Appeals court backs scientist in Pfizer retaliation case

by jeeg 17. December 2012 18:17
Pfizer Inc. whistleblower Becky McClain’s legal battle to draw public attention to worker-safety issues came to an end Friday as an appeals court refused to overturn a $2.3 million verdict in favor of the former Groton-based scientist.   Pfizer said it is “evaluating its options” on whether to appeal the verdict to the U.S. Supreme Court. But McClain’s attorneys said no constitutional claim was associated with the case.   “Justice prevailed,&rdqu... [More]

Pesticides: Now More Than Ever

by jeeg 14. December 2012 23:10
How quickly we forget. After the publication of “Silent Spring,” 50 years ago, we (scientists, environmental and health advocates, birdwatchers, citizens) managed to curb the use of pesticides and our exposure to them — only to see their application grow and grow to the point where American agriculture uses more of them than ever before. And the threat is more acute than ever. While Rachel Carsonfocused on their effect on “nature,” it’s become obvious that f... [More]

Why your DNA is a goldmine for marketers

by jeeg 14. December 2012 00:28
David Pike prefers hiking holidays over seaside lounging, and personalized ads over random promotions. "Show me the trails of Madeira," says the St. John's mathematics professor, describing the sort of marketing campaign he finds most appealing, "not the sandy beaches of Jamaica." One day in the not-too-distant future, marketers might turn to an unexpected source for clues to Prof. Pike's vacation preferences: his chromosomes. In the ever-growing field of personal-data mining, marketing firm... [More]

A DNA database in the NHS: the end of privacy?

by jeeg 12. December 2012 20:31
The government has announced plans to sequence the whole genomes of 100,000 patients in the NHS. This means every chemical letter in each person's DNA will be stored in their electronic medical records where it can be analysed statistically. Some, but not all, of the proposed group will be cancer patients and the project will also look at genetic mutations which arise in cancer cells as the cancer tumour grows.The government says the project will be entirely voluntary as "patients will be ab... [More]

The Value of Your Genome

by jeeg 11. December 2012 20:24
  Whole genome sequencing is unlikely to become a routine part of medicine anytime soon.   In this era of plummeting DNA sequencing costs, we frequently hear the claim that soon everyone should have their whole genome sequenced. However, two implicit assumptions underlie such claims: that whole-genome sequencing (WGS) will be (1) sufficiently cheap and (2) sufficiently useful to drive near-universal uptake. But as is often heard in the personal finance industry, “an elepha... [More]

Plans for NHS database of patients' DNA angers privacy campaigners

by jeeg 11. December 2012 20:20
Controversial plans to build a massive database that would be capable of storing every British citizen's DNA records will be unveiled this week by the prime minister. David Cameron will announce a groundbreaking initiative designed to position the UK at the forefront of the genetic revolution – a potentially multibillion-pound industry that is attracting attention from major technology companies, including Google. The plan has been drawn up by the Human Genomics Strategy Group, run b... [More]

DNA testing frees man who lived on death row for 15 years

by jeeg 7. December 2012 23:55
Every morning Damon Thibodeaux wakes up in his temporary digs in Minneapolis and wonders when his newfound freedom is going to come crashing down. "You think you're going to wake up and find it was just a dream," he says. When he stepped out of Angola jail in Louisiana several guards were at the gate to wish him well, addressing him for the first time in 16 years as "Mr Thibodeaux". "No offence," he said, "but I hope I never see you again." He walked out as the 300th prisoner in the US to be f... [More]

Concerns arise in Chinese bid for genomics firm

by jeeg 6. December 2012 20:56
The pending sale of a major American gene-mapping company to a Chinese firm is sparking yet another dust-up over what sensitive industries the rising Asian power ought to be allowed to dominate in the United States. A key question — as it has been with Chinese involvement in aviation, cloud computing and telecom hardware — is whether there are national security concerns attached to allowing a company largely funded by the Chinese government to have access to human DNA being decod... [More]

The jury is out on nationwide DNA database in Denmark

by jeeg 6. December 2012 02:09
A serial rapist on the island of Funen has so far attacked two girls. DNA samples from the attacks confirm it is the same perpetrator, but despite testing several men, the suspect remains on the loose.   While police continue to hunt for the man, opposition party Dansk Folkeparti (DF) argues that he could have been caught a long time ago if there were a comprehensive nationwide DNA database. “If the police had a nationwide DNA database, the likelihood of finding a match would... [More]

Keep DNA evidence private

by jeeg 4. December 2012 01:44
On Nov. 1, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a startling -- and unnecessary -- opinion eroding DNA privacy for Ohio citizens. The court held that the Fourth Amendment does not protect an individual's personal DNA profile. In the court's words, "[a] person has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her DNA profile extracted from a lawfully obtained DNA sample." The case, State v. Emerson, originally involved DNA evidence legally obtained from Emerson through a valid warrant in a rape inves... [More]
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