30. April 2015 21:08
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has reaffirmed its ban on research that involves gene-editing of human embryos. In a statement released on 29 April, NIH director Francis Collins spelled out the agency’s long-standing policy against funding such research and the ethical and legal reasons for it.
The statement comes after Nature’s report last week that researchers in China had used a gene-editing technology called CRISPR to remove disease genes from a human embryo... [More]
30. April 2015 01:51
A Vermont law that could make the state the first in the country to require labeling of genetically modified food has been allowed by a federal judge to stand for now despite opposition by food industry groups.
U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss in Burlington on Monday ruled against the Grocery Manufacturers' Association and other industry groups in their request for a preliminary order to block the law from going into effect as scheduled on July 1, 2016.
The judge partially g... [More]
28. April 2015 23:32
President Obama proposes to plunk down $215 million on "precision medicine," and the National Institutes of Health and its National Cancer Institute will spend it by sequencing the whole genome of a million or more Americans.
Is whole-genome testing the path to health? The short answer is no.
The main problem with the proposal is that the research is bound to produce more noise than signal. The issue isn't genetics but "big" data. The basic idea of precision medicine is to look ... [More]
28. April 2015 21:44
Think of all the trouble that computer hackers cause. Now imagine what DNA hackers could do.
In the future, DNA hackers won’t sneak viruses into your laptop and crash websites. Instead, they’ll sneak viruses into your body and crash you, and maybe billions of other people, too. They’ll do this by designing DNA sequences that code for new, never-before-seen, living viruses that spread from person to person as easily as measles, and that kill (or sicken) as inevit... [More]
28. April 2015 21:41
Your employer may one day help determine if your genes are why your jeans have become too snug.
Big companies are considering blending genetic testing with coaching on nutrition and exercise to help workers lose weight and improve their health before serious conditions like diabetes or heart disease develop. It's a step beyond the typical corporate wellness programs that many companies are using to make workers more aware of their risk factors and improve their health.
Genetic t... [More]
24. April 2015 21:27
The experiment with human embryos was dreaded, yet widely anticipated. Scientists somewhere, researchers said, were trying to edit genes with a technique that would permanently alter the DNA of every cell so any changes would be passed on from generation to generation.
Those concerns drove leading researchers to issue urgent calls in major scientific journals last month to halt such work on human embryos, at least until it could be proved safe and until society decided if it was... [More]
24. April 2015 18:23
An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth.
A US team is already attempting to study the animals' characteristics by inserting mammoth genes into elephant stem cells.
They want to find out what made the mammoths different from their modern relatives and how their adaptations helped them survive the ice ages.
The new genome study has been published in the journal Current Biology.
Dr Love Dalén, at the Swedish Museum of Natural ... [More]
24. April 2015 00:03
The Washington Post published a story so horrifying this weekend that it would stop your breath: “The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.”
What went wrong? The Post continues: “Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comp... [More]
23. April 2015 20:04
For the first time, scientists have edited DNA in human embryos, a highly controversial step long considered off limits.
Junjiu Huang and his colleagues at the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, performed a series of experiments involving 86 human embryos to see if they could make changes in a gene known as HBB, which causes the sometimes fatal blood disorder beta-thalassemia.
The report, in the journal Protein & Cell, was immediately condemned by other scientists and... [More]
22. April 2015 22:17
The NBA’s new drug testing policy will allow for a lot more than just checking for juiced up players. It could allow for tracking each player’s every move—from a drive to the basket, to a drive to a girlfriend’s house. Sound far-fetched? Owners are saying they want it to be a reality.
On Thursday, right before the before basketball fans were gearing up for the start of what should prove to be a thrilling slate of playoff games, the NBA and the National Basketbal... [More]