Topic: Genetics

Mosquitos

Current Event October 19, 2018

Debate: Should Mosquitoes Be Genetically Modified to Self-Destruct?

Life Science Genetics DNA Cells Biology

Malaria is a devastating disease transmitted by mosquitoes, affecting millions each year. A team of scientists has been experimenting with genetic engineering that would cause the mosquito population carrying malaria to destroy itself. Listen to hear how the genetic engineering process works and how different groups are responding to the controversial experiment, and then debate: Should mosquitoes be genetically modified to self-destruct?

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Science High School

Clinical Trials Don’t Reflect the Diversity of America

Life Science Race Gender Genetics

American doctors rely on clinical trials to determine which drugs to use in treatment. Researchers have found that clinical trials have not been effective in creating drugs for America’s diverse population. When clinical trials are too homogeneous, they can miss important potential discoveries. Patients who are diverse ethnically and racially can respond differently to medications, leading to dire consequences in some cases. Listen to learn how a lack of diversity in clinical trials affects patients and how researchers are trying to fix it.

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Current Event May 5, 2017

Debate: Should We Make Changes to Human DNA?

Life Science Genetics Biotechnology

Scientists say that in the future they will be able to make modifications to human DNA that can be passed down to subsequent generations. These same scientists say that such genetic modifications should only occur in cases of serious disease or disability and must be tightly regulated. However, there is fear around the idea of scientists altering the course of evolution and creating “genetically superior” humans. Listen to learn more about developments in genetic modification and debate: Should we make changes to human DNA?

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Current Event April 5, 2017

Fixing Gender-Bias in Animal Testing

Life Science Gender Genetics

Traditionally, medical animal testing has been conducted primarily on male subjects. Several reasons have been cited, such as complications in pregnant animals and difficulties creating controlled experiments for both genders. Now, the National Institutes of Health is requiring the studies it funds to test male and female subjects. This new requirement is a response to inequalities in health outcomes between men and women. Many researchers believe that the higher incidence of negative reactions to medication found in women is a result of the gender bias in the testing phase. Listen to learn more about gender bias in animal testing.

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Current Event September 15, 2016

A Birthday for Sheep Clones

Life Science Animals Engineering Genetics

Dolly the sheep became famous two decades ago for being the first mammal to be successfully cloned. Today, four sheep that came from the same cells as Dolly have reached their ninth birthday. This is significant to scientists because it shows that it is possible for cloned mammals to live healthy lives into old age. Listen to hear more about this encouraging milestone for cloned animals.

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Current Event August 16, 2016

Genetic Engineering is Controversial but May Stop Zika

Life Science Genetics

Scientists have come up with a new technique to modify the genes of plants, insects and animals. This “gene drive” technique may be able to stop the spread of diseases that insects carry, such as Malaria and Zika, but also has some dangers. For example, releasing genetically modified species could lead to an unbalanced ecosystem, destroy other species, or spread other diseases. Listen to the story to hear more about why this technique is controversial.

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Why mammoths got wholly

Science Middle School

Why Woolly Mammoths Have Thick Furry Coats

Animals Genetics DNA

Woolly mammoths were large, elephant-like creatures that lived tens of thousands of years ago, during the last great ice age. The thick, furry coat is one of several traits that gave woolly mammoths an advantage in a very cold environment. Today, the closest biological relative is the Asian elephant, which prefers warmer climates. Scientists were curious about the genetic variations between the woolly mammoth and the Asian elephant, and what might account for the differences between the two species. In this audio story, we hear from a scientist who studied the DNA from the extinct mammoth and compared it to its contemporary descendant. Listen to learn more about what researchers discovered.

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Current Event May 6, 2016

Debate: Are Genetically Modified Animals Safe to Eat?

Life Science Genetics

A team of scientists has genetically engineered pigs to be resistant to a widespread disease. Science can engineer an animal’s DNA to introduce desirable traits and get rid of negative traits or sickness. These pigs are not being raised on farms yet, but the plan is to have food from these animals available in stores in the next five years.This technology is still new, and the Food and Drug Administration has strict guidelines that have to be met before these animals will be available to the public. Listen to hear more about genetically engineered animals and then debate with your class whether you think genetically engineered animals will be safe to eat.

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Current Event March 3, 2016

Massive Milk Cows

Life Science Economics Genetics

America's dairy farms today have fewer cows, but those cows are producing more milk than ever before. The dairy cows are being bred to be larger, hungrier, and more productive. The focus on genetics to produce more milk has raised concern among livestock advocates. There are criticisms that the trade-offs are not worth it. Some think that finding ways to keep the cows content will increase milk production. Listen to learn more about the debate about genetics and dairy cows.

