Read this before you freak out over gene-edited superbabies

by jeeg 5. May 2015 23:06
  Sit down America, and let’s talk about making babies. Specifically, designer babies. Because ever since in vitro fertilization made it possible for parents to select embryos with the best genetics, precisely-engineered progeny have been a big fear. And now that a powerful gene-editing technique has been used on human embryos, it’s fine to get a little freaked out. So let’s talk about 21st century trust fund babies with privilege notarized onto their DNA, med... [More]

False positive highlights limitations of familial DNA searching

by jeeg 4. May 2015 23:30
  Michael Usry, a young New Orleans filmmaker, has a flair for the macabre. His award-winning output includes titles like “Murderabilia,” a dark production that spotlights the trade in collectibles related to real-life killings and other violent crimes. Usry’s work can come off as gratuitously violent, as in a clip from the short film “Winding Down” in which his protagonist disembowels a corpse in a basement. But for the Idaho Falls Police Department, h... [More]

When Food Is Genetically Modified

by jeeg 4. May 2015 23:27
To the Editor: Re “How I Got Converted to G.M.O. Food” (NY Times Sunday Review, April 26): Mark Lynas claims that there is a scientific consensus on the safety of consuming G.M.O. plants. There is nothing intrinsically safe or dangerous when genes from distant species are introduced into plants. Each genetically modified food is a separate entity that must be independently and rigorously tested to ensure its safety. Unfortunately, current United States regulations do not require s... [More]

NIH reiterates ban on editing human embryo DNA

by jeeg 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]

Vermont Law on GMO Labels Stands

by jeeg 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]

Why whole-genome testing hurts more than it helps

by jeeg 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]

How Future Hackers Will Target Your DNA

by jeeg 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]

Genetic Testing Moves Into World of Employee Health

by jeeg 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]

Chinese Scientists Edit Genes of Human Embryos, Raising Concerns

by jeeg 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]

Mammoth genome sequence completed

by jeeg 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]
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