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About Sequencing & Genomics


An organism's genome refers to all the hereditary information encoded in its genes. Sequencing a complete genome, a gene, or a fragment of genetic material involves determining the order of its sub-units: adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine.

Scientists are using individuals' genetic sequences to map and catalog human genetic variation in order to improve understanding of human biology, disease susceptibility, and drug response. As costs falls rapidly, the scale and speed of gene sequencing is increasing. The Human Genome Project required thirteen years and $3 billion to sequence the first complete, general human genome. Subsequent projects, such as the International HapMap Project, examined genetic variation between population groups, raising concerns of giving undue biological significance to social categories of race.

Now, the sequencing of complete genomes of specific individuals is becoming almost routine. For example, the Personal Genome Project plans to sequence 100,000 genomes.

Lower prices have also opened the door to companies that offer personal, direct-to-consumer genetic tests.


When Baby-Making Moves From the Bedroom to the Laboratoryby Natalie SchreyerMother JonesJuly 28th, 2016Hank Greely discusses the growing shift towards assisted reproduction.
Human Enhancement Freaks People Out, Study Finds; Designer Babies Might 'Meddle With Nature'by Ed CaraMedical DailyJuly 26th, 2016Survey reveals more wariness than excitement for genetic technologies that would 'enhance' people.
Human Enhancement: The Scientific and Ethical Dimensions of Striving for Perfectionby David MasciPew Research CenterJuly 26th, 2016Genetic technologies raise questions ranging from the technical to the social.
Craig Venter’s Latest Productionby Arlene WeintraubMIT Technology ReviewJuly 25th, 2016Venter's startup is using data to explore the links between our DNA and illness.
Taking Genomic Data Globalby Elizabeth WoykeMIT Technology ReviewJuly 25th, 2016Startups focused on Asia are among those aiming to bring precision medicine to far more people.
Chinese parents look to genes to see what talents their child hasby Yang XiGlobal TimesJuly 24th, 2016Some parents believe this helps them make parenting decisions, including what extracurricular activities their children pursue.
Chinese scientists to pioneer first human CRISPR trialby David CyranoskiNature NewsJuly 21st, 2016Gene-editing technique to treat lung cancer is due to be tested in people in August.
Gene Therapy Trial Wrenches Families as One Child’s Death Saves Anotherby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJuly 20th, 2016New DNA fix stops brain-destroying terminal illness, but only if it’s given early enough.
Recruiter Matchtech changes name to Gattaca - same as the hit Hollywood movie about eugenicsby Alan ToveyThe TelegraphJuly 18th, 2016The company claims they did not even consider the connection to the film when they chose the new name.
The White House Is Pushing Precision Medicine, but It Won’t Happen for Yearsby Mike OrcuttMIT Technology ReviewJuly 18th, 2016Costs are high and the science is not developed enough.
Do CRISPR enthusiasts have their head in the sand about the safety of gene editing? by Sharon BegleySTATJuly 18th, 2016Off-target effects and other concerns around genome editing should be taken more seriously.
Genome Tea Leavesby Sheldon KrimskyLos Angeles Review of BooksJuly 17th, 2016A review of Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Gene: An Intimate History and Steven Monroe Lipkin’s The Age of Genomes: Tales from the Front Lines of Genetic Medicine.
U.N. rights panel urges Kuwait to amend broad DNA testing lawby Stephanie NebehayReutersJuly 15th, 2016The compulsory DNA testing would be a significant violation of people's privacy.
Why Kickstarter’s Glowing Plant Left Backers in the Darkby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJuly 15th, 2016Do-it-yourself biologists who hit the crowdfunding jackpot have learned that genetic engineering isn’t so easy after all.
FDA Lets Cancer Trial Resume after 3 Patient Deathsby Damian GardeSTATJuly 12th, 2016After only two days, the FDA accepted Juno Therapeutics reason for the deaths and allowed the trial to continue.
One Country's Disturbing Project to Build a Complete DNA Databank of Every Citizen and Foreign Visitor Is Already Underway by Ava KofmanAlternetJuly 11th, 2016The Gulf nation of Kuwait plans to build the world’s largest DNA database this year.
