Who’s Keeping Your Data Safe in DNA Banks?

by jeeg 26. July 2014 01:45
  Thinner than average, with serious, shadowed eyes, Kevin Anderson, 36, has worked as a filmmaker for over 10 years. He’s traveled throughout Europe and the Americas producing web and sports videos, news packages and documentary shorts. In his infancy, he was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease, phenylketonuria (commonly referred to as PKU), where the body cannot properly break down protein. Throughout his life, he has taken medicine and followed a special low-protein diet, but ... [More]

Harvard scientists want gene-manipulation debate

by jeeg 25. July 2014 10:45
  A powerful new technology could be used to manipulate nature by “editing” the genes of organisms in the wild, enabling researchers to block mosquitoes’ ability to spread malaria, for example, or to make weeds more vulnerable to pesticides, Harvard scientists said Thursday. In an unusual step, however, the Boston team called for a public debate on the wisdom of its audacious idea, which the scientists say could lead to inadvertent species extinctions, new genes spread... [More]

Leader of Troubled Lab Steps Down, C.D.C. Says

by jeeg 25. July 2014 10:39
  The leader of the federal bioterrorism lab in which careless procedures may have exposed dozens of workers to live anthrax has resigned, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday. Michael Farrell, who had led the Bioterror Rapid Response and Advanced Technology Laboratory since 2009, “voluntarily resigned” on Tuesday, said Thomas Skinner, a C.D.C. spokesman. “It was his decision,” Mr. Skinner added. The lab’s management has been ... [More]

GMO labeling initiative qualifies for Oregon ballot

by jeeg 25. July 2014 10:34
  Oregonians will decide in November whether they want to mandate that companies label genetically modified foods. The Secretary of State's Office Wednesday certified 118,780 signatures - well above the 87,213 needed to qualify for the 2014 ballot. "In only six weeks, we were able to collect more than 31,500 signatures more than the number needed to qualify," said Sandeep Kaushik, campaign spokesman for Oregon Right to Know. "That is a powerful indication that Oregonians understand t... [More]


by jeeg 24. July 2014 11:45
  Allegations of bizarre and potentially illegal conduct within the World Intellectual Property Organisation have raised serious questions, after The Register obtained access to an internal report indicating reasonable grounds to suspect serious misconduct within the UN agency. The report, published exclusively by The Register today, outlines serious allegations against WIPO chief Francis Gurry. The organisation's staff council has also demanded a prompt and independent investigatio... [More]

The CDC's Problems Are Deeper Than Mailing the Wrong Stuff, as They Proved in Dallas

by jeeg 24. July 2014 11:43
  Sloppy handling of deadly viruses at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, including shipping a deadly virus to a lab by mistake, has spurred calls for an independent investigation of the agency. The head of of it concedes in a New York Times piece this morning there may be a "potential for hubris."     But hubris may be the least of it. Based on our experience here with the CDC and its role in promoting aerial spraying for West Nile Disease, we need to hope whoever does... [More]

It's time for Congress to require GMO labeling

by jeeg 22. July 2014 10:47
  A fight is brewing between America's consumers and the giant businesses that grow and manufacture our nation's foods. At issue is the use of so-called GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, in those foods. The fight over genetic engineering boils down to this underlying disagreement: Consumers want to know what is in the foods they are eating. They want government — either their state or, better yet, the federal government — to require growers and processors to label th... [More]

U.S. CDC says it 'may never know' how bird flu mishap occurred

by jeeg 22. July 2014 10:42
  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "may never know" how a fairly harmless form of bird flu was cross-contaminated with a dangerous bird flu strain before it was sent to a laboratory outside of the CDC, an agency spokesman said on Monday. That's because most of the materials used in the experiment to culture the virus were discarded shortly after they were used by the scientists performing the work, which occurred in March, CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told Reuters. The ... [More]

DNA and Privacy in Vermont

by jeeg 18. July 2014 18:26
  The intersection of technology and law has been the scene of numerous collisions in recent years, and often it has been unclear which had the better claim to the right of way. A sharply divided Vermont Supreme Court decided just such a case last week, ruling that the routine collection of DNA samples from defendants charged with felonies is unconstitutional. We think the outcome is right, although not all the relevant issues have been addressed. A little background is in order here. V... [More]

New Issue of GeneWatch Magazine: Ancestry and DNA

by jeeg 17. July 2014 01:30
  It’s natural to be curious about one’s family history, and curiosity is, broadly speaking, a good and healthy thing.  It’s fun to imagine discovering a surprise in your family history – and, if you find one, to imagine how it came about.  Indeed, as a source of entertainment, genetic ancestry tests are quite benign. But beyond their entertainment value, these tests are not always so innocuous, starting with the very business model of most DNA testin... [More]
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