Genetic Testing and Tribal Identity

by jeeg 26. January 2015 21:54
  The genetic sequencing company 23andMe recently tapped into its vast bank of data to release a study on genetic origins, producing the biggest genetic profile of the United States ever conducted—big, but nowhere near complete. Out of more than 160,000 genomes, only 3 percent of 23andMe customers who authorized their data for the study were black, compared with the approximately 14 percent of the United States population who identifies as such. And while the paper traced what p... [More]

DNA Blood Test Gives Women A New Option For Prenatal Screening

by jeeg 26. January 2015 21:52
  When Amy Seitz got pregnant with her second child last year, she knew that being 35 years old meant there was an increased chance of chromosomal disorders like Down syndrome. She wanted to be screened, and she knew just what kind of screening she wanted — a test that's so new, some women and doctors don't quite realize what they've signed up for. This kind of test , called cell free fetal DNA testing, uses a simple blood sample from an expectant mother to analyze bits of fetal D... [More]

Even Elusive Animals Leave DNA, and Clues, Behind

by jeeg 23. January 2015 00:29
  You wouldn’t think hellbenders would be hard to find: The gargantuan salamanders, the biggest amphibians in North America, can grow up to 30 inches long. Yet hellbenders make themselves scarce, living on the bottoms of mountain streams, lurking under massive rocks. As a result, locating hellbenders takes a crew of scientists. First, some of them must wedge a long pole under a rock to hoist it up, and then their colleagues must plunge into the chilly water to catch their quarry. ... [More]

The Song Remains the Same

by jeeg 22. January 2015 21:20
As I listened to President Obama run through his checklist of proposals during the State of the Union speech the other night, I felt a bit of déjà vu at his mention of the promise of personalized medicine. Here’s what he said: “I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine -- one that delivers the right treatment at the right time… So tonight, I’m launching a new Precision Medicine Initi... [More]

Privacy is Dead, Invasive Technology is Here to Stay

by jeeg 22. January 2015 20:39
  Imagine a world where mosquito-sized robots fly around stealing samples of your DNA. Or where a department store knows from your buying habits that you're pregnant even before your family does. That is the terrifying dystopian world portrayed by a group of Harvard professors at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, where the assembled elite heard that the notion of individual privacy is effectively dead.   "Welcome to today. We're already in that world," said Margo Selt... [More]

Scientists claim breakthrough in taming genetically modified E.coli bacteria

by jeeg 22. January 2015 20:32
  Scientists have come up with a way to make genetically modified bacteria incapable of running wild in the natural world, according to two reports published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The secret is to make these microbes dependent on artificial food — synthetic amino acids that don’t occur in nature. In the wild, they’d starve and die. The scientists believe this is a critical step in making synthetic organisms more attractive to industry and far less likely to ... [More]

UK moratorium on use of genetic tests by insurers extended

by jeeg 21. January 2015 22:13
  The UK Government and Association of British Insurers (ABI) have agreed to extend their voluntary moratorium on the use of predictive genetic test results by insurers by another two years, to 2019. Originally established in 2001 and periodically reviewed and renewed ever since, the Concordat and Moratorium on Genetics and Insurance is a voluntary agreement intended to protect the interests of both individuals (by ensuring appropriate access to insurance) and of insurers (by ensuring... [More]

'Designer babies' debate should start, scientists say

by jeeg 19. January 2015 20:07
  Rapid progress in genetics is making "designer babies" more likely and society needs to be prepared, leading scientists have told the BBC. Dr Tony Perry, a pioneer in cloning, has announced precise DNA editing at the moment of conception in mice. He said huge advances in the past two years meant "designer babies" were no longer HG Wells territory. Other leading scientists and bioethicists argue it is time for a serious public debate on the issue. Designer babies - genetically ... [More]

NY State Police Investigating Cheating Allegations on DNA Tests

by jeeg 19. January 2015 20:05
  State police are looking into whether or not several of their forensic analysts cheated during a proficiency exam for new DNA test technology, technology that a local lawyer says shouldn't be allowed in New York courts. Defense attorney Fred Rench is challenging the validity of a DNA testing technology. It's called True Allele System 3, which police say would help forensic analysts interpret mixed DNA samples found at crime scenes. But, Rench says evidence obtained through True Allele... [More]

Redefining Mental Illness

by jeeg 19. January 2015 20:02
  TWO months ago, the British Psychological Society released a remarkable document entitled “Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia.” Its authors say that hearing voices and feeling paranoid are common experiences, and are often a reaction to trauma, abuse or deprivation: “Calling them symptoms of mental illness, psychosis or schizophrenia is only one way of thinking about them, with advantages and disadvantages.” The report says that there is no strict dividi... [More]
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