Eugenics lurk in the shadow of CRISPR

by jeeg 22. May 2015 23:28
  IN CALLING THEIR Perspective “A prudent path forward for genomic engineering and germline gene modification” (3 April, p. 36; published online 19 March), D. Baltimore et al. show at once the size of the problem and the modesty of their response to it.  CRISPR-Cas9, invented by the ninth author, Jennifer Doudna, allows the alteration of specific DNA in the mammalian genome. The authors say that “CRISPR-Cas9 technology, as well as other genome engineering method... [More]

If Canada does not act to protect genetic data, we could see the rise of genetic discrimination

by jeeg 21. May 2015 23:27
  Earlier this month the Senate Human Rights Committee gutted a bill calling for a law against genetic discrimination in Canada. Instead of protecting Canadians from having their personal genetic information used against them, the bill now simply provides a definition of “disclose” and “genetic test,” and protects no one. More than 26,000 genetic tests are now available to the public. Many do-it-yourself tests, like those offered by mail from the California-based... [More]

U.S. science leaders to tackle ethics of gene-editing technology

by jeeg 19. May 2015 23:27
  The leading U.S. scientific organization, responding to concerns expressed by scientists and ethicists, has launched an ambitious initiative to recommend guidelines for new genetic technology that has the potential to create "designer babies." The technology, called CRISPR-Cas9, allows scientists to edit virtually any gene they target. The technique is akin to a biological word-processing program that finds and replaces genetic defects. The technique has taken biology by storm, ... [More]

Creepy Ads Use Litterbugs’ DNA to Shame Them Publicly

by jeeg 18. May 2015 21:05
  Next time you’re about to toss a cigarette butt on the ground, consider this freaky fact: It takes less than a nanogram (or less than one billionth of the mass of a penny) of your dried saliva for scientists to construct a digital portrait that bears an uncanny resemblance to your very own face. For proof look to Hong Kong, where a recent ad campaign takes advantage of phenotyping, the prediction of physical appearance based on bits of DNA, to publicly shame people who have li... [More]

Newborn screening collides with privacy fears

by jeeg 16. May 2015 00:59
  The wrinkled heel of nearly every baby in the United States is pricked at birth, and a few drops of blood are dabbed on filter paper and shipped off for analysis. Started in the 1960s, this newborn screening program tests for more than 30 rare and serious diseases that are treatable if caught early in life. Now, many public health experts who help run or advise the program are worried what the future holds. A new law shaped by a coalition of privacy advocates and conservative politicia... [More]

It’s Time to Require Labels for GMOs

by jeeg 16. May 2015 00:29
  The decision by Chipotle to stop using genetically modified foods is only the latest examples of the effects of public concerns about technologically altered foods. This decisions was predictable: Once the industry convinced the Food and Drug Administration that GMOs should not be required to be labeled as such, public backlash was only a matter of time. I’m only surprised that it took 20 years to get to this point. I was a member of the FDA Food Advisory Committee when the agen... [More]

Here’s how Apple, Google, and Microsoft are trying to get inside your genes-CRG in the News

by jeeg 13. May 2015 23:50
  Not satisfied by having our emails, chats, status updates, search histories, clicking behaviors, and shopping preferences, some of Silicon Valley’s most powerful tech titans are in an arms race to get access to your most personal information: your DNA. Last week, for instance, the MIT Technology Review reported that Apple was looking to integrate genetic data into studies that run atop its new open-source research platform, ResearchKit. That should come as no surprise. There&rsq... [More]

Moving the GMO Debate Beyond Science-CRG in the News

by jeeg 12. May 2015 22:40
For years, supporters and opponents of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) have debated questions ranging from the safety of engineered crops, to their effects on animals, plants, and the broader environment. But in attributing the stance of GMO opponents to “intuitive reasoning” Stefaan Blancke, Ph.D., and colleagues showed how much supporters have shifted the debate beyond science, toward the thinking of opponents. They cite GMO acceptance by science groups ... [More]

Is DNA the next frontier in privacy?-CRG in the News

by jeeg 11. May 2015 23:34
    In late January, President Barack Obama announced what some have called a moonshot. The $215 million Precision Medicine Initiative seeks to transform the health care system to target therapies to patients according to their unique genetics and environment. The most ambitious part of the initiative is a proposal to enroll 1 million people in essentially a superstudy. Their genomes will be sequenced, their medical experiences will be chronicled through their electr... [More]

Apple Has Plans for Your DNA

by jeeg 6. May 2015 21:14
  Of all the rumors ever to swirl around the world’s most valuable company, this may be the first that could involve spitting in a plastic cup.   Apple is collaborating with U.S. researchers to launch apps that would offer some iPhone owners the chance to get their DNA tested, many of them for the first time, according to people familiar with the plans.   The apps are based on ResearchKit, a software platform Apple introduced in March that helps hosp... [More]
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