Protect Californian' DNA privacy

by jeeg 12. February 2015 22:15
  The recent hackings of millions of consumers’ personal information from health insurer Anthem and hospital group Community Health Systems highlight the need to maintain the privacy of individuals’ health records. So it is welcome news that Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Glendale, has introduced a bill to protect the privacy of Californians’ blood and DNA samples taken at birth. All states collect blood samples from newborns to test for a number of health disorders. But Ca... [More]

Seizing DNA In Vermont

by jeeg 11. February 2015 01:14
  Say this for the Vermont Legislature: Sometimes it just won’t take “no” for an answer, even when it should know better. In 2009, the Legislature passed a law extending the requirement to provide DNA samples from only those convicted of felonies to those merely charged with them. Last summer, the Vermont Supreme Court overturned that provision, holding it to be a violation of the Vermont Constitution’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Than... [More]

Are Your Medications Safe?

by jeeg 11. February 2015 01:09
  The FDA buries evidence of fraud in medical trials. My students and I dug it up. Agents of the Food and Drug Administration know better than anyone else just how bad scientific misbehavior can get. Reading the FDA’s inspection files feels almost like watching a highlights reel from a Scientists Gone Wild video. It’s a seemingly endless stream of lurid vignettes—each of which catches a medical researcher in an unguarded moment, succumbing to the temptation to do thing... [More]

Can scientists bring mammoths back to life by cloning?

by jeeg 11. February 2015 01:02
  When Dolly the sheep was cloned from the mammary cell of a Finn-Dorset sheep in 1996, the public imagined growing identical copies of all sorts of animals. The process, known as somatic cloning, tempted us with the idea that if we could obtain just a single working nucleus from any cell, we could reproduce the entire animal. Scientists’ minds jumped quickly to woolly mammoths, which became extinct 4,000 years ago. The frozen carcasses that occasionally emerge from the Earth&rsqu... [More]

Long-term storage of digital information in DNA is possible

by jeeg 9. February 2015 23:53
  It is evident from samples from mammoths, bears, and other fossils: sequenceable DNA can last up to several hundred thousand years. But one does not necessarily need fossil bones as capsules of silica glass spheres can do the same job, as Robert N. Grass and colleagues from the ETH Zurich demonstrate in their Communication in Angewandte Chemie ("Robust Chemical Preservation of Digital Information on DNA in Silica with Error-Correcting Codes").  In recent years, there have bee... [More]

Law Professor Asks Supreme Court to Hear DNA Case

by jeeg 5. February 2015 22:50
Prof. Warnken Seeks Overturning of Client’s Rape Case, Hopes Justices Will Consider Implications of ‘Sweat Test’ University of Baltimore School of Law Associate Professor Byron L. Warnken has filed a request with the United States Supreme Court, seeking a hearing in hopes of overturning a criminal conviction against a client whose constitutional rights were violated, Warnken claims, through the use of so-called “sweat-test” evidence—DNA collected surrep... [More]

Utah’s Myriad Genetics settling gene patent lawsuits

by jeeg 5. February 2015 22:48
  One of Utah's leading medical technology companies, Myriad Genetics, is settling lawsuits related to several of its patents on genes related to breast and ovarian cancers, opening up competition it has not seen in nearly 15 years. Following an adverse appeals court ruling, Salt Lake City-based Myriad has settled five of seven lawsuits that were launched after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that invalidated parts of Myriad's patents related to genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, th... [More]

Genetic Flotsam Offers Clues to Ocean Biodiversity

by jeeg 5. February 2015 00:16
    When scientists want to know what life-forms live in deep water, they have to send submersibles or cast nets and grabs hung from long cables. These methods are expensive, however, and they offer only a hint of the biodiversity hidden far below the waves. “In the deep sea,” says John Bickham of Battelle Memorial Institute, “we’re back in the 1700s. We have no idea what’s out there.” On land, genetic methods revolutionized bacterial taxon... [More]

Let public have greater say over big health data

by jeeg 5. February 2015 00:13
  We risk harming the huge potential of mass medical data in health research unless public concerns are properly addressed Digital data are being amassed at an astonishing rate. This vast store presents great opportunities for science. Health data – for example, from biomarkers, medical imaging and genome analysis – offer a rich resource. Combined with data about lifestyle, diet and living and working environments, they can yield new insights on the causes of disease an... [More]

New York State starts to crack down on mislabeled pills with DNA barcoding

by jeeg 4. February 2015 22:46
  What's that in your St. John's wort supplement, or your ginkgo biloba pill? What if it's not the plant you thought at all? The New York State Attorney General's office DNA-tested dozens of bottles of big-brand supplements to determine what they actually contained, the New York Times reports today. Several previous studies had found a surprising number of herbal supplements both contain ingredients they don't list… and don't seem to contain ingredients they do list. That proved t... [More]
Log in