31. March 2015 22:34
The San Francisco police crime-lab technician and a supervisor implicated in alleged misconduct that could jeopardize hundreds of criminal cases failed a DNA proficiency exam last year and were barred from processing evidence, documents show.
Police Chief Greg Suhr said Monday that authorities were looking at 1,400 criminal cases that were prosecuted in part based on DNA work done by the technician — identified in court records as Mignon Dunbar — and her supervisor, Cheris... [More]
31. March 2015 22:30
A medical research study launched Tuesday aims to screen the genes of at least 20,000 people. Part of a surging tide of genetic research, this project would be unremarkable if not for the place it’s recruiting and communicating with volunteers: Facebook.
The scientists behind the project, Genes for Good, hope that Facebook users will send a tube of their spit to a laboratory at the University of Michigan and use a free Facebook app to fill out periodic surveys about their health... [More]
31. March 2015 00:01
GNC has agreed to implement new procedures in all of its 6,000 stores nationwide to authenticate its herbal supplements, following accusations from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that the company was selling tainted and mislabeled products.
In reaching what Schneiderman’s office is calling a “landmark agreement,” the Pennsylvania-based vitamin and supplement chain has agreed to perform DNA barcoding on the “active” plant ingredients used in... [More]
25. March 2015 23:05
For the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2014 was a bad year. After a series of errors in which some agency employees were potentially exposed to anthrax and others accidentally shipped a dangerous strain of influenza virus to another lab, director Tom Frieden imposed reforms to improve safety practices. Nevertheless, the CDC, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia, reported last December that some of its lab workers had potentially been exposed to the Ebola virus... [More]
25. March 2015 04:31
Today, Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), author of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who played a leading role in passing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), spoke out against legislation that would undermine privacy protections for employees of companies with corporate wellness programs. H.R. 1189, the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, would significantly limit the U.S. Equal Employment Oppo... [More]
23. March 2015 18:26
A major step forward in bringing back the woolly mammoth has been taken by scientists at Harvard University who have inserted DNA from the extinct mammal into the genetic code of an elephant.
Geneticists have studied DNA from mammoths which were preserved in Arctic permafrost looking for genes which separated them from elephants, such as hairiness and ear size.
They then replicated the genes and spliced them into the genetic code of an elephant where they functioned normal... [More]
20. March 2015 23:18
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recently had lab mishaps involving some of the world's most dangerous pathogens, does "inadequate" training, lacks leadership commitment toward safety and has a significant percentage of staff who are afraid to report accidents, according to the agency's own safety advisers.
"We are very concerned that the CDC is on the way to losing credibility," wrote the group of external biosafety experts, appointed by the agency as advisers in... [More]
20. March 2015 22:05
A group of leading biologists on Thursday called for a worldwide moratorium on use of a new genome-editing technique that would alter human DNA in a way that can be inherited.
The biologists fear that the new technique is so effective and easy to use that some physicians may push ahead before its safety can be assessed. They also want the public to understand the ethical issues surrounding the technique, which could be used to cure genetic diseases, but also to enhance qualities... [More]
19. March 2015 21:42
You may have heard that popular scientist Bill Nye has mysteriously revised his outlook on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Several years ago, the children’s show host advocated for the labeling of genetically modified foods, citing concerns about what GMOs could do to ecosystems. But now his position on the controversial technology has flipped. This development is the latest in a trend spearheaded by agribusiness giants to discredit the GMO labeling mov... [More]
16. March 2015 21:04
Replacing faulty genes in early human embryos and germ cells is within our grasp. Such changes affect DNA in the nucleus and so would be heritable; ultimately, they could be used to make a genetically modified baby.
There are already reports that groups in China, the US and the biotech industry have done this kind of genetic engineering in the lab, prompting some scientists to call for a moratorium on this work. But the underlying technology is potentially hugely disruptive, offering ... [More]