Inside Science Shorts [BBC Inside Science]


Evolutionary History of the Human Face20190523

We’ve been intensively studying the evolution of the face for decades to work out why we look the way we do. How much of our looks reflect adaptations that enhanced our survival and how much is just stuff that happened. Adam talks to Paul O’Higgins from York University, one of the authors of a big new review of the evolutionary history of the human face.

Adam Rutherford on the ever-changing human face.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Gene-edited Babies20190520

When the news broke last November that Chinese biophysicist He Jiankui had successfully edited the genomes of twin girls using the technique known as CRISPR-Cas9, scientists and the public were rightly outraged that such a procedure had taken place. Jiankui is currently being investigated by Chinese authorities for breaking legal and ethical guidelines on human genome editing. There have also been calls for a global moratorium on gene editing in the clinic. Yet rules are already in place that should stop this happening. Dr Helen O’Neill, a Lecturer in Reproductive and Molecular Genetics at University College London and BBC Science and Health Correspondent James Gallagher talk to Adam Rutherford what the gene editing technique involves and what the risks are of another rogue scientist following He Jiankui's unethical and dangerous lead.

Fallout from the CRISPR-baby scandal - what's next for human genome editing?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Testing Testosterone20190522

Gender and biology is one of the defining issues of our time, and one of the spheres in which that is most significant is sport. The case of 28-year-old South African athlete, Caster Semenya, the double Olympic gold medallist and three-time world champion over 800m, has highlighted the issues of competitive advantage and fairness in sport around differences of sexual development (or DSDs). Although the details have never been made public, Caster's biological advantage in terms of higher levels of testosterone, have come under scrutiny.
The International Associations of Athletics Federations, the IAAF, is implementing a rule in which the eligibility of female athletes is reliant on their having testosterone levels below 5 nanomoles per litre, a limit which would mean Caster couldn't compete without medical intervention.
Adam talks to leading scientists who study the role of sex hormones. These include Gerard Conway, Professor of Reproductive Endocrinology at the Institute for Women’s Health at University College London, who explains the latest research on testosterone and its putative effect on athletic performance. And as news of Caster's failure to persuade the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the CAS, to change the new rules, Dr Alun Williams, Director of Manchester Metropolitan University's Sports Genomics Laboratory, who appeared as an expert witness for the athlete, discusses this fiendishly difficult area.

The role of testosterone on athletic performance.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

The Science of Storytelling20190524

Science often doesn't have a nice, neat beginning, middle and end. But we impose beginnings, middles and ends onto the research so that all can follow - we give science narratives.
Writer Will Storr shows Adam Rutherford how the craft of creative writing engages deep psychological impulses for both the author and the reader and how storytelling is a vital part of the human condition.

Adam Rutherford on why humans are story-telling machines.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world