2. September 2014 20:24
As the state's highest court upheld this week a Harford County rape conviction based on DNA collected from the arm of a police station chair, a veteran judge issued a stark warning about the consequences of the ruling.
"The majority's approval of such police procedure means, in essence, that a person desiring to keep her DNA profile private, must conduct her public affairs in a hermetically sealed hazmat suit," Judge Sally D. Adkins wrote in a dissenting opinion.
The rapist, Glenn Jo... [More]
2. September 2014 20:07
For decades, hospitals have conducted blood tests on newborns, checking babies for various conditions, treatable and not. Today's less costly tests, genomic research, and technological advances, coupled with differing policies across states, worry some privacy and ethics advocates.
Whereas some states allow parents to opt-in for testing, others have an opt-out approach. Critics argue parents have little to no say in whether this data is collected, where and how long it's stored, and w... [More]
22. August 2014 18:58
Washington’s Supreme Court on Thursday made it easier for convicts to obtain DNA testing that could prove their innocence.
In a 6-3 ruling, the justices said that in deciding whether to grant such testing, courts must presume that the results of testing would be favorable to the convict — significantly tipping the calculation in the convict’s favor.
The ruling came in the case of Lindsey Crumpton, who was convicted of repeatedly raping a 75-year-old Bremerton w... [More]
20. August 2014 23:06
With media buzzwords like “non-GMO,” “biotechnology,” and “genetic integrity” being thrown around, the complexities of the GMO debate can be hard to swallow. Whether it’s the issue surrounding the labeling of genetically modified food, the march against Monsanto, or the Right to Know movement, the Council for Responsible Genetics, a premiere biotechnology watchdog group, wants to shed light on this divisive issue. The GMO Deception: What You Need... [More]
20. August 2014 18:41
Like many novel technologies in this age of TED Talks and Silicon Valley triumphalism, synthetic biology—synbio for short—floats on a sea of hype. One of its founding scientists, Boston University biomedical engineer James Collins, has called it "genetic engineering on steroids." Whereas garden-variety genetic engineers busy themselves moving genes from one organism into another—to create tomatoes that don't bruise easily, for example—synthetic biologists ... [More]
20. August 2014 18:39
Let the record show that epigenetics is fast becoming the top topic in pop science. Every day Google Alerts lets me know about two or three new pieces on the subject. Epigenetics, a formerly obscure branch of genetics, studies how social and environmental forces wreak heritable changes on the activities of genes without tampering with their underlying nucleotide sequences. Some of the news items come from science journals and magazines, but almost as many are published on genera... [More]
20. August 2014 02:13
Anne Morriss put down the phone and rushed to where her baby lay sleeping. She watched her newborn breathe for a minute before hurriedly picking up the phone, “He’s still alive,” she said shakily. Anne and her partner had returned home from the hospital with their newborn son when they received the most unnerving phone call of their lives. A physician they didn’t know, from the Massachusetts department of health, called to find out if their child was still alive... [More]
18. August 2014 18:41
For 30 years as head of the Council for Responsible Genetics, Sheldon Krimsky has been following the debate over genetically modified foods. Krimsky, a longtime Tufts University professor, has written or edited 13 books about science and society. In his newest book of essays, “The GMODeception,” coedited with Jeremy Gruber, Krimsky criticizes the agriculture and food industries for changing the genetic makeup of the food we eat. He says he’s not in favor or against ge... [More]
18. August 2014 18:38
As I rattle across the Welsh countryside in an early morning train, a verdant landscape bounces into view. A blurred jumble of grass, trees, brambles and bushes flies past the window. Catching a lift from Carmarthen station through the Towy valley to the National Botanic Garden of Wales, an even more staggering array of plant life shows itself resplendent. A few I recognise – the heavy boughs of an oak – but most I don't. To me it's just one big, leafy, glorious green ... [More]
13. August 2014 19:42
" A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History" is the new book by science writer Nicholas Wade that asserts a genetic basis for certain human behaviors and distinguishes them by race. It's been widely panned in book reviews, especially by experts in the fields of science and social science touched on by the work.
Reviewers have cited scientific errors in the book, but typically aim more directly at Wade's conclusions.
The most newsworthy reaction to the book has just co... [More]