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Download the Nature Podcast 13 March 2024

In this episode:

00:45 Making a map of the human heart

The human heart consists of multiple, specialized structures that all work together to enable the organ to beat for a lifetime. But exactly which cells are present in each part of the heart has been difficult to ascertain. Now, a team has combined molecular techniques to create an atlas of the developing human heart at an individual cell level. Their atlas provides insights into how cell communities communicate and form different structures. They hope that this knowledge will ultimately help in the treatment of congenital heart conditions, often caused by irregular development of the heart.

Research article: Farah et al.

Nature video: Building a heart atlas

08:37 Research Highlights

Residue in ceramic vases suggests that ancient Mesoamerican peoples consumed tobacco as a liquid, and a wireless way to charge quantum batteries.

Research Highlight: Buried vases hint that ancient Americans might have drunk tobacco

Research Highlight: A better way to charge a quantum battery

11:11 The evolution of menopause in toothed whales

Menopause is a rare phenomenon, only known to occur in a few mammalian species. Several of these species are toothed whales, such as killer whales, beluga whales and narwhals. But why menopause evolved multiple times in toothed whales has been a long-standing research question. To answer it, a team examined the life history of whales with and without menopause and how this affected the number of offspring and ‘grandoffpsring’. Their results suggest that menopause allows older females to help younger generations in their families and improve their chances of survival.

Research Article: Ellis et al.

News and Views: Whales make waves in the quest to discover why menopause evolved

18:03 Briefing Chat

How the new generation of anti-obesity drugs could help people with HIV, and the study linking microplastics lodged in a key blood vessel with serious health issues.

Nature News: Blockbuster obesity drug leads to better health in people with HIV

Nature News: Landmark study links microplastics to serious health problems

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