Judge Invalidates Patent for a Down Syndrome Test

by jeeg 11. November 2013 21:31
A Federal judge has invalidated the central patent underlying a noninvasive method of detecting Down syndrome in fetuses without the risk of inducing a miscarriage. The ruling is a blow to Sequenom, a California company that introduced the first such noninvasive test in 2011 and has been trying to lock out competitors in a fast-growing market by claiming they infringe on the patent. Sequenom’s stock fell 23 percent on Thursday, to $1.92. The judge, Susan Illston of the United... [More]

Washington State Says 'No' To GMO Labels

by jeeg 8. November 2013 21:39
Voters appear to have defeated another attempt to require labels on genetically modified foods in Washington state. In early counts, the "no" campaign has what appears to be an with 54 percent of votes. The ballot initiative would require labels on the front of packages for most food products, seeds and commodities like soy or corn if they were produced using genetic engineering. The push to require labeling had strong support in the polls a couple of months ago. But as the TV ad war hea... [More]

Poverty Is Stamped Into DNA in Childhood—And Stays There

by jeeg 6. November 2013 22:13
Poverty, it turns out, is etched into our DNA. That's not a metaphorical statement. Growing up poor leaves a permanent mark on our permanent genetic code, according to new research. Socioeconomic status during childhood correlates with shorter sections of DNA, known as telomeres, later in life, explains a study published in the November issue of the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. Telomeres are the caps to a strand of DNA and, like a case covering an external hard drive, they prot... [More]

Should You Have The Right Not To Know Genetic Information?

by jeeg 6. November 2013 22:10
Affordable genome sequencing has brought with it a host of ethical debates. Who owns the data? Who can access the data? Should we sequence children? But the debate most likely to directly affect you in the next few years is this: what happens if your physician has your genome sequenced and finds something that she wasn’t looking for? Let’s say, for example, your physician ordered a genome sequence for you to determine the cause of a chronic but fairly mild condition you have. ... [More]

Generation I.V.F.

by jeeg 6. November 2013 22:06
At age 50, I am an official member of Generation I.V.F., having grown up after the Pill and Baby Boomer feminists revolutionized women’s reproductive choices and lives. We watched as millions of American women infiltrated formerly closed-to-females professions, and as home and office politics, the economy, and relations between the sexes radically shifted. My generation also came of age alongside reproductive technologies: in-vitro fertilization (I.V.F.), frozen sperm, donor eggs, a... [More]

Experts sign International DNA bar-coding agreement

by jeeg 6. November 2013 22:00
Held for the first time on the Chinese mainland, the four-day conference in the provincial capital city of Kunming has drawn up the Kunming Declaration to promote unity in the global bar-coding community, a Chinese state run news agency reported."The declaration in Kunming is one of the most important events in the history of biodiversity science. We are following a global trend to open up data. It's critical for protection of biodiversity in future," Canadian scientist Paul Hebert said on Thurs... [More]

The Odds of Innocence

by jeeg 6. November 2013 21:55
Genetic material is the smoking gun of the modern crime scene. Juries in criminal trials are often encouraged to think of DNA profiling as an exact science, in which telltale traces of skin, hair, and blood identify perpetrators with pinpoint accuracy and rule out any likelihood of mistaken identity. The statistics, however, tell a different story. From the tens of thousands of genes that make up the human genome, scientists have whittled down the list to about 13 pairs that vary most wid... [More]

Government DNA Databases: Is your Privacy at Risk?

by jeeg 6. November 2013 21:52
With genetic fingerprinting being used extensively for crime-solving, many governments are compiling vast databases containing the DNA profiles of many of their citizens in an attempt to curb crime and approximate a utopic world. Different countries have adopted different approaches with some countries only keeping records of convicted criminals whilst others opting for more ambitious, nation-wide databases that include the profiles and/or fingerprints of every citizen. Why DNA?Every pers... [More]

Should we fear DNA testing?

by jeeg 6. November 2013 21:47
Imagine you had a tumor. Surgery removed most of it, then chemotherapy or radiation took care of the cells that lingered. You went through a harsh period where you felt exhausted and ill, but then you were OK. Cancer free. Until one of your tests showed some new shadows in a different part of your body. Your cancer was back and on the move. But then your doctors told you that by sequencing the genome of your tumor and looking at it in the context of your overall DNA, they realized you cou... [More]

Updated Helsinki Guidelines for Clinical Research Get Mixed Reviews

by jeeg 6. November 2013 21:39
The World Medical Association's newly updated "Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects" are drawing considerable praise, as well as some criticisms. The guidelines were first penned nearly a half century ago, in 1964, at a meeting of the World Medical Association in Helsinki, Finland, and have since been updated 7 times. Before this most recent update, the last time the document saw revisions was 2008. The newest update, published online October 19 in JAMA, cover... [More]
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