Brazil approves DNA database legislation and some human rights concerns remain

by jeeg 15. June 2012 23:21
Guest post by Koichi Kameda Centre for Technology and Society    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil   On the late 28 May, the Brazilian President signed legislation concerning DNA databases for criminal investigations. After an unusually quick legislative procedure - less than 1 year at both Houses of Congress - the bill has passed as Law n. 12.654/12. The legislation establishes the compulsory collection and storage of genetic profiles from those convicted felons of heinous... [More]

Gene patent case ramps up

by jeeg 15. June 2012 23:01
Today the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and others file legal documents challenging patents on DNA.   The ACLU briefs detail their case against seven patents held by Myriad Genetics, a diagnostics company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, regarding two genes associated with a high risk of breast and ovarian cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2. On 20 July, the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation will argue the case in front of a judge at the federal appeals court in Washington,... [More]

Crunch time for DNA database in South Africa

by jeeg 14. June 2012 22:24
The Secretariat for Police is set to present a DNA policy, which is going to underpin the second draft of the DNA Bill, to the Portfolio Committee for Police on Wednesday. The Secretariat of Police provides strategic advice to the Minister of Police.   The DNA Bill will allow South Africa to expand its DNA database for use as a criminal intelligence tool.   One of the supporters of the bill is the nongovernmental organisation, the DNA Project, under the leadership of Vanessa ... [More]

Airflow problems plague CDC bioterror lab

by jeeg 13. June 2012 22:12
A $214 million bioterror germ lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has had repeated problems with airflow systems designed to help prevent the release of infectious agents, government documents and internal e-mails show.   While the agency says no one has been infected, a biosafety expert says the problems appear to be major violations of laboratory operating standards. The area of the building with problems involves Biosafety Level 3 labs that can... [More]

Genome test slammed for assessing ‘racial purity’

by jeeg 12. June 2012 20:17
Officials in Hungary united this week to condemn ongoing ethnic violence and anti-Semitic attacks, including an assault on the former Chief Rabbi on 5 June. But a cause for further soul-searching has emerged: a scientific scandal recalling discredited notions of racial purity.   Hungary’s Medical Research Council (ETT), which advises the government on health policy, has asked public prosecutors to investigate a genetic-diagnostic company that certified that a member o... [More]

UK Human Genetics Commission publishes final report

by jeeg 11. June 2012 23:06
The Human Genetics Commission (HGC) has published its final report, which marks the end of its 12 years as an advisory body to the Government. Following a review of arm's-length and non-departmental public bodies in October 2010, it was decided the HGC would be reconstituted as a Departmental Expert Committee. The report makes recommendations to the new committee, announced in April this year as the Emerging Science and Bioethics Advisory Committee (ESBAC). While ESBAC will take on the r... [More]

Genetic screening of unborn babies 'may be inaccurate'

by jeeg 8. June 2012 23:10
New tests for genetic screening of unborn babies will not be 100 per cent accurate and may scare parents into believing their children will be born with a disability when they are healthy, Lord Robert Winston warns.   American experts have developed a blood test which they claim could be used to routinely screen foetuses for more than 3,000 genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy. But the researchers recognised that the ability to predict the genetic code ... [More]

N.J. surrogacy bill would allow women to be paid as 'carriers'

by jeeg 8. June 2012 23:04
Twenty-five years after the landmark Baby M case focused international attention on the rights of surrogate mothers in New Jersey, state lawmakers are poised to consider a new measure that would allow residents to formally contract with — and pay — women to carry a donated embryo to term.   The move has rekindled the kind of emotional reactions that were so much a part of the Baby M controversy, with backers of the bill and its opponents scrambling to press their argumen... [More]

Not All Patients Will Pay for Genetic Testing

by jeeg 6. June 2012 20:49
More than one-fifth of people who have received referrals to test for cancer-causing genes say they will only undergo testing if their insurance covers the cost—just as more insurers are instituting cost-sharing for medical services like genetic testing, according to new findings from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia released at this year's 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on Saturday, June 2. Even though patients may pay thousands of dollars for som... [More]

Fight to prevent genetic disease hampered by ethical doubts

by jeeg 5. June 2012 23:05
Aaron began to stand out at primary school. He was unlike other children in subtle ways that at times were hard to put a finger on. He couldn't hold a pen properly. His balance was a little poor. He just seemed different from his classmates. There is no subtlety to Aaron's condition any more. At the end of each day he gets so tired he resorts to a wheelchair. He wears a small heart monitor in his chest after collapsing a couple of times without warning. Soon he will need a kidney transplant to ... [More]
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