Gene Editing: The Dual-use Conundrumby Janet PhelanNew Eastern OutlookJuly 11th, 2016Genome editing, particularly germline editing, has been declared a “weapon of mass destruction.”
CAR-T Deaths Cannot Be Goodby Derek LoweScience AAAS July 8th, 2016The deaths will likely move other biotech companies to conduct research with extra caution.
After a deadly clinical trial, will immune therapies for cancer be a bust?by Damian GardeSTATJuly 8th, 2016The deaths were caused by swelling in the brain during the clinical trial.
First he pioneered a new way of making life. Now he wants to try it in peopleby Karen WeintraubSTATJuly 8th, 2016Three-parent IVF has been tried in monkeys, but further research is needed to fully assess safety and effectiveness.
Sustainable Week: Fixing Our Broken Moral Compass[citing CGS’ Elliot Hosman]by Chuck SternBTRtoday July 8th, 2016Elliot Hosman critiques genetic determinism and encourages holding institutions accountable for their harmful actions.
Why scientists' failure to understand GM opposition is stifling debate and halting progress by Sarah HartleyThe ConversationJuly 7th, 2016There are both scientific and social problems with the GM crop "Golden Rice."
A DNA Test Won’t Explain Elizabeth Warren’s Ancestryby Matt MillerSlateJune 29th, 2016Could more data that would improve the precision of ancestry tests? Probably not — in fact, it might get more complicated.
This scientist is trying to stop a lab-created global disasterby Kristen V. BrownFusionJune 27th, 2016"If we misuse our power, we lose the trust. That is the tightrope we walk," says Kevin Esvelt.
All about the base: New businesses eye the opportunities in managing genome dataThe EconomistJune 25th, 2016Currently, one firm - Illumina - controls 70% of a market worth $3.3 billion in 2015.
CRISPR Therapeutics adds $38M to Series B pot, but lags behind Parkerby Ben AdamsFierce BiotechJune 24th, 2016An NIH committee has backed a study funded by billionaire Sean Parker that will attempt to alter the T cells of 15 people with cancer.
They’re going to CRISPR people. What could possibly go wrong?by Sharon BegleySTATJune 23rd, 2016Possible consequences range from off-target alterations to conflicts of interest in the clinical trial.
Stem Cells: Where Science, Hope and Hype Meetby Danielle VentonKQED NewsJune 22nd, 2016California voters "were led to believe...that stem cell therapies were miraculous cures that were right around the corner...but that didn’t really reflect scientific reality."
23andMe Sells Data for Drug Searchby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJune 21st, 201623andMe is monetizing DNA rather the way Facebook makes money from our "likes." What’s more, it gets its customers to pay for the privilege.
Federal Oversight Group Has Complaints But Says Yes To CRISPR Trialby Alex LashXconomyJune 21st, 2016Despite worries about conflict of interest, an NIH committee voted to let researchers move ahead with a clinical trial that could be the first use of CRISPR-Cas9 in a human treatment.
Money Behind First CRISPR Test? It’s from Internet Billionaire Sean Parkerby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJune 20th, 2016Parker’s foundation is unusual because it says it will control patents on research it funds and even bring treatments to market.
First Human Test of CRISPR Proposedby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJune 16th, 2016The proposed cancer treatment is an immune therapy in which a patient’s own blood cells will be removed and genetically altered.
How iPS cells changed the worldby Megan ScudellariNatureJune 15th, 2016Though therapies using induced pluripotent stem cells have proved challenging, iPS cells have become important for modelling and investigating human diseases, as well as for screening drugs.
Gene drive debate must include voices from Africa, elsewhereby Richard Nchabi KamwiSTATJune 15th, 2016The conversations have been missing the perspectives of representatives from malaria-affected countries, largely in South and Central America, Africa, and southern Asia.
Should We Sequence the DNA of Every Cancer Patient?by Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJune 14th, 2016A startup plans to give free genetic tests to 100,000 cancer patients in order to steer them to drug companies.
