29. April 2014 21:44
A woman's body is found in London. DNA turns up a hit, yet the suspect apparently died weeks before the alleged victim. Here, forensic scientist Dr Mike Silverman tells the story of one of the strangest cases of his career.
It was a real-life mystery that could have come straight from the pages of a modern-day detective novel.
A woman had been brutally murdered in London and biological material had been found under her fingernails, possibly indicating that she might hav... [More]
29. April 2014 21:40
Abigail Wark wants to see your areolas.
But only if you are a participant in the Personal Genome Project, a research effort to find 100,000 volunteers as research subjects in the public domain — contributing data from their genomes, microbiomes, health records, tissues and more.
The project comprises 16 research groups that want to study different aspects of the data. Scientists from each group are meeting on Tuesday in Boston with a group of 150 volunteers whom the project&rsq... [More]
29. April 2014 01:13
In May, the World Health Assembly will yet again consider the question of destruction of smallpox virus. In order to politically legitimize keeping smallpox samples, the United States appears to be positioning itself to begin research that will create new threats from this eradicated virus.By international agreement, all research with smallpox virus must take place under the World Health Assembly’s (WHA) authorized research program. For many years the rationale to retain smallpox... [More]
28. April 2014 21:23
Newborn screening is practiced nationwide to detect rare conditions that may be life-threatening or require medical attention. Shortly after birth, the baby’s heel is pricked and a few drops of blood are placed on a special filter-paper blood spot card, which is sent to the state government laboratory for screening. According to a 2009 study published in the journal Public Health Genomics, nearly every child born in the United States is screened. However, not all parents know the... [More]
26. April 2014 01:13
I NEVER met my paternal grandfather. He died of the Spanish flu in 1919 at the age of 30, before his children and grandchildren ever got to know him. He was a brilliant mathematician and, as a scientist myself, I feel curious about what he was like. I take consolation from the fact that he lives on in me; after all, a quarter of my genes come from him.
He has been on my mind these past few years, as my research group and I have worked to sequence the genome of a Neanderthal, the close... [More]
24. April 2014 02:06
A law that would make Vermont the first U.S. state to enact mandatory labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, received final approval from state lawmakers on Wednesday and now heads to the governor's desk.
The Vermont House of Representative passed the bill 114-30. Last week, the Vermont Senate, by a vote of 28-2, approved the measure, which requires foods containing GMOs sold at retail outlets to be labeled as having been produced or partially produced wi... [More]
23. April 2014 23:53
The MTA is about to get a little more CSI.
City bus drivers will soon be armed with DNA swabs to gather evidence in the all-too-common event of an unhinged passenger spitting on them.
Transit workers catch a loogie 14 times a month, the MTA estimated in 2011.
The swab kits will be distributed to drivers once a new contract between the MTA and Transport Workers Union Local 100 is finalized, union sources confirmed. They’ll include swabs, a rinse and a sealed container to store ... [More]
23. April 2014 23:01
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission designate (IHREC designate) today published the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC's) observations on the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Bill 2013 (2013 Bill). The IHREC designate acknowledges the potential of a DNA Database System as a tool for the Garda Síochána for crime investigation. However, it recommends that the Bill include more safeguards which are essential to ensure that the Bill doe... [More]
23. April 2014 21:28
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is pushing adoption of its DNA barcoding system, which identifies individual fish species, in an effort to solve the species substitution problem in the United States.
The system creates DNA barcodes to identify individual fish species, a project the agency defines as “massive”. There are thought to be 30,000 species worldwide, and about 1,500 are sold commercially in the United States.
“As we run out of the most popular fis... [More]
21. April 2014 18:45
A study published this week has reawakened debate over the government's need to regulate human cloning.
In a paper in the journal Cell Stem Cell, researchers took the nucleus of skin cells from 35 and 75 year old men, and produced cloned human embryos. From those they were able to generate embryonic stem cells, valued because they can then be teased into becoming any tissues the body might need.
The researchers are quick to point out that they would never try to implant that embryo i... [More]