17. June 2013 21:00
In a narrow ruling June 3, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the DNA swabbing of people arrested in connection with serious crimes is legal.
The Maryland attorney general praised DNA swabbing as the 21st-century equivalent of fingerprinting and said it would help solve crimes. No doubt. But the ruling represents yet another way our DNA is slipping beyond our control even as few standards exist for its use, storage, and destruction.
The implications are laid out in Biotechnology in Our... [More]
17. June 2013 20:45
Not so long ago, people who provided DNA in the course of research studies were told that their privacy was assured. Their DNA sequences were on publicly available Web sites, yes, but they did not include names or other obvious identifiers. These were research databases, scientists said, not like the forensic DNA banks being gathered by the F.B.I. and police departments.
But geneticists nationwide have gotten a few rude awakenings, hints that research subjects in fact could sometim... [More]
14. June 2013 22:09
Almost immediately after the Supreme Court ruled that human genes could not be patented, several laboratories announced they, too, would begin offering genetic testing for breast cancer risk, making it likely that that test and others could become more affordable and more widely available.
The ruling in effect ends a nearly two-decade monopoly by Myriad Genetics, the company at the center of the case.
“It levels the playing field; we can all go out and compete,” said Sh... [More]
14. June 2013 22:06
Slowly, and largely under the radar, a growing number of local law enforcement agencies across the country have moved into what had previously been the domain of the F.B.I. and state crime labs — amassing their own DNA databases of potential suspects, some collected with the donors’ knowledge, and some without it.
And that trend — coming at a time of heightened privacy concerns after recent revelations of secret federal surveillance of telephone calls and Interne... [More]
13. June 2013 22:43
Gov. Bobby Jindal is considering whether to sign into law SB 162, which sets regulations for gestational surrogacy in Louisiana.
It is a complex and emotional issue and a difficult decision. We urge him to consider all sides of the question before deciding.
On one side are childless couples who have the hope of seeing their own baby born to a surrogate.
On the other are those who cite ethical, moral, religious or human rights concerns. Although they have been characterized as on... [More]
13. June 2013 22:08
Today the Supreme Court issued a resounding no to the question of whether human genes can be patented. In a unanimous decision the Court held that “a naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated…the portion of the DNA isolated from its natural state sought to be patented is identical to that portion of the DNA in its natural state.”
This is a great victory for the Council for Responsible G... [More]
13. June 2013 21:17
Latest version of law to create DNA database criticised for having provisions that violate human rights of innocent persons
WHILE the latest version of a law to create a DNA database has been welcomed as an improvement on the 2009 version, it has been criticised for having provisions that violate the human rights of innocent persons.
The Criminal Law Forensic Procedures Bill seeks to allow the police and medical personnel to take body samples from a wide range of persons to develop a D... [More]
13. June 2013 20:59
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that companies cannot patent parts of naturally-occurring human genes, a decision with the potential to profoundly affect the emerging and lucrative medical and biotechnology industries.
The high court’s unanimous judgment reverses three decades of patent awards by government officials. It throws out patents held by Myriad Genetics Inc. on an increasingly popular breast cancer test brought into the public eye recently by actress Angelina Jolie’... [More]
12. June 2013 22:41
Pigs fed a diet of only genetically modified grain showed markedly higher stomach inflammation than pigs who dined on conventional feed, according to a new study by a team of Australian scientists and U.S. researchers.
The study adds to an intensifying public debate over the impact of genetically modified crops, which are widely used by U.S. and Latin American farmers and in many other countries around the world.
The study was published in the June issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Organic... [More]
11. June 2013 23:36
Authors usually like it when the Supreme Court cites their work. But a reference to a book in an opinion last week is drawing mixed reviews.
The case, Maryland v. King, was about whether the authorities may take DNA samples from people arrested in connection with serious crimes. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the five-justice majority, drew on a 2000 book by the founders of the Innocence Project and a newspaper columnist to explain why this was a good idea.
“In the inter... [More]