exciting research from each issue of the Nature journal. We meet the scientists behind the results and provide in-depth analysis from Nature's journalists and editors. See for privacy and opt-out information.

The Nature Podcast brings you the best stories from the world of science each week. We cover everything from astronomy to zoology, highlighting the most exciting research from each issue of the Nature journal. We meet the scientists behind the results and provide in-depth analysis from Nature's journalists and editors. See for privacy and opt-out information.


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The Nature Podcast brings you the best stories from the world of science each week. We cover everything from astronomy to zoology, highlighting the most exciting research from each issue of the Nature journal. We meet the scientists behind the results and provide in-depth analysis from Nature's journalists and editors. See for privacy and opt-out information.




How galaxies could exist without dark matter

00:47 The mystery of the missing dark matter Dark matter makes up most of the matter in the Universe, and is thought to be needed for galaxies to form. But four years ago, astronomers made a perplexing, and controversial discovery: two galaxies seemingly devoid of dark matter. This week the team suggests that a cosmic collision may explain how these, and a string of other dark-matter-free galaxies, could have formed. Research article: van Dokkum et al. News and Views: Giant collision...


Coronapod: 'viral ghosts' support idea that SARS-CoV-2 reservoirs could be behind long COVID

Millions of people around the world have been left managing the complex and amorphous syndrome that is long COVID. But the underlying cause of this myriad of symptoms is not clear. One hypothesis is that the virus is able to find a safe haven in the body from which it can bide its time and potentially re-emerge - a viral reservoir. Now researchers studying long COVID have found evidence of SARS-CoV-2 in a series of organs around the body, most notably the gut, months after the infection...


Retinas revived after donor's death open door to new science

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...


Swapping in a bit of microbial 'meat' has big eco-gains

00:46 How a move to microbial protein could affect emissions It’s well understood that the production of meat has large impacts on the environment. This week, a team show that replacing 20% of future meat consumption with protein derived from microbes could reduce associated emissions and halve deforestation rates. Research article: Humpenöder et al News and Views: Mycoprotein produced in cell culture has environmental benefits over beef 08:21 Research Highlights How saltwater...


Coronapod: COVID and diabetes, what the science says

The true disability cost of the COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown, but more and more studies are adding to the list of potential fallout from even mild COVID 19 infection. In this episode of Coronapod we discuss a massive association study which links COVID-19 cases with an increase in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. We delve into the numbers to ask how big the risk might be? Whether any casual relationship can be drawn from this association? And what might be in store from future...


How virtual meetings can limit creative ideas

00:56 How video calls can reduce creativity As a result of the pandemic, workers around the world have become accustomed to meeting colleagues online. To find out if this switch from face-to-face meetings came at a cost to creativity, a team compared the number of ideas generated by workers collaborating either online, or in-person. They showed that people meeting virtually produced fewer creative ideas than those working face-to-face, and suggest that when it comes to idea generation maybe...


Audio long-read: The quest to prevent MS — and understand other post-viral diseases

Results from a huge epidemiological study found that infection by the Epstein-Barr virus increases the risk of developing multiple sclerosis 32-fold. This result, combined with emerging mechanistic insights into how the virus triggers brain damage, are raising the prospect of treating or preventing MS. These advances come at a time when researchers are more interested than ever in what happens in the months and years following a viral infection, and highlights the issues untangling the...


We could still limit global warming to just 2˚C — but there's an 'if'

00:46 What COP26 promises will do for climate At COP26 countries made a host of promises and commitments to tackle global warming. Now, a new analysis suggests these pledges could limit warming to below 2˚C — if countries stick to them. BBC News: Climate change: COP26 promises will hold warming under 2C 03:48 Efficiency boost for energy storage solution Storing excess energy is a key obstacle preventing wider adoption of renewable power. One potential solution has been to store this...


Coronapod: Infected immune cells hint at cause of severe COVID

Since the beginning of the pandemic there has been a debate amongst researchers about whether the body's immune cells can themselves be infected by SARS-CoV-2. Now two new studies show that they can - and what's more, the work has revealed a new mechanism for the massive inflammatory response seen in severe COVID. In this episode of Coronapod, we dig into the papers, asking why it has taken so long to get an answer to this question? How immune cell infection could lead to severe disease? And...


Why do naked mole rats live as long as giraffes?

00:54 How Mammals’ mutation rates affects their lifespan For biologists, a long-standing question has been why some animals live longer than others. This week a team have attempted to answer this, by measuring the rates that different animal species accumulate mutations. They show that longer-lived animals acquire mutations at a slower rate, which helps to explain why cancer risk does not scale with lifespan. Research article: Cagan et al. News and Views: Mutational clocks tick...


