Why trees are making extra nuts this year, human genetics and viral infections, and a seminal book on racism and identity

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Have you noticed the trees around you lately—maybe they seem extra nutty? It turns out this is a “masting” year, when trees make more nuts, seeds, and pinecones than usual. Science Staff Writer Elizabeth Pennisi joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the many mysteries of masting years.

Next, Producer Meagan Cantwell talks with Jean-Laurent Casanova, a professor at Rockefeller University and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, about his review article on why some people are more vulnerable to severe disease from viral infections. This is part of a special issue on inflammation in Science.

Finally, in this month’s book segment on race and science, host Angela Saini talks with author Beverly Daniel Tatum about her seminal 2003 book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race.

This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.

[Image: LensOfDan/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

[Alt text: Pile of acorns]

Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; Angela Saini

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