The Forensic Genetics Policy Initiative Launches New Website

by jeeg 16. February 2012 01:20
Today, 60 countries worldwide operate national DNA databases (many of which are considering expansion) and databases are being considered in at least 34 additional countries.   The use of DNA profiling in criminal investigations can bring benefits to society by helping to solve crimes and assisting in the enforcement of the rule of law. However, the storage of DNA collected from individuals and the inclusion of computerized DNA profiles on computer databases raises important human r... [More]

New life seen for Plum Island facility

by jeeg 15. February 2012 23:30
In a move that could extend the life of the federal animal disease research facility on Plum Island, the Obama administration in its 2013 budget has proposed cutting funding for a new research facility in Kansas that was seen as its replacement.   In doing so, the administration has requested that the proposed National Bio and Agro Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kan., undergo a "comprehensive assessment," including a review of its near-$1 billion cost, safety issues and the viabilit... [More]

Potential for Incorrect Relationship Identification in New Forensic Familial Searching Techniques

by jeeg 14. February 2012 23:52
New research suggests that unrelated individuals may be mistakenly identified as genetic family members due to inaccurate genetic assumptions. This is particularly relevant when considering familial searching: a new technique which extends forensic identification to family members of individuals with profiles in offender/arrestee DNA databases. In a study published this week in PLoS Genetics, researchers at the Universities of Washington and California at Berkeley show that false ... [More]

German drug data outfit slammed for potential privacy breach

by jeeg 13. February 2012 22:29
A potential scandal has hit a German drug data company that sells prescription info to Big Pharma groups. A former employee of the company, Pharmafakt, told a German magazine that he was told by his bosses to help them supply drugmakers with script data that hadn't been scrubbed clean to make it anonymous, The Local newspaper in Germany reported. The German press was abuzz about the allegation because dealing such data is a major no-no that breaches privacy rules, and one official told th... [More]

Myriad Cert Petition Now Fully Briefed; Supreme Court May Decide (to take up Gene Patent Case) by Feb. 20

by jeeg 13. February 2012 22:21
Petitioners challenging the patent eligibility of isolated DNA filed a reply brief Jan. 20, rejecting the respondent patent owner's call for the U.S. Supreme Court to deny review of the case for lack of standing (Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics Inc., U.S., No. 11-725, reply filed 1/20/12). The reply brief, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation, argued that Myriad Genetics Inc. failed to inform the high court that the U.S. Court... [More]

Biological weapons research center's status upheld

by jeeg 9. February 2012 22:17
A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the continued operation of a biological weapons research center at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, rejecting opponents' claim that the government failed to consider fully the possible release of deadly organisms in a terrorist attack. The center, which opened in February 2009, conducts research intended to detect biological pathogens such as anthrax, plague, brucellosis and Q fever. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had blocked t... [More]

Modified Crops Tap a Wellspring of Protest

by jeeg 8. February 2012 22:04
SILENT in flannel shirts and ponytails, farmers from Saskatchewan and South Dakota, Mississippi and Massachusetts lined the walls of a packed federal courtroom in Manhattan last week, as their lawyers told a judge that they were no longer able to keep genetically modified crops from their fields. The hearing is part of a debate that is coming to life around the country, in courtrooms and Occupy sites, in boardrooms and online, with new petitions, ballot initiatives and lawsuits from Cali... [More]

Minnesota destroying samples of babies' blood

by jeeg 2. February 2012 22:59
Two months after losing a court battle over genetic privacy, the Minnesota Department of Health has started destroying a portion of the blood samples it has collected as part of a program to test newborns for rare genetic illnesses. "For the first time in almost 20 years, we're going to begin destroying a valuable public health resource," Dr. Edward Ehlinger, the health commissioner, said in a statement released Tuesday. The Health Department, which has been collecting the specimens since 19... [More]

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