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OU on the BBC: BBC Inside Science – Bees, whales, pain and gay genes

Updated Thursday, 20th February 2014

This week: bee diseases, whale-spotting questions, epigenetics of pain and genes for sexual preference.

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Nurse gives injection to woman, New Orleans, 1941. Copyright free  image Icon Copyright free: Works Progress Administration photograph, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons In BBC Inside Science, Adam Rutherford and guests illuminate the mysteries and challenge the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.

On this week's programme:

  • Bees: Nearly all bees in the UK suffering serious declines. They're mostly threatened by habitat and land-use change. But disease also plays a part. Adam Rutherford talks to Professor Mark Brown about new work he's done looking at the evidence of diseases harboured by honeybees, spilling over into wild bumblebees.
  • Pain and epigenetics: Marnie goes to Kings College to watch identical twins being tested for pain tolerance. The study is to gain insight into the genetic components of pain perception. One area which is fascinating researchers, like Professor Tim Spector, is the role of epigenetics in how we process pain. Our epigenome is a system that changes the way our DNA is interpreted. Genes can be dialled up or down, like a dimmer switch, by adding little chemical tags to the DNA. These chemical tags, unlike DNA, are changeable, in response to the changing environment. So could the way we live affect the pain we feel?
  • Whales from Space: More listeners' questions, this time, asking whether surveys using images from satellites to see whales underwater, could be hijacked by whale hunters? Peter Fretwell from the British Antarctic Survey has the answer.
  • Genetics of sexual preference: Media is all of a twitter this week over unpublished work recently revealed on work looking for genes related to homosexuality. We hear from Professor Tim Spector on the topic, and Adam talks to Professor Steve Jones about the science.

Listen to Inside Science

Tune in to BBC Radio 4 on Thursday 20 February at 16:30 to listen to this week's programme. More information and a link to listen again later will be available from the BBC's Inside Science pages.





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