Myriad Genetics Refuses To Accept That People Have A Right To Access Their Own DNA Sequencesby Glyn MoodyTech DirtJune 13th, 2016Despite major court rulings against gene patents, Myriad still refuses to release information from its huge DNA database built over years of sequencing patients' BRCA genes.
Are DIY gene-testing kits a good idea? by Sharon BrennanThe Guardian June 13th, 2016Over-the-counter genetic tests leave some people knowing they may develop a serious illness but unable to do anything about it.
Better Mitochondrial Replacement: But Why? by Ricki LewisPLOSJune 9th, 2016As long as there are alternative ways to have healthy children, efforts to manipulate mitochondria, unless directed at developing a treatment for patients, should stop.
Lab-grown mini-guts open door to personalised medicineby Tarek BazleyAl JazeeraJune 9th, 2016Dutch researchers have used the organoid technology to choose medication tailored for individual patients.
The National Academies’ Gene Drive study has ignored important and obvious issues by Jim ThomasThe Guardian June 9th, 2016Some important gaps in the study include an analysis of The report ducks questions about militarization, commercialization, and food security, but acknowledges there is "insufficient evidence to support the environmental release of gene drives."
Interview: “Democratic deliberation” and bioethicsby Nelson Michael & Xavier SymonsBioEdgeJune 8th, 2016A member of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues discusses the state of US bioethics.
Genetically engineered bugs to fight malaria and Zika? Not so fast, experts sayby Joel AchenbachThe Washington PostJune 8th, 2016The use of "gene drive" technologies threaten incalculable harm to ecosystems worldwide.
‘Silicon Valley arrogance’? Google misfires as it strives to turn Star Trek fiction into realityby Charles PillerSTAT NewsJune 6th, 2016Google has positioned itself to be a giant in life sciences, but its setbacks and prominent scientists’ skepticism call into question this vision of the future of medicine.
Gene editing technique could transform future [citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Fergus WalshBBC NewsJune 6th, 2016In a nightmare, "I realised with horror that it was Hitler and I was being expected to discuss this technology with him and he eagerly wanting to use it."
Swiss back genetic testing of embryos (again)by Celia LuterbacherSwiss InfoJune 5th, 2016Testing embryos can prevent transmission of serious genetic diseases, but also threatens discrimination against people with disabilities and a "slippery slope toward eugenics."
A 'family spat' spills out in public, as scientists debate effort to build a human genome by Andrew JosephSTAT NewsJune 4th, 2016Although it’s not a goal of the project, brewing up a complete synthetic human genome could lead, in theory, to the formation of an actual person, sans parents.
The Problem With Super-Muscly Pigsby Judith Benz-Schwarzburg & Arianna FerrariSlateJune 3rd, 2016Technologies to genetically engineer sentient animals for meat production raise questions about the human-animal relationship.
25 Scientists Just Made A $1 Billion Pitch To Build A Human Genome From Scratchby Nidhi SubbaramanBuzzFeedJune 2nd, 2016Drew Endy and Laurie Zoloth argue the project fails to ask a basic question: “Is developing capacities to synthesize human genomes a good idea?”
Scientists Announce HGP-Write, Project to Synthesize the Human Genomeby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesJune 2nd, 2016Synthesizing a human genome "immediately raise[s] numerous ethical and philosophical red flags," NIH director Francis Collins said.
Scientists Say They Hope To Create A Human Genome In The Labciting CGS' Marcy Darnovskyby Rob SteinNPRJune 2nd, 2016"The worry is that we're going to be synthesizing entire optimized human genomes...to produce synthetic human beings that they see as improved models," said Marcy Darnovsky.
Public Interest Organization Comment on Synthetic Human Genome Project[Press statement]June 2nd, 2016Twenty-five scientists and corporate figures call for a ten-year project to construct a synthetic human genome from scratch.
California's StemCells, Inc., Flatlines; A Look at the Implicationsby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJune 1st, 2016The company's sudden shutdown surprised and shocked some, but it also demonstrated the level of risk in stem cell research.
The False Promise of DNA Testingby Matthew SchaerThe AtlanticJune 1st, 2016The forensic technique is becoming ever more common—and ever less reliable.
