genetics

Emily Woodbury

Andrew Duarte was only 31 years old when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. One of the biggest questions he had was, “What can I expect?”

“And there’s not really a good answer for that,” he says.

Today on Talk of Iowa - living with Parkinson’s disease. Host Charity Nebbe sits down with two Parkinson's patients and a clinical researcher to talk about recent developments in Parkinson’s research and find out what it’s like to live with the disease.

photo submitted

Noonan syndrome is a genetic condition.  The characteristic facial features include low set ears, widely spaced-eyes, bright blue or blue-green eyes, a low hairline at the back of the head, and multiple congenital problems like heart defects and an unusually shaped chest.

A person with Noonan syndrome is often short, has a broad or webbed neck, low set nipples, and bleeding problems.  Developmental delay or intellectual disability are also common.

This hour, we'll look at why at least a couple of million people have paid $99 (and often lots more) to have their DNA tested to find out about their ancestry and in some cases, their family's health traits.   Leading web sites AncestryDNA.com and 23andme.com have had more than a million people each pay the fee to receive long and detailed reports on their ancestry going back usually five generations.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A clinical trial vaccinating people in Guinea exposed to Ebola virus has been found to have a 100 percent efficacy. That means none of the 2,000-plus people researchers immediately vaccinated got the virus.

Part of this vaccine was developed at Ames-based New Link Genetics. Swati Gupta is an executive director of Merck Vaccines which licensed the Ebola vaccine from New Link. Gupta says now, more trials are underway to administer the vaccine to people who need it.

MIKI Yoshihito / flickr

What do snakes, turtles, zebra fish, and a program called CRISPR have in common? They are all involved in genomic research happening right here in Iowa.

The new Jurassic World movie is now in theaters, and there’s also recent controversial news that for the first time, Chinese scientists have edited DNA in human embryos.

Photo by Abby Wendle/Harveset Public Media

Panda, standing six feet tall and weighing almost a ton, is everything a show cow should be: broad-backed and round-rumped, with sturdy legs holding up her heft. Her hide - thick and black, with splotches of creamy white - fits her name.

“She’s a big time cow,” says Dan Byers, owner of Byers Premium Cattle, Inc. “She’s a freak of nature is what she is.”

Laura Palmisano for Harvest Public Media

Federal researchers are on a mission to back up the genetic material of the plants and animals that the nation’s food supply depends on. 

Kristen Powers / Official Twitch Trailer

If you inherited a deadly, incurable disease, would you want to know?

chandrika221 / flickr

The drama of mood swings, impulsiveness and bizarre behaviors during adolescence
can take a toll on both teens and their parents.

After Vern Beachy lost his wife to suicide, he began writing about what he was going through.  Not just about the difficulty of the loss but also his struggles with M.S. and his fight to get out of a wheelchair.  

To write A Tear-Stained Letter, Beachy says, "I took a knife to my heart and wrote about what fell out.”  In this interview, Beachy talks about it with host Charity Nebbe.

http://terrywahls.com/

She was a marathoner and a mountain climber, but when Dr. Terry Wahls was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she faced a bedridden life.

This hour, we learn how she beat progressive MS.

chandrika221 / flickr

The drama of mood swings, impulsiveness and bizarre behaviors during adolescence
can take a toll on both teens and their parents. Neuropsychiatrist and bestselling author Dr. Daniel Siegel says that there is a lot of misinformation about this developmental period.

“There are common myths that we all hear about…that are actually not only wrong, they’re misleading and in some ways they’re disempowering.  So by learning the truths you can actually understand things as they actually are and then do something about them.”

Durrie Bouscaren

Host Ben Kieffer covers a number of topics in a roundup of the week's news including a conversation with Iowa Public Radio's Cedar Rapids reporter Durrie Bouscaren on how Iowa military contractors have been affected by the s

Euan Slorach

When Henrietta Lacks died in 1951, her family had no idea that her cells would live on indefinitely…multiplying to the extent that laid together, they could wrap around the Earth at least 3 times. Today on River To River - the immortal life of Henrietta Lacks. Host Ben Kieffer talks with Lacks’ grandson about Henrietta's legacy. Her grandson, David Lacks Jr., will speak tonight in Iowa City as part of the Iowa City Book Festival.

DonTaylor50 / Flickr

The U.S.

wikimedia.org

Political arguments can easily become heated and emotional.  But what if your political rival has a genetic predisposition to view the world differently than you?  On River to River, can politics be explained through biology?  We hear two perspectives in that academic debate.  We also talk with the chairs of the Iowa GOP and the Iowa Democrats about how they came to their beliefs.

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

We’re all too familiar with whitetail deer. But there also have been a few recent sightings in Iowa of rare white-tailed squirrels.

The rodent with the bushy, snow-white tail is snow white. It’s been seen in the Witmer Park area near Drake University. Earlier this year, several were spotted in the town of Osage.

It's a disease that effects 2.5 million people worldwide, including hundreds of thousands of Americans. Listen back to a conversation from 2010 with several people whose compelling stories are featured in the book "Voice of Multiple Sclerosis" - essays offering candid, heartfelt, and inspiring testimonials of people who have been impacted by the crippling disease.