Stories where genes and genomes are key to solving energy and environment challenges. Hear diverse voices in science talk about their groundbreaking research to better understand — and harness — the superpowers encoded in plants, fungi, microalgae, environmental viruses, and bacteria to contribute to a more sustainable world. Join host Alison F. Takemura, PhD, for regular episodes to get an intimate look at the life around us.
Genome Insider S2 Episode 3: Better Living Through Bioenergy
Biofuels and bioproducts are a way to kick our addiction to fossil fuels. In this episode, we get a peek into how scientists Aindrila Mukhopadhyay and Steve Singer are harnessing the versatile bacterium Pseudomonas putida to break down biomass and help bring about a more sustainable, bio-based economy. They conduct research at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), a JGI partner and one of the four US Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Centers. Find more info on this episode, including the transcript, at https://jgi.doe.gov/genome-insider-s2ep3-better-living-through-bioenergy/
Cracking the Secrets of the Diatom’s Shell
Diatoms, a group of tiny algae, are also known as “living opals” because of the strange, beautiful properties of their silica shells. But what genes are responsible for such mesmerizing exteriors? Setsuko Wakao and Kris Niyogi, biologists at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, aim to find out. Find more info on this episode, including the transcript, at https://jgi.doe.gov/genome-insider-s2ep2-cracking-the-secrets-of-the-diatoms-shell/.
Exploring the Diversity of the American Prairie’s Switchgrass
A tall native plant of the North American prairie, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) has long been a tantalizing potential biofuel feedstock. But switchgrass has a complex genome and, as a species, encompasses dizzying diversity. So, a team of scientists made an ambitious plan to link the plant’s diverse traits — height, biomass, hardiness to cold, etc. — to its genes. The undertaking took shovels, trucks — and more than a decade. With the results just published in the journal Nature, listen to the episode for a romp through their switchgrass story. Find more info on this episode, including the transcript, at https://jgi.doe.gov/genome-insider-s2ep1-exploring-diversity-of-american-prairie-switchgrass/.
The Soil Blooms Green
Every fall, a mysterious green growth appears on farmers’ fields: a microbial community that might be quietly improving the soil. Penn State researchers Mary Ann Bruns and Terry Bell are digging in to understand how. Find more info on this episode, including the transcript, at http://jgi.doe.gov/genome-insider-episode-9-soil-blooms-green. We hope you enjoy this last episode of Season 1! Stay tuned for Season 2, coming in 2021.
A Plantiful Future: Xiaohan Yang
Can plants help humans attain a renewable energy future? Can they help lock away more carbon? Xiaohan Yang, a scientist at Oakridge National Laboratory, believes they can. And, what’s more, that using gene editing technology to conscientiously mix traits of different plant species will help us get there. Find more info on this episode, including the transcript, here: jgi.doe.gov/genome-insider-episode-8-plantiful-future-xiaohan-yang-ornl.
Decoding Yellowstone’s Microbial Mats
Life as we know it wouldn’t exist without cyanobacteria; they began oxygenating Earth over two billion years ago. A team of researchers set out to Yellowstone National Park to study how cyanobacteria are living, communally, in microbial mats. Along the way, they’ve encountered surprises, adopted new technologies, and made a few discoveries about the microbial mat denizens. Find more info on the episode, including the transcript, here: https://jgi.doe.gov/genome-insider-episode-7-decoding-yellowstone-microbial-mats/
Actually talks the science!
This is a great podcast. Rather than just some random man reminiscing with another rando, the host talks actual science where I have to look things up and thereby actually learn something. I love it!
Very professional. No bragging, no insults. A real intellectual delight.
Thank you for sharing this work!!