Genes Are Overratedby Nathaniel ComfortThe AtlanticJune 1st, 2016The discovery of DNA wasn’t predestined, nor does it dictate our destiny—and current ideas about it may die.
Opioids: Can a Genetic Test Identify an Addict in the Making?by Kristina FioreMedPage TodayMay 29th, 2016Two companies engage in "laboratory developed tests" to determine the role of genetics in addiction.
British scientist can genetically modify human embryos, ethics committee saysby Lydia WillgressThe Telegraph [UK]May 27th, 2016Following HFEA approval in February, a local ethics committee approves Kathy Niakan's program to CRISPR human embryos for basic research.
How should we pay for gene therapy?by Aaron Carroll (The Incidental Economist)Academy Health BlogMay 27th, 2016Unless pricing is regulated, gene therapies will likely be too expensive for most people to afford.
What It Means To Be Human Is Changing Thanks To Gene Editingby Joe Matthews (Zócalo Public Square)Huffington PostMay 27th, 2016“We might be splitting in class between those who can afford to manage our children eugenically and those who cannot.”
Tales of African-American History Found in DNAby Carl ZimmerThe New York TimesMay 27th, 2016Can genetic analyses can map histories of African American migration, slavery, and health? Critics argue such histories and identities cannot be reduced to genotype.
How Gene Testing Forced Me to Reveal My Private Health Informationby Jody AllardViceMay 27th, 2016Genetic testing can yield inconclusive results and undermine people's privacy and access to life, disability, and long-term care insurance.
Ethical Questions Loom Over Efforts to Make a Human Genome from Scratchby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewMay 25th, 2016Printing genomes on demand could mean custom-built organisms, difficult ethical questions, and profits for a handful of companies.
Will Modern Genetics Turn Us Into Gene “Genies”?[Collection of brief essays]by Marcy Darnovsky, Dan Sarewitz, Samuel Weiss Evans, Arvis Sulovari, Eric A. WidraZócalo Public SquareMay 24th, 2016Contributors discuss their stances on the dangers and potential benefits of gene manipulation.
Genome games: A secret meet and a controversyby Pete ShanksDeccan ChronicleMay 22nd, 2016A complete lack of transparency around a gathering to discuss synthetic human genomes triggers anger worldwide.
In Search For Cures, Scientists Create Embryos That Are Both Animal And Humanby Rob SteinNPRMay 18th, 2016"You're getting into unsettling ground that I think is damaging to our sense of humanity."
Huntington’s disease: the new gene therapy that sufferers cannot affordby Dara MohammadiThe Guardian [UK]May 15th, 2016Efforts to treat Huntington’s disease involve costly drugs way beyond the reach of the poor communities in South America who take part in research studies
Orphan Black emphasizes the science in its sci-fi with a disturbing chapter on eugenicsby Caroline FramkeVoxMay 15th, 2016The BBC America series about human clones is now tackling the personal, scientific, and societal implications of eugenics, gene editing, and germline engineering.
The disturbing thing that happens when you tell people they have different DNAby Ana SwansonWonkblog [The Washington Post]May 13th, 2016A new study suggests that emphasizing essential differences based on genetics can encourage aggression between groups and stir support for war.
Scientists Hold Secret Meeting to Consider Creating a Synthetic Human Genomeby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesMay 13th, 2016An invitation to the Harvard meeting said the primary goal “would be to synthesize a complete human genome in a cell line within a period of ten years.”
Top scientists hold closed meeting to discuss building a human genome from scratch[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Ike SwetlitzSTATMay 13th, 2016If we can build a synthetic genome — and eventually, a creature — from the ground up, then what does it mean to be human?
After rivals’ IPOs, will CRISPR Therapeutics go public or stay buttoned-down?by Damian GardeSTATMay 12th, 2016Like CRISPR Therapeutics, Intellia and Editas were once cagey about their development pipelines, but in documents filed with the government prior to their IPOs, they had to spell out the what, when, and how of their work.
Is academic achievement written into your DNA? It’s complicatedby Sharon BegleySTATMay 11th, 2016Behavioral genetics has long been notorious for claiming complex behaviors are the inevitable product of inherited genes. Altogether 74 genes explain less than .05% of differences in education levels.