Five years in the coldest fridge in the known Universe

00:46 The very cool experiment looking for a proposed particle Physics tells us that when matter is created, antimatter should be as well. But while the Universe is full of matter, there’s surprisingly little antimatter to be found. To try and understand this imbalance, a team have built a detector kept just above absolute zero which they are using to look for a hypothesised, ultra-rare type of particle decay that could create matter without antimatter. Research article: The CUORE...


Audio long-read: A more-inclusive genome project aims to capture all of human diversity

While current maps of the human genome provide researchers with a wealth of information, many argue that they do not adequately capture humanity’s vast diversity. Now, a team are trying to build a more complete and representative map that shows the varieties of sequence that can be found in different populations. However, given the failings of other projects, some geneticists focused on the needs of Indigenous communities are wary of the initiative. This is an audio version of our Feature:...


Winding roads could make you a better navigator

00:47 Your ability to find your way may depend on where you grew up Researchers have long been trying to understand why some humans are better at navigating than others. This week, researchers show that where someone grew up plays an important role in their ability to find their way; the more winding and disorganised the layouts of your childhood were, the better navigator you’ll be later in life. Research article: Coutrot et al. 08:57 Research Highlights How boas can squeeze without...


Milky Way's origin story revealed by 250,000 stars

In this episode: 00:45 Accurately ageing stars reveals the Milky Way’s history To understand when, and how, the Milky Way formed, researchers need to know when its stars were born. This week, a team of astronomers have precisely aged nearly a quarter of a million stars, revealing more about the sequence of events that took place as our galaxy formed. Research article: Xiang and Rix News and Views: A stellar clock reveals the assembly history of the Milky Way 09:53 Research...


Coronapod: How vaccine complacency is plaguing 'COVID zero' strategies

A handful of states around the world have pursued 'COVID zero' strategies. Through a combination of intensive lockdowns, travel restrictions and comprehensive test and trace systems, regions like Tonga, New Zealand, Taiwan, mainland China and Western Australia managed to keep the virus at bay. But now many of these countries are facing new outbreaks on a scale they have not yet seen, and it is being driven in part by vaccine hesitancy. In this episode of Coronapod we discuss how a successful...


The coin toss of Alzheimer's inheritance

Marty Reiswig is fit and healthy, but every two weeks he is injected with the experimental drug gantenerumab and has monthly MRI scans. He submits to this because a rare genetic mutation runs in his family that predisposes them to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. We spoke to him about his experience on the trial, and why he chose to continue trialling the drug even after formal clinical trials were discontinued. Produced and narrated by Lorna Stewart. More on this story: News Feature:...


The vest that can hear your heartbeat

00:45 A flexible, wearable, fabric microphone Inspired by the ear, a team of researchers have developed an acoustic fibre that can be woven into fabrics to create a sensitive microphone. This fabric microphone is capable of detecting human speech and heartbeats, and the team think it could be used to develop new, wearable sensors for long-term health monitoring. Research article: Yan et al. News and Views: A smart sensor that can be woven into everyday life 08:38 Research Highlights How...


The AI that deciphers ancient Greek graffiti

00:46 The AI helping historians read ancient texts Researchers have developed an artificial intelligence that can restore and date ancient Greek inscriptions. They hope that it will help historians by speeding up the process of reconstructing damaged texts. Research article: Assael et al. News and Views: AI minds the gap and fills in missing Greek inscriptions Video: The AI historian: A new tool to decipher ancient texts Ithaca platform 08:53 Research Highlights Pollinators prefer...


Coronapod: why stopping COVID testing would be a mistake

As many countries start to ease or even remove COVID restrictions entirely, there are growing concerns from researchers that this will lead governments to take their eye off the ball and crucially stop collecting and reporting vital data. In this episode of Coronapod we discuss calls from two researchers to improve COVID testing and data reporting. What do they want done differently? Why does it matter? And what could such changes mean for the future of the pandemic and public health more...


COVID stimulus spending failed to deliver on climate promises

00:47 G20 nations fail to cut emissions in COVID stimulus packages The G20 economies spent $14 trillion dollars on recovery packages to escape the global recession driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many governments made pledges to deliver emissions reductions as part of these packages. This week, a team of researchers have analysed the spending to see if these promises were kept. Comment: G20’s US$14-trillion economic stimulus reneges on emissions pledges 09:34 Research Highlights An...