On DNA rules for convicts, Massachusetts lags behind

by jeeg 30. March 2011 23:42
Massachusetts has seen its share of wrongful convictions. But when it comes to keeping the innocent out of jail, advocates say, the Commonwealth lags far behind.   In response to hundreds of cases nationwide of prisoners winning exoneration after spending years in prison, virtually every state has passed laws guaranteeing convicts access to DNA testing that might prove their innocence. The quality of DNA tests is constantly improving, so about half of states go a step futher, requir... [More]

Test lets genome out of the bottle

by jeeg 29. March 2011 22:00
PEOPLE are being encouraged to ''discover your own genome'', with the introduction by a Sydney company of an international online DNA testing service for genetic risks to a wide range of common diseases. The tests scan a person's genome and can identify more than 700,000 genetic variants linked to more than 150 conditions, including melanoma, bipolar disorder, lung cancer and obesity. Lumigenix, which has a US subsidiary, wants to take on some of the world's biggest players in this g... [More]

Most States Unclear About Storage, Use Of Babies' Blood Samples

by jeeg 28. March 2011 23:22
State laws and policies governing the storage and use of surplus blood samples taken from newborns as part of the routine health screening process range from explicit to non-existent, leaving many parents ill-informed about how their babies' left over blood might be used, according to a team led by a member of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Utah. A report on their analysis of the subject is published March 28 in the jou... [More]

Big brother DNA databank proposal rejected

by jeeg 25. March 2011 22:17
A suggestion by Rotterdam police chief Frank Paauw to store the DNA of the whole Dutch population to solve crime has led to a numerous reactions from politicians and the public in the Netherlands. Many of the reactions were voiced via Twitter. At the moment, DNA can only be taken from suspects who are taken into custody for crimes which carry a sentence of at least four years. Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten called the idea disproportional, as "Only a small proportion of the population i... [More]

New Issue of GeneWatch Magazine on Biobanks

by jeeg 24. March 2011 23:02
Most of us have heard of biobanks but few of us really know what they are.  The new issue of GeneWatch magazine, now available online, digs deep into this important issue with exclusive interviews and a variety of penetrating essays by experts in the field on the practical and ethical concerns, research and logistical challenges, and the utility of different types of biobanks; including renowned bioethicist Hank Greely’s call to arms  “to challenge, in legal and polit... [More]

CRG Urges Presidential Commission on Bioethics to Address the Rapid Growth of Forensic DNA Collection Practices in the US

by jeeg 23. March 2011 21:19
Dr. Amy Gutmann, Chair The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues 1425 New York Avenue, NW Suite C-100 Washington, DC 20005   Dr. Gutmann,   I am writing to you today to strongly encourage the Commission to explore the rapid growth in forensic DNA collection practices in the United States.   DNA testing was initially introduced into the criminal justice system of the United States as a method of developing supplemental evidence to be used in con... [More]

FDA Panel Hearing Suggests Medical Professionals May Play Role in Direct-to-Consumer Testing

by jeeg 22. March 2011 23:17
A role for professionals in direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests seemed like a forgone conclusion from an FDA hearing held two weeks ago, considering the agency first weighed in on the issue last spring. In May 2010, Walgreens backtracked from plans it announced two days earlier to sell a saliva collection kit for Pathway Genomics’ genetic test. The decision followed FDA request for Pathway Genomics to provide more information since the test had not been approved by the agency. Su... [More]

Police face DNA data wipeout

by jeeg 18. March 2011 20:37
European ruling may force PSNI to delete a third of profiles it holds The PSNI may be forced to wipe up to a third of profiles from its DNA database after Justice Minister David Ford unveiled plans to overhaul the law on DNA retention here. Samples from 34,000 people across Northern Ireland who have never been charged with a criminal offence are held on police files — even though the European Court has ruled that the practice breaches human rights. They include dozens of profile... [More]

DTC Genetic Testing Industry and its Supporters Fail to Discredit Damning GAO Report

by jeeg 17. March 2011 18:24
Former FDA official Mary Pendergast, who now works as an adviser to some companies that seek to market genetic tests, raised eyebrows at an FDA hearing on regulation of direct-to-consumer genetic testing when she made some startling claims about the veracity of a damning GAO report which revealed that home genetic tests often provide incomplete or misleading information to consumers. During the course of a heated condemnation of the Panel for "paternalism", Ms. Pendergrast claimed th... [More]

Emerging Technologies Committee Lays Out Principles for Guidance

by jeeg 16. March 2011 21:17
Innovation with respect to emerging technologies—such as nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and genetic engineering—requires not only coordinated research and development but also appropriate and balanced oversight.  To help ensure such balance, the White House Emerging Technologies Interagency Policy Coordination Committee (ETIPC) last week released a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies outlining broad principles to guide the development and... [More]
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