Meet The Scientists Fighting For More Studies On Genes And Racial Differences In Healthby Peter AldhousBuzzFeedMay 11th, 2016Many question if medicine should seek genetic differences based on a social construct like race, diverting research away from environmental health impacts.
Scientists are trying to use CRISPR to fix everything. What’s wrong with that?by Emily McManusTED IdeasMay 5th, 2016A historian of eugenics asks: "Will individuals start making decisions to use new biotech to improve themselves and their children?"
The World’s Most Expensive Medicine Is a Bustby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewMay 5th, 2016The first gene therapy approved in the Western world costs $1 million and has been used just once.
Hacking CRISPR: Patents, Gene Therapy & Embryosby Elliot HosmanMay 5th, 2016As gene editing experiments on human embryos spread, piecemeal hacks of CRISPR are outpacing discussions of the futures it might enable.
Why this lab-grown human embryo has reignited an old ethical debate[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Patrick MonahanScience/AAASMay 4th, 2016It’s easy to obey a rule when you don’t have the means to break it. Now two teams report growing human embryos nearly that long, prompting some scientists and bioethicists to contend that it’s time to revisit the so-called 14-day rule.
New advances in growing human embryos could prompt ethical firestorm[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Eric BoodmanSTATMay 4th, 2016Changing the 14-day rule is an explosive question in an era when CRISPR gene-editing has sparked fears about “designer babies.”
Cultural Influences Reflected in Divergent US vs UK Human Embryo Research Policies[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Eli Y. AdashiThe JAMA ForumMay 3rd, 2016Reactions to CRISPR gene editing experiments depend upon a country's existing laws and regulation.
The gene editor CRISPR won’t fully fix sick people anytime soon. Here’s whyby Jocelyn KaiserScience/AAASMay 3rd, 2016After more than two decades of ups and downs, veterans of the gene therapy field are wary of raising expectations about CRISPR for treating diseases.
With CRISPR in Humans On the Horizon, Will the Public Back Intellia?by Alex LashXconomyApril 29th, 2016Intellia and Editas both lack what so many biotech investors crave: data from human clinical trials. As they race to the clinic, it's hard to tell if either company will pay off.
A Single $249 Test Analyzes 30 Cancer Genes. But Do You Need It?by Sarah ZhangWIREDApril 28th, 2016Color Genomics is marketing gene tests for 30 cancers, but doctors caution that our ability to sequence DNA has far outpaced our ability to understand what the results mean.
A DNA Sequencer in Every Pocketby Ed YongThe AtlanticApril 28th, 2016Oxford Nanopore Technologies, which severed financial ties with DNA sequencing monolith Illumina in 2013, is "desperately thinking of ways of bringing them down.” These include a USB-powered sequencer called the MinION.
Scientists solve CRISPR’s ‘Energizer bunny’ problemby Sharon BegleySTATApril 27th, 2016A new CRISPR system called "CORRECT" stopped Cas9 from cutting again and again, and allowed researchers to edit one but not both copies of a target gene.
Meet The New CEO Of The $22 Billion Genomics Company You've Never Heard Ofby Christine FarrFast CompanyApril 27th, 2016Gene-sequencing giant Illumina is expanding to direct-to-consumer tests and perhaps brand partnerships, says new CEO Francis deSouza.
Editorial: Editing human genes the CRISPR wayby Editorial BoardThe Chicago TribuneApril 27th, 2016Can we trust scientists and governments to set ethical boundaries for research and therapeutic use — and then stick to them? We're skeptical.
Researchers push for personalized tumour vaccinesby Heidi LedfordNature NewsApril 22nd, 2016Enthusiasm comes amid concerns about "irrational exuberance" over the rapid shift toward the personalized approach.
AstraZeneca launches project to sequence 2 million genomesby Heidi LedfordNature NewsApril 22nd, 2016One of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies is partnering with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Craig Venter's Human Longevity to look for rare genetic differences between individuals.
Save the Mosquitosby Ashley DawsonJacobinApril 22nd, 2016We should fight Zika with better public health, not genetically modified mosquitos.
