Y All the Hype?

by jeeg 9. May 2014 21:22
  Last month two Nature studies on the Y chromosome were in the news, trumpeted as revealing “differences in men’s and women’s bodies, differences found as deep down as the cellular level.” The coverage of the studies offers an allegory for our age about the way scientific hype and a fascination with the sex binary continue to influence scientific research on sex today. The New York Times reported that scientists had discovered 12 genes on the Y chromosome that... [More]

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing: a case of potential harm

by jeeg 8. May 2014 23:48
  Last November, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a “cease and desist” order to 23andMe, a major purveyor of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing. In its letter to the company—issued after three prior warnings—the FDA reiterated its view that 23andMe’s Personal Genome Service (PGS) constitutes a medical device requiring further premarket evaluation: FDA is concerned about the public health consequences of inaccurate results from the PGS... [More]

DNA deal reached in Christa Worthington murder case

by jeeg 7. May 2014 22:15
  State police will destroy electronic data containing the profile of a former Provincetown man's DNA that was collected during a highly publicized murder investigation, according to a settlement reached in Suffolk Superior Court. Keith Amato filed suit in 2008 alleging that the state police, Cape and Islands District Attorney's Office and state police crime lab violated his civil rights after the investigation into the murder of Truro resident Christa Worthington by retaining his DNA p... [More]

Their Foremothers’ Daughters

by jeeg 7. May 2014 20:53
  ‘Give me children or I shall die,” said Rachel to her husband Jacob, speaking for many women of the Bible who struggled to have children, and figured out how to do it.  [Genesis 30:1] Rachel ordered Jacob to sleep with her servant; Sarah did likewise to Abraham. Tamar became pregnant by pretending to be a prostitute. And Hannah promised her son to the priesthood, if only God would give her one. Today, these texts have special significance to the many American Jewish w... [More]

China Puts the Kibosh on Genetic Testing, Surprising Even Genetic Experts

by jeeg 7. May 2014 20:35
  Genetic testing has been halted in China. This unexpected decree was announced in February. Government officials cited challenges surrounding “ethics, privacy, and the protection of human heredity resources, in a message posted on the China Food and Drug Administration’s website. Authorities named prenatal DNA tests in particular as an area of concern in genetic testing. This may surprise pathologists and clinical laboratory professionals, who have regularly read abo... [More]

US biodefence facilities ramp up

by jeeg 6. May 2014 22:26
  The future of the US government’s biodefence strategy sits in a warehouse in rural Texas. A dozen gleaming-white trailers, each about the length of a bus, hold equipment for producing millions of doses of medical countermeasures against some of the world’s deadliest threats. These mobile clean rooms can be configured to manufacture vaccines against pandemic influenza or antidotes to biological, chemical or radioactive agents. Each room can be unplugged from the pipes that s... [More]

Genomic tools will test our resolve to remain flawed

by jeeg 6. May 2014 22:07
  Most Canadian women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome opt for an abortion, and recent advances in prenatal genome sequencing could offer hundreds of new reasons to end a pregnancy. Yet there are no rules to govern how this new technology can be used. Several medical technology companies are offering non-invasive tests to detect the chromosomal anomaly that leads to Down syndrome using fetal DNA recovered from the mother’s blood. Screening for Down syndrome with ... [More]

Top WIPO Official Accused of DNA Theft

by jeeg 6. May 2014 21:27
  The top American official at the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization has accused its Director General, Francis Gurry, of “serious misconduct”  and “violations of national and international law” in connection with a bizarre series of alleged 2008 burglaries of staffers’ offices to obtain samples of their DNA. The official, James Pooley, is one of Gurry’s four top deputies, and also a highly regarded U.S. patent la... [More]

CDC: Lifespan more to do with geography than genetics

by jeeg 6. May 2014 21:16
  Living in the Southeast is bad for your health. There is a huge range in the death rates across American states, driven by public policy, regional habits and socioeconomics, Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday. "Your longevity and health are more determined by your ZIP code than they are by your genetic code," he said. The death rate from the five major causes varies at least twofold between the healthiest states – such as... [More]

This company wants to make your DNA untraceable

by jeeg 5. May 2014 20:13
  As the scope of the NSA's bulk surveillance program becomes all too clear, less attention has been paid to the issues surrounding genetic information and surveillance. BioGenFutures, a new company-cum-art-project launched by information artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, hopes to bring DNA surveillance back to the fore. The company just announced a product it calls "Invisible," which endeavors to make it harder for authorities to trace left-behind DNA evidence back to people. Not only ... [More]
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