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RNA Editing Controversy: Benchtalk, Episode 6

In this episode, researchers Joseph Pickrell from Harvard Medical School and Zhiyu Peng from the BGI about the extent of RNA editing in the human transciptome.

Also, in our science roundtable with science writers Sarah C.P. Williams and Ashley Yeager, we discuss RNA editing techniques, a recent lawsuit regarding research misconduct whistle-blowing, and whether or not the science media should cover misconduct stories.


Featured in this Episode
Joseph Pickrell is a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School.
Zhiyu Peng is vice president of the Research and Cooperation Division at the BGI, Shenzhen.
Sarah C.P. Williams is a freelance science writer based out of Kailua, Hawaii. You can follow her latest work at
Ashley Yeager works in the Office of News and Communications at Duke University and is also a freelance science writer. You can follow her at
Andrew S. Wiecek is news editor at BioTechniques and host of the monthly podcast BenchTalk.You can follow him at
Episode Notes & Links

Joseph Pickrell Interview

  • At Harvard Medical School, Pickrell is a postdoctoral fellow in David Reich's lab.
  • In March 2012, Pickrell and colleagues published a technical comment in Science on Li et al.'s paper that described widespread differences in RNA and DNA sequencing in humans.
  • Almost immediately after the Li et al. paper was published, Pickrell published a post on the blog Genomes Unzipped where he pointed out flaws in Li et al.'s techniques.
Zhiyu Peng Interview
  • At the BGI, Peng is vice president of research and cooperation.
  • In February 2012, Peng and colleagues reported in a paper published in Nature BioTechnology that RNA/DNA differences were mostly A-to-I and outisde protein coding regions.
Science Roundtable
  • In February 2012, Sarah C. P. Williams wrote about Peng et al.'s paper in Nature BioTechnology in a news article for BioTechniques.
  • In March 2012, Ashley Yeager reported in a news article for BioTechniques on how a team found that sigma factors helped regualte RNA expression in bacteria.
  • In August 2012, Williams reported in a news article that a former UC Irvine assistant professor has filed a suit against the university claiming that they did not protect her when she reported misconduct in a colleague's research.
  • In August 2012, researchers reported in a paper published in Nature that the rate of mutations that could lead to disease increases as male humans get older.

Podcast Date: August 31 2012 Run Time:
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