Japanese scientists given green light to modify fertilized human eggs[citing CGS]RT [Russia Today]April 22nd, 2016A government bioethics panel in Japan is allowing CRISPR gene editing in human embryos only for basic research purposes.
We Still Haven’t Found a Fountain of Youth in Our DNAby Brian AlexanderMIT Technology ReviewApril 21st, 2016The Cypher Genomics project has been attempting to identify genetic variants that contribute to longevity, but so far there's no smoking gun.
Scientists unveil the ‘most clever CRISPR gadget’ so farby Sharon BegleySTATApril 20th, 2016A new "base editing" method attempts to switch out individual letters of DNA, but its usefulness and precision are unclear.
Kuwait Becomes First Country to Collect DNA Samples From All Citizens and Visitors: Reportby Seung LeeNewsweekApril 19th, 2016Kuwait will use mobile centers to collect samples from citizens, and take cheek swabs at airports on all visitors. Anyone faking DNA samples faces up to seven years in prison.
Gene-editing research in human embryos gains momentumby Ewen CallawayNature NewsApril 19th, 2016Research experiments are now approved in Sweden, China and the United Kingdom.
More People Seek Genetic Testing, But There Aren't Enough Counselorsby Todd BookmanNPRApril 18th, 2016The field of precision medicine is facing a bottleneck: "Who will actually interpret and provide those results to patients?"
In IVF, Questions About ‘Mosaic’ Embryosby Kira PeikoffThe New York TimesApril 18th, 201620% of embryos have both "normal" and "abnormal" cells, generating false positive genetic test results, and questions among fertility clinics about whether to implant.
CRISPR: Pursuit of profit poisons collaborationby Jacob S. SherkowNature April 13th, 2016Overzealous efforts to commercialize technology can damage science.
One Thing that Could Stop the Rise of Gene Editing: Insurance Companiesby Jason KoeblerMotherboard [VICE]April 12th, 2016If insurance companies refuse to cover potential new treatments involving gene editing, they might be limited to those who can afford the expense.
Identity, disability and the genomeby Felicity BoardmanBioNewsApril 11th, 2016The voices of families living with the genetic diseases to be targeted by germline gene editing must be heard. It is their lives and stories that offer the most valuable insights into what we stand to lose.
‘Buffer genes’ may protect these 13 people from rare genetic diseasesby Jocelyn KaiserScience/AAASApril 11th, 2016Researchers analyzed the DNA of 589,000 anonymous donors, but could not contact the 13 people to verify they were healthy.
Turning to technology when nature isn't enough for pregnancyby Marion CallahanBucks County Courier Times / The HeraldApril 9th, 2016“Gender is not a disease; it's a preference. Once you start doing it for preferences, not medical reasons, you are opening a door to a big slippery slope.”
CIA’s Venture Capital Arm Is Funding Skin Care Products That Collect DNAby Lee FangThe InterceptApril 8th, 2016Skincential Sciences developed a patented technology that removes a thin outer layer of the skin for a youthful "glow"... and DNA collection.
The Scientific Swap Meet Behind the Gene-Editing Boomby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewApril 8th, 2016A Cambridge non-profit called AddGene, described as "Amazon.com for biological parts," ships CRISPR-Cas9 parts all over the world.
Google’s biotech venture hit by ethical concerns over deal with luxury clinicby Charles PillerSTATApril 7th, 2016Verily Life Sciences, Google's ambitious biotech offshoot, has stirred concerns about conflicts of interest.
10th Anniversary Baby Markets Congressby Elliot HosmanApril 7th, 2016Legal scholars, social scientists, advocates, and filmmakers grapple with assisted reproduction.
The Paradox of Precision Medicineby Jeneen InterlandiScientific AmericanApril 1st, 2016Early attempts to tailor disease treatment to individuals based on their DNA have met with equivocal success, raising concerns about a push to scale up such efforts.
Race, Reparations and the Search for Our Molecular Soulby Michael SchulsonReligion Dispatches (USC Annenberg)March 30th, 2016In a recent book, Alondra Nelson maps the rise of genetic testing among African Americans, investigating the ways that genetic technology is crossing over into social and political worlds.
