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Fact Check Your Feed, Climate And Fungi, Cells Solve A Maze. September 4, 2020, Part 2

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Can Fungus Survive Climate Change? One of the most extensive global networks for sharing information and moving around essential nutrients is hidden from us—but it’s right below our feet.  Networks of fungi often connect trees and plants to one another. But scientists are just starting to untangle what these fungal connections look like, and how important they are. Mycologist Christopher Fernandez explains how these fungal systems might be affected by climate change—and what that means for the entire forest ecosystem. A Cellular Race Through A Maze Cells are the basic building blocks of life. Our bodies are made up of trillions and trillions of them, and they all serve a specific purpose. But these tiny workers don’t always stay in the same place. Many move around the body—whether they’re creating a developing embryo, helping the immune system, or, distressingly, spreading cancer.   A team of scientists in the UK recently set up an experiment to learn more about how cells move. They put dirt-dwelling amoebas and mouse cancer cells at the start of a maze, to see how well each would migrate.  While amoebas proved speedier than their cancerous counterparts, Luke Tweedy, a postdoctoral researcher at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow, Scotland, says the cancer cells were surprisingly mobile.  Tweedy joins Ira to talk about what his team learned about cancer cell movement, and explains why recreating a famous English hedge maze proved to be a little too difficult for his cellular subjects.  Fact Check Your Feed: Are Kids Really COVID-19 ‘Super Spreaders’? Late last month, as parents and teachers were gearing up for an unusual and stressful start to the school year, conflicting media reports of coronavirus transmission among children started populating our news feeds. One headline proclaimed, “New study suggests children may be COVID-19 ‘super spreaders,’” while other articles cited researchers saying the opposite. But the disagreement didn’t stop there. Some outlets reported that very few preschoolers are catching the coronavirus, while others cited a study that suggests children younger than 5 may harbor up to 100 times as much of the virus as adults. Angela Rasmussen, associate professor in the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, joins Ira to talk about the data behind these stories in a round of Fact Check Your Feed. She also explains new testing guidelines issued by the CDC, and a misleading report on the coronavirus death rate. 

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