30. January 2015 21:54
The United States has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers as part of a new initiative to understand human disease and develop medicines targeted to an individual's genetic make-up.
At the heart of the "precision medicine" initiative, announced on Friday by President Barack Obama, is the creation of a pool of people - healthy and ill, men and women, old and young - who would be studied to learn how genetic variants affect health and disea... [More]
30. January 2015 21:38
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has introduced camera monitoring of workers in its highest-level biosafety laboratories as it seeks to restore public faith in its procedures after a series of mishaps, agency officials tell Reuters.
One lab worker inadvertently risked contracting Ebola last month when they worked with the live virus that was supposed to have been inactivated, or killed. Since last June, the Atlanta-based agency has disclosed several ... [More]
29. January 2015 21:38
Genetic discrimination hasn’t yet become a problem in the US. Since the Genetic Information Nondiscrmination Act (GINA) was signed into law in 2008, very few GINA-related charges have been made. That doesn’t mean that Americans aren’t worried that this sort of discrimination might arise in their own lives, however, according to a perspective piece published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
GINA was signed into law almost seven years ago to prevent healt... [More]
29. January 2015 21:27
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S new budget is expected to include hundreds of millions of dollars for so-called precision medicine. The initiative, which he introduced last week in his State of the Union address, has bipartisan support and is a bright spot in the otherwise tight funding environment for medical research. Unfortunately, precision medicine is unlikely to make most of us healthier.
The basic idea behind it is that we each have genetic variants that put us at increased or decreased risk o... [More]
29. January 2015 21:16
One would expect that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the best interests of the public in mind, but its recent decisions have cast serious doubt upon this assumption.
One in particular could have a dramatic impact on the safety of the U.S. food supply: It is the mandate of the EPA to regulate the use of agricultural chemicals like insecticides and herbicides, as well as to determine their allowable limits in food and drinking water.
Herbicides (weed killers) are mixtures of chem... [More]
28. January 2015 20:09
Traditionally, conservation biologists have relied on field observation and sample and statistical analysis to help them understand the dynamics behind species loss, but today genetics is taking on an increasingly important role in helping quantify the biodiversity around us and even save some threatened species.
According to researchers at King Saud University who reviewed various DNA analysis technologies used in wildlife conservation for the Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, th... [More]
28. January 2015 20:07
Myriad Genetics has essentially given up trying to stop other companies from offering tests for increased risk of breast cancer, ending a dispute that was the subject of a landmark Supreme Court ruling that human genes cannot be patented.
The company has settled or is in the process of settling patent-infringement lawsuits it filed against other companies that now offer such testing, a Myriad spokesman said on Tuesday.
Myriad’s lucrative monopoly on testing for mutations in two... [More]
28. January 2015 20:04
Most siblings with a diagnosis of autism do not share the same genetic risk factors for the disorder and are as distinct in their behaviors as any brothers and sisters, scientists reported on Monday in a study that came as a surprise to many doctors, if not to parents.
Scientists analyzed genetic material from 85 families, using a technology called whole-genome sequencing. Unlike other approaches, which illuminate a sample of a person’s genetic material, the whole-genome techniq... [More]
28. January 2015 19:55
In 1997’s futuristic “Gattaca,” one’s DNA determined one’s destiny. Released a dozen years after the beginning of real-life genetic testing, the movie tracked a man “conceived by love rather than in a lab,” as Variety put it. Because his lousy genes limited his career, he went to “a DNA broker who sells false identities to the genetically inferior.”
As with all dystopian stories, “Gattaca” uses the future to explore tre... [More]
28. January 2015 19:53
For the past five years, forensic scientists have been taking advantage of their ability to collect Touch DNA, small samples of DNA from evidence that has been handled by suspects. Items such as vehicle steering wheels, gun grips, door handles, and victim’s clothing have provided valuable evidence linking offenders to a victim or crime scene.
Collection of Touch DNA is simple: evidence is collected by law enforcement personnel using sterile swabs and submitted to a crime laborat... [More]