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Dna editing.square

Current Event June 11, 2015

Changing Human Genes

Life Science Ethics Genetics

A new scientific tool can edit or change genes. It can target genes that cause problems, like disease, and snip them out of the DNA, sort of like scissors at a molecular level. The potential to change the human genome has some scientists celebrating and others worrying about the ethical implications. Listen to learn more about this technique and the debate it has provoked.

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Caribou.square

Current Event November 11, 2014

Viruses in Poop

Life Science Health Genetics

Bacteria and viruses are the source of most illnesses. A new source of ancient viruses has been found in the Canadian Arctic in the poo of caribou. Caribou, also known as reindeer, have lived and pooped in cold weather for millennia, so their frozen excrement is a source for ancient viruses. This public radio story introduces us to the scientist who discovered the DNA of two new viruses in 700 year old frozen Caribou waste.

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Eye.iris.square

Current Event November 4, 2014

Helping the Blind See

Life Science Genetics

Human embryonic stem cells are able to become any kind of tissue in the body. Because of this, many researchers see huge potential for curing and preventing disease. Up until now this has been theory, but a new study has had early success in using stem cells to improve the eyesight of the blind. This sound-rich story takes you into the operating room to hear the eye surgery and meet someone whose life was changed by the procedure.

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Genetics.square

Current Event October 23, 2014

Fixing Genes

Life Science Gender Genetics

Illness can be caused by viruses and bacteria, but some very serious illnesses come from your actual genes, your DNA. Scientist have been able to identify genes that cause illness but until now they haven’t been able to fix them. A new discovery creates the framework for editing these problematic genes. This public radio story tells the unlikely story of this discovery and discusses its potential.

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Apples.square

Current Event October 3, 2014

Growing Heirloom Apples a Life Long Devotion

Life Science Economics Genetics Agriculture

It is apple picking season and apple lovers are gearing up to eat some tasty and unique apples. The apples we are used to seeing in the supermarket are the same basic size and shape. And they have the familiar flavor profiles. But there are more apple varieties than you might imagine. There's a whole world of biodiversity in apples. This public radio story takes you to a heirloom apple orchard in Vermont that specializes in grafting and maintaining historic varieties of apples. Get ready to visualize (and almost taste!) some unique looking apples.

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The cells mystery

Science Middle School

Inventor of Polarizing Microscope Sheds Light on Cell's Mystery

Life Science Engineering Genetics DNA Human body Cells

A new way of looking at live cells is revolutionizing our understanding of how molecular life works. However, it is how how one scientist managed to complete his study despite facing World War II in Japan that makes his discovery so intriguing. By using an old machine gun, Shinya Inoue made a microscope that enabled him to start to see how a cell divides. Listen to learn how Inoue finished his microscope and why it is so important to the science community.

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Genetics

Science Middle School

Microbes are Still a Mystery to Scientists and the Diversity of Life

Life Science Genetics DNA Human body Cells

The study of genes is moving toward a new frontier. There is a new field studying microorganisms which exist in living organisms. Microbes control every process on earth, and a human is made up of 90% bacteria. However, we know very little about these microbes. There is now a newer, more efficient way, to study this bacteria. From this scientists can discover new species and genes. Listen to learn how the study of microorganisms became so important.

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Elysia marginata

Science Middle School

Sea Slug: Animal or Plant?

Life Science Genetics Ecosystems Oceans DNA Ecology

Small green sea slugs puzzle scientists because they can photosynthesize energy, just like plants. These Eastern Emerald Elysia sea slugs also appear to have several different types of DNA. Scientists are hopeful these sea slugs might help them discover more about human DNA and treat human diseases. Listen to learn how these tiny creatures are teaching us more about genetics.

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Using dna to catch poachers

Science Middle School

Using DNA to Catch Poachers

Life Science Animals Engineering Genetics DNA

Game wardens in California are now using DNA fingerprinting analysis to help protect illegal poaching of wildlife. There are many species, from large game to shellfish, which are being illegally caught or killed for food. Since there are so few game wardens to patrol the state, they are relying on forensic evidence to help track poachers. Listen to learn about the latest in DNA fingerprinting technology.

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Mice morphing at warp speed

Science Middle School

Mice Evolving at Warp Speed

Life Science Animals Genetics Evolution

Changes to a neighborhood park in Illinois have affected the Northern White-Footed mice who live in the forest nearby. Scientists who study living mice today compare them to museum samples of dead mice to understand how they've changed and why. What they are finding is that the mice are growing much faster than their ancestors. Listen to learn why the mice are changing and why no one picked up on it sooner.

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Nature vs nurture

Science Middle School

Nature vs. Nurture

Life Science Psychology Genetics Learning Development

Scientists are trying to settle the age-old question of nature versus nurture. To test it out, scientists experiment on ducks to help determine whether animals are born with no knowledge of the world and only learn things from experience, or whether they emerge with some knowledge already intact. Listen to hear how the experiment is done and what it can tell us about nature versus nurture.

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