Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

AUG 2017

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) is the world's most widely read biotech publication. It provides the R&D community with critical information on the tools, technologies, and trends that drive the biotech industry.

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For more information, visit our website (, click on New Products, and search through our comprehensive new products database. New Products 34 | AUGUST 2017 | | Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News Best Science Podcasts Links to the podcasts described above are posted on GEN's website, To suggest a podcast for Best Science Podcasts, please send a link to Taralyn Tan ( Key Strong Points Weak Points Excellent Ratings Very Good Good 9 – HHHH HHH HH The Poisoncast HHHH 9 Content for general audience and biologists, interesting topics – Small collection of episodes thus far The Poisoncast podcast offers a fascinating glimpse into the biology of things that can kill you. Covering all man- ners of toxins, venoms, and chemicals—from hemlock, to mustard gas, to Botox—host Scott Barnett provides both engaging historical anecdotes and detailed biolog- ical mechanisms in each approximately half-hour long episode. The episodes are smartly structured into two parts. The first part of each episode provides a general overview of the poison, including a nontechni- cal description of its biological mechanism of action. The second part provides a much more detailed explanation of the underlying biology, thereby providing general audience listeners the chance to end the podcast early if they don't wish to be inundated with scientific jargon. Sadly, there are only thirteen episodes thus far; however, it appears that we can expect new tales of deadly biology in the near future. Talking Machines HHHH 9 Hot topic, content for both general audience and experts – Technical portion precedes general interviews (may lose people) Created in 2015 by Katherine Gorman and Ryan Adams (and currently hosted by Gorman and Neil Lawrence of Amazon), the Talking Machines podcast takes listeners deep into the rapidly evolving world of machine learning, which is becoming ever more relevant to biology and biomedi- cal research. Now in its third season, Talking Machines has just over 40 episodes thus far, each of which runs approximately 30 to 50 minutes long. A typical episode is comprised of three components: a technical explanation of a specific topic related to machine learning, a user-submitted question, and an interview with an expert in the field. The technical explanations are just that, geared toward an audience with some preexisting foundational knowledge. However, don't let these dense introductory segments scare you off. The interviews in particular are accessible to a broader audience and explain—in easy-to-under- stand terms—many of the ways in which machine learning is being applied in academia and industry. The Infinite Monkey Cage HHHH 9 Informative and humorous, varied topics Produced by BBC Radio 4, The Infinite Monkey Cage presents thoughtful, humorous, and self-described "irreverent" takes on scien- tific topics as varied as quantum physics, climate change, the origins of life, and oceans. Hosted by physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince, each episode features scientists and other experts on the given topic. In addition to focusing on specific scientific topics like artificial intelligence, many of the podcast's episodes center on general topics of discussion like "What Makes Science a Science?" and "Popular Science." The "Trust Me, I'm a Scientist" episode, for example, offers an entertaining and thoughtful analysis of people's biases when faced with evidence that doesn't support their previously held views and phenomena like the placebo effect. There are currently 91 episodes, each of which runs between 25 and 50 minutes long. DNA Today: A Genetics Podcast HHHH 9 Highlights different aspects of genetics, geared toward a wide audience Featuring perhaps the grooviest theme song you'll encounter in a biology podcast, DNA Today is an educational and interesting pod- cast that covers various aspects of genetics such as basic research, medical implications, and biotechnology applications. Most epi- sodes take the form of interviews with scientists or genetics profes- sionals. However, there is some variety, as certain episodes feature news, educational lessons, and coverage of genetics-related events. (On the podcast's website each episode is clearly labeled according to its type—e.g., interview vs. news coverage.) With more than sixty episodes, the podcast remains active to this day. Typically, one or two new episodes—each approximately thirty minutes in length—are released each month. Geared toward a diverse audience, DNA Today will appeal to students, researchers, clinicians, and anyone with an interest in the practical applications of genetics in society today. Breaking Bio HHH 9 Engaging and relatable content, especially for early-career scientists – Mediocre sound/production quality The Breaking Bio podcast employs a roundtable format to discuss vari- ous topics related to biology, science in general, and the academic life. Videos have been uploaded to Breaking Bio's YouTube channel. The latest episode premiered in February 2016, so the podcast has seem- ingly concluded. However, with exactly 100 episodes from which to choose, the interested listener still has a great deal of content to enjoy. Most of the episodes clock in at about half an hour. The hour-long final episode offers a riveting interview with Dr. Doug Emlen. A professor at the University of Montana, Dr. Emlen studies "animal weaponry"—ad- aptations like horns or antlers that are used in battles over resources and potential mates. Many of the episodes feature graduate students and postdocs, thereby providing perspectives from various stages along the academic journey. Evolution Talk HHH 9 Easy to understand, educational The now-completed Evolution Talk podcast by Rick Coste provides close to eighty educational episodes that introduce topics on evolu- tion and natural selection. Produced from 2014 to 2016, the podcast clearly explains concepts like epigenetics and genetic drift in easy-to- digest episodes that are, on average, approximately fifteen minutes long. Though mostly narrated by Coste, the podcasts are still acousti- cally engaging, using sound effects and audio snippets to enhance the presentation. The content is accessible to a general audience with little-to-no background knowledge; however, even experienced scientists will still find the historical anec- dotes and material interesting. In general, the episodes can be enjoyed out of sequence. When Coste refers to a concept previously discussed in an earlier episode, he briefly summarizes it for those new listeners.

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