Inside the garage labs of DIY gene hackers, whose hobby may terrify youby Kristen V. BrownFusionMarch 29th, 2016At the 2015 Gene Editing Summit in D.C., David Baltimore lamented that CRISPR had been overhyped. “It’s not something you can do in a garage,” he said. He was wrong.
If we don’t own our genes, what protects study subjects in genetic research?by Leslie E. Wolf, Erin Fuse Brown, and Laura BeskowThe ConversationMarch 28th, 2016Genetic research studies like the Precision Medicine Initiative require corresponding inquiry into the protection of participants and their genetic information.
‘Minimal’ cell raises stakes in race to harness synthetic lifeby Ewen CallawayNature NewsMarch 24th, 2016Craig Venter’s latest creation comes as CRISPR gene-editing methods provide alternative ways to tinker with life’s building blocks.
MIT research suggests possibility of gene therapy to treat ADHDby Lindsay KalterBoston HeraldMarch 23rd, 2016Controversial research in mice, seeking a genetic link to ADHD, may eventually lead to clinical attempts to "introduce genetic material that might be missing from the human."
CRISPR Pioneer Feng Zhang Talks About What's Next for Gene Editingby Kate LunauVICE MotherboardMarch 23rd, 2016“The field is still very young,” but Zhang hopes CRISPR is a way to address conditions that he characterizes as psychiatric, including depression, schizophrenia, autism and Alzheimer’s.
Like air and water, DNA should not be patentableby Andre PicardThe Globe and Mail [Canada]March 22nd, 2016Publicly funded hospitals in Canada are no longer bound by five gene patents that stood in the way of testing and notifying children with potentially deadly heart conditions.
Apple Wants The iPhone To Record Every Aspect Of Your Healthby Stephanie M. LeeBuzzFeedMarch 22nd, 2016By letting iPhone users share their DNA with researchers and update their doctors, Apple is diving deeper into its vision of a complete ecosystem of your health and medical information
Are We Ready For Designer Babies?by Claire MaldarelliPopular ScienceMarch 21st, 2016The CRISPR gene editing debate can’t just occur within the walls of a conference center. As its power comes into focus, public discussion should proceed in tandem.
Placenta test for autism risk sparks serious concernby Ann GriswoldSpectrum NewsMarch 21st, 2016“There are no published data to support the new test as a screening tool."
Texas Woman Is the First Person to Undergo Optogenetic Therapyby Katherine BourzacMIT Technology ReviewMarch 18th, 2016Beyond the implications for treating blind people, this gene therapy trial is also being watched by the neuroscience community.
The Limits of Personalized Medicineby Timothy CaulfieldThe AtlanticMarch 16th, 2016A new study suggests that knowing their genetic risk of disease doesn’t motivate people to change their behavior.
Scientists develop new human stem cells with half a genomeby Bill BerkrotReutersMarch 16th, 2016Stem cells derived from a human egg are the first human cells known to be capable of division with just one copy of the parent cell's genome.
If we’re not careful, epigenetics may bring back eugenic thinkingby Maurizio MeloniThe Conversation [UK]March 15th, 2016In focusing on the environment as a cause for many unwanted conditions, epigenetics has the potential to advance social justice, but its problematic implications have arisen before.
The Government seem more interested in our genes than our voicesby Edward Hockings & Lewis CoyneThe GuardianMarch 15th, 2016Policymakers in the UK are moving forward with plans to turn genetic information into potentially lucrative data. Can we trust our institutions with our genomes?
Of evil mice and men: Can we blame crime on our genes?by Alan MartinAlphrMarch 14th, 2016Various studies are finding genetic and mental indicators for criminal behaviour - in lab mice.
People Are Going To Prison Thanks To DNA Software — But How It Works Is Secretby Stephanie M. LeeBuzzFeedMarch 12th, 2016Private companies are developing cutting-edge DNA analysis software used to convict people, but source codes are protected from independent validation because they are "trade secrets."
When Gene Tests for Breast Cancer Reveal Grim Data but No Guidanceby Gina KolataThe New York TimesMarch 11th, 2016Despite the push for precision medicine, doctors are confronted with ballooning genetic data and limited treatment options.
