Justices mixed on DNA database

by jeeg 28. February 2013 01:28
The Supreme Court justices sounded closely split Tuesday on what one of them called the most important criminal procedure case in decades, a challenge to whether police may routinely take DNA samples from suspects and put the results in a national database.   "Why isn't this the fingerprinting of the 21st century?" asked Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. DNA is even more accurate than fingerprinting and has a great potential to solve horrible crimes, he said. But his fellow conservative,... [More]

DNA Collection v. DNA Privacy

by jeeg 28. February 2013 00:55
More than a quarter-century since Florida became the first state to use Now it’s the U.S. Supreme Court’s turn to hear, and hopefully settle, the issue. On Tuesday, February 26, lawyers for the state of Maryland and a convicted rapist presented oral arguments on whether authorities can take the DNA of criminal suspects upon arrest but before they are convicted of a crime. The issue is of immediate importance to the federal government and 28 states including Maryland, since they... [More]

New Guidelines for Genetic Testing in Children

by jeeg 25. February 2013 19:06
Should worried parents be able to test their babies for diseases they may develop down the road, just because they’re curious? Should worried teens be able to screen themselves, without parental knowledge, for disorders that may manifest decades in their future? And what about delving into your kids’ DNA on your own, with the help of direct-to-consumer testing?   These are some of the difficult issues addressed by a new statement on genetic testing in children issued by ... [More]

Senator Padilla Introduces Bill to Protect Genetic Privacy in California

by jeeg 25. February 2013 18:56
Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) this week introduced SB 222, which would establish the California Genetic Information Privacy Act.  SB 222 would prohibit the unauthorized collection, analysis, transfer or storage of an individual’s genetic information.     “I strongly support and believe in the promise of genomic research to improve public health and our quality of life.  I also believe that stronger privacy protections should be in place to guard agains... [More]

Big Data: Bad science on steroids?

by jeeg 25. February 2013 18:41
In case you didn’t realize, we’re living in the era of big data. From sequencing the molecules of human life to divine our futures, to capturing fodder on Twitter to predict disease outbreaks, big data’s potential is massive. It’s the new black gold, after all, and it can cure cancer, transform business and government, foretell political outcomes, even deliver TV shows we didn’t know we wanted.   Or can it? Despite these big promises, the research commu... [More]

Scientists attacked over claim that 'junk DNA' is vital to life

by jeeg 25. February 2013 18:38
It was the scientific surprise of 2012. Researchers announced they had found that long stretches of human DNA – previously dismissed as "junk" – were in fact crucial to the working of our bodies. The assumption that our cells are controlled by only a few genes was wrong. Scientists on the Encode project – an international public consortium researching the human genome – argued that most of our DNA has a part to play. But this idea is now the subject of an astonishin... [More]

Employers should prepare now for potential GINA litigation

by jeeg 25. February 2013 18:34
Employers can prepare themselves for the expected time when the Genetic Information Nondisclosure Act of 2008 becomes a focus of litigation, experts say.   One way to avoid potential litigation related to GINA is for employers to “use the safe harbor language whenever they send an employee for any kind of employer-mandated medical examination,” said Robin E. Shea, a partner with law firm Constangy, Brooks & Smith L.L.P. in Winston-Salem, N.C. Ms. Shea also said emp... [More]

Veterans hospital blamed for worker’s death from meningitis

by jeeg 23. February 2013 01:26
A federal agency has found that serious violations at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s research laboratory contributed to the death of a researcher last year who was exposed to a rare form of meningitis.   Richard Din, an employee of the Northern California Institute for Research and Education, contracted Neisseria meningitidis, a rare form of the disease, last April while working to develop a vaccine for the strand. Din, 25, died as a result of the exposure... [More]

Supreme Court Appears to Defend Patent on Soybean

by jeeg 22. February 2013 22:15
  A freewheeling and almost entirely one-sided argument at the Supreme Court on Tuesday indicated that the justices would not allow Monsanto’s patents for genetically altered soybeans to be threatened by an Indiana farmer who used them without paying the company a fee. The question in the case, Bowman v. Monsanto Company, No. 11-796, was whether patent rights to seeds and other things that can replicate themselves extend beyond the first generation. The justices appeared alert ... [More]

DNA Test for Rare Disorders Becomes More Routine

by jeeg 19. February 2013 21:20
Debra Sukin and her husband were determined to take no chances with her second pregnancy. Their first child, Jacob, who had a serious genetic disorder, did not babble when he was a year old and had severe developmental delays. So the second time around, Ms. Sukin had what was then the most advanced prenatal testing.   The test found no sign of Angelman syndrome, the rare genetic disorder that had struck Jacob. But as months passed, Eli was not crawling or walking or babbling at ages... [More]
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