Kercher trial: How does DNA contamination occur?

by jeeg 31. January 2014 21:42
Potential for the contamination of forensic DNA evidence has been highlighted by the Meredith Kercher murder trial. But just how much of a problem is it and what lessons should be drawn? The high-profile retrial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, who had been imprisoned for the killing of Meredith Kercher, has placed renewed scrutiny on the DNA analysis carried out in the case. An Italian court has now reinstated the 2009 guilty verdicts which were overturned on appeal in 2011, handi... [More]

Why UK citizen's should opt out of the Government's new patient database

by jeeg 31. January 2014 21:38
We have until March to opt out of the care.data initiative. The ‘theoretical risk’ that we might be re-identified fr om our personal data once it is made available to third parties is a compelling reason to opt-out. However, this is not the only reason. Care.data is part of a major legislative programme that includes the Clinical Research Practice Datalink (CRPD) and the 100,000 genome project – through which whole-sequenced genomes will be put to commercial use. These ma... [More]

Monsanto’s Roundup and genetically modified crops are harming everybody’s favorite butterfly

by jeeg 30. January 2014 22:54
Feeding on a weed seems like a good evolutionary bet. And for a long time, it worked well for the monarch butterfly. The butterfly’s life cycle is exquisitely synchronized to the seasonal growth of milkweed, the only plant its larvae will eat. In a game of hopscotch, successive generations of monarchs follow the springtime emergence of milkweed from Mexico as far north as Canada. The hardy plant once flourished in grasslands, roadsides, abandoned lots, and cornfields across much... [More]

Warning of hidden risks of releasing GM mosquitoes in Panama

by jeeg 30. January 2014 22:19
GeneWatch UK warned  Wednesday, January 29. that open releases of millions of GM mosquitoes should not take place in Panama until members of the public have been fully informed about the risks. The mosquitoes are produced by UK company Oxitec. GeneWatch also released a draft risk assessment provided by Oxitec to the US Department of Agriculture in 2011, which has not previously been published, showing that the company itself admits some of these risks (1). These include the risks th... [More]

FDA: Courts on Their Own in GMO "All Natural" Lawsuits

by jeeg 30. January 2014 22:13
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declined to decide whether food may be labeled "Natural", "All Natural" or "100% Natural" if it contains bioengineered ingredients, putting the onus on the federal district courts in litigation that has sprung up across the United States. It would not be appropriate to decide the issue in litigation because it is complex, involves myriad interests and would be better suited for a public proceeding such as issuance of a regulation or... [More]

Synthetic-biology firms shift focus

by jeeg 30. January 2014 22:09
Plain old vanilla doesn’t impress Neil Goldsmith, chief executive of Evolva, a synthetic-biology company based in Reinach, Switzerland. This year, his company will release a product that has been created by genetically modified yeast that converts sugars to vanillin. It will be the first major synthetic-biology food additive to hit supermarkets. The product marks a shift for the industry, which has typically focused on the synthesis of drugs and commodities such as biofuels and ru... [More]

How FDA and 23andMe Dance Around Evidence That Is Not There

by jeeg 28. January 2014 22:02
On July 20, 2010, Andrew Alexander, founder and director of easyDNA, received a letter from the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA had noticed that easyDNA was marketing the "Genetic Predisposition Health Test, a home-use device that is intended to allow individuals to discover whether they are genetically predisposed towards developing a number of diseases and medical conditions, including cardiovascular conditions, different types of cancers, disorders of the immune system, diabete... [More]

Genetic Weapon Against Insects Raises Hope and Fear in Farming

by jeeg 28. January 2014 21:50
Scientists and biotechnology companies are developing what could become the next powerful weapon in the war on pests — one that harnesses a Nobel Prize-winning discovery to kill insects and pathogens by disabling their genes. By zeroing in on a genetic sequence unique to one species, the technique has the potential to kill a pest without harming beneficial insects. That would be a big advance over chemical pesticides. “If you use a neuro-poison, it kills everything,” sa... [More]

The Era Of Genetically-Altered Humans Could Begin This Year

by jeeg 28. January 2014 21:42
By the middle of 2014, the prospect of altering DNA to produce a genetically-modified human could move from science fiction to science reality.  At some point between now and July, the UK parliament is likely to vote on whether a new form of in vitro fertilization (IVF)—involving DNA from three parents—becomes legally available to couples. If it passes, the law would be the first to allow pre-birth human-DNA modification, and another door to the future will open. The proc... [More]

A genetic “Minority Report”: How corporate DNA testing could put us at risk

by jeeg 27. January 2014 21:34
On Nov. 22, 2013, the FDA sent a now-infamous letter to the genetic research startup 23andMe, ordering the company to stop marketing some of its personal DNA testing kits. In its letter, the agency told 23andMe that it was concerned about the possibility of erroneous test results, about false positives and false negatives. The FDA warned that false positives – for example, being told that one has a high risk of breast cancer when really one doesn’t – might lead customers ... [More]
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