Failing the DNA test

by jeeg 23. November 2011 21:09
Massachusetts is one of only two states in the country without a law granting prison inmates the right to test DNA evidence that might prove their innocence. A lingering, long-contested bill may finally change that. “Dennis, put on Channel 4. Put on Channel 4!” The year was 1993, and Dennis Maher was returning to his cellblock after a shift at the Bridgewater Massachusetts Treatment Center staff grill. He was nine years into serving a life sentence for two rapes and a sexual... [More]

New Issue of GeneWatch Magazine on Behavioral Genetics

by jeeg 21. November 2011 21:13
We are once again in the midst of a resurgence of research on behavioral genetics, a field that examines the role of genetics in human (and other animal) behavior.  Indeed, there has been a marked increase in people from fields outside of genetics conducting studies to find a genetic basis for certain behaviors.  Yet, the current wave of research is happening at a time when, at least in terms of using all the new genetic technologies, there is an increasing question about the uti... [More]

When DNA Evidence Suggests ‘Innocent,’ Some Prosecutors Cling to ‘Maybe’

by jeeg 18. November 2011 00:14
For 17 years, Terrill Swift and three other men convicted in the 1994 rape and strangulation of a prostitute here have insisted on their innocence. And last May, a powerful new piece of evidence emerged that appeared to back their claim: a DNA profile, constructed from semen found in the victim’s body, matched a man who was convicted of raping and strangling another prostitute a few years later. “It’s over,” Mr. Swift remembers thinking when the DNA match surfac... [More]

Court orders new constraints on newborn screening program

by jeeg 17. November 2011 01:37
A state health program that takes blood samples from Minnesota newborns to screen for more than 50 diseases and disorders can continue despite a legal challenge on genetic privacy grounds, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled today. But in a ruling that reverses a lower court decision, the court placed new restrictions on the Department of Health's ability to store the blood samples and use them for additional studies. The department can provide the blood samples to outside researchers... [More]

European Court of Human Rights upholds Austria's ban on egg or sperm donation for IVF

by jeeg 17. November 2011 01:34
IVF using donated eggs or sperm other than from a spouse will remain banned in Austria. This was the final decision made by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) on 3 November in the closing of the case SH and others v Austria. The verdict that IVF using third party donor eggs or sperm is not in breach of Article 8 the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to respect private and family life) reverses a prior judgment by a lower division of the Court... [More]

EU imposes stiff controls to block Chinese GM rice

by jeeg 17. November 2011 01:16
EU member states have slapped rigid new controls on all imports of Chinese rice products in the wake of ever-increasing detection of products 'contaminated' with unauthorised genetically modified rice. Following a near unanimous decision by experts sitting on the bloc’s food safety committee, Europe will now require 100 percent of all consignments of rice originating in China to be certified as meeting EU standards. Until now, whenever China submitted analytical reports to the EU... [More]

Geron Is Shutting Down Its Stem Cell Clinical Trial

by jeeg 15. November 2011 21:32
The company conducting the world’s first clinical trial of a therapy using human embryonic stem cells said on Monday that it was halting that trial and leaving the stem cell business entirely. The company, Geron, said that its move did not reflect a lack of promise for the controversial field. Rather, it said, with money scarce, it had decided to focus on its experimental cancer therapies, which are further along in development. “I deeply believe in the promise of stem cell... [More]

Are we finally able to repair our own organs?

by jeeg 15. November 2011 21:28
The dream of regenerating human organs is as old as Prometheus. Chained to his rock, the Titan survived attacks by an eagle that feasted on his liver by growing it anew under cover of darkness. When Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, her shocker on the creation of life, she gave it the alternative title The Modern Prometheus. But myths have a habit of becoming reality, and life of imitating art. For more than a decade we have been seduced by the idea that it may truly be possible to recreat... [More]

Tiers of safety at the Biolab

by jeeg 10. November 2011 21:50
Ominously referred to as "The Needle", the 192,000 square-foot National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratory (NEIDL) on the Boston University Medical Center (BUMC) campus stands inactive and empty, as it has since its completion in 2008. Research there cannot commence until a protracted risk assessment process satisfies regulators and the courts.In the meantime, B.U. recently asked the state for a waiver that would allow some lower-level research to begin at the lab while the approval ... [More]

MBTA to swap spit with FBI database

by jeeg 10. November 2011 01:57
DNA profiles of saliva evidence taken as part of a new transit police crackdown on spitting assaults against MBTA workers will be stored indefinitely in an FBI-run databank, authorities said yesterday. The Herald reported yesterday that T police now plan to use DNA kits to swab the spittle of barbaric riders who expectorate on the face or body of bus drivers and other frontline transit workers in an effort to identify the offender. The samples will be tested at either the Boston or state... [More]
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