Counting analysis rodents, a doable trigger for irritable bowel syndrome, and spitting cobras | Science


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Online news editor David Grimm is discussing a controversial new paper with host Sarah Crespi that estimates how many rodents are used in research in the US each year. While there is no official figure, the paper suggests that there may be more than 100 million rats and mice housed in research facilities in the country – doubling or even tripling some earlier estimates.

Next, employee Jennifer Couzin-Frankel talks to Sarah about a new theory behind what causes irritable bowel syndrome – that it may be a localized allergic reaction in the gut.

Sarah also chats with Taline Kazandjian, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Snakebite Research & Interventions in Liverpool, UK, about how the venom from spitting cobras evolved to cause maximum pain and why these snakes may have developed the same defense mechanism times.

This week’s episode was produced with the help of Podigy.

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Download a transcript (PDF).