Evidence on trialby Martin EnserinkScience/AAASMarch 11th, 2016Forensic science is reforming in the wake of a landmark report.
Teaching medical students to challenge ‘unscientific’ racial categoriesby Ike SwetlitzSTATMarch 10th, 2016Medical school curricula traditionally leave little room for nuanced discussions about the impact of race and racism on health, physicians and sociologists say.
Genetic Test Firm to Make Customers’ Data Publicly Availableby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesMarch 8th, 2016In an unusual move, Ambry Genetics is making 10,000 of its customers' exomes publicly available — without explicit consent.
My Genes, Myself?by Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times guest contributorMarch 8th, 2016We have become accustomed to ascribing agency to individual genes. But every now and then a story comes along that reminds us just how foolish we are.
Forensics gone wrong: When DNA snares the innocentby Douglas StarrScience/AAASMarch 7th, 2016Biologist Greg Hampikian heads the Idaho Innocence Project, and uncovers instances where DNA evidence was false or misconstrued.
When baby is due, genetic counselors seen downplaying false alarmsby Beth DaleyNew England Center for Investigative ReportingMarch 6th, 2016Even after the birth, when their baby looked fine, their genetic counselor insisted that the result of the test was not a mistake.
The Dirty Secret of Genetic Testing: We're Still Not Sure What "Normal" Looks Likeby Sean CaptainFast CompanyMarch 4th, 2016You can get your entire genetic code deciphered for about $1,000 in a day, but scientists still don't know what most of it means.
This genetics company claims it can sequence and analyze your entire genome for $999by Tanya LewisBusiness InsiderMarch 3rd, 2016With a doctor's referral, Veritas Genetics will offer smartphone interface and analysis of around 2,000 common clinical conditions.
CRISPR patent belongs to aliensby Sara ReardonNatureFebruary 29th, 2016Returning with a new season after over a decade, The X Files uses technologies like CRISPR gene editing to tell stories at the intersection of science, politics, and conspiracy theories.
Exclusive: 23andMe 'spit kits' may head to the shelves of this huge retail chainby Ron LeutySan Francisco Business TimesFebruary 26th, 2016Genetic information company 23andMe Inc.'s "spit kits" will be available at Walgreens stores, a company leader says.
Response to Call for Essays: Read the Fine Print Before Sending Your Spit to 23andMe by Katherine DrabiakThe Hastings Center Bioethics ForumFebruary 26th, 2016In recent years, Big Data has taken firm hold in numerous sectors, revolutionizing the volume and velocity at which businesses can collect, curate, and use digital information.
Illumina, the Google of Genetic Testing, Has Plans for World Dominationby Sarah ZhangWiredFebruary 26th, 2016As lucrative as its 90 percent slice is for Illumina now, the whole pie is likely to get even bigger in the future.
Scientists Make Mice Glumby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesFebruary 25th, 2016Researchers investigate human genetic variant for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in transgenic mice models.
The Troubling Rise of Rapid DNA Testingby Ava KofmanNew RepublicFebruary 24th, 2016Your DNA can now be read in less time than it would take to wait at a typical DMV. New portable rapid DNA devices may represent a giant leap backward for civil liberties.
Not Every Drop of a Person’s Blood Is the Same, a Study Saysby Donald G. McNeil Jr.The New York TimesFebruary 22nd, 2016As diagnostic tests rely on ever-tinier amounts of blood, some scientists are striking a note of caution. As it turns out, not every drop of blood is identical.
Cops Caught Forcing Scientists to Falsify DNA Tests To Get More Prosecutions — Now They’re Furiousby John VibesThe Free Thought ProjectFebruary 21st, 2016Three scientists who have worked for the New York State police crime lab for over 20 years are suing because of a "pro-prosecution" culture of corruption, coercion to commit fraud, and retaliation.
This Entrepreneur Is Using Big Data to Help More Women Get Pregnantby Leena RaoFortuneFebruary 18th, 2016Celmatix’s algorithms compare a database of millions of women who have tackled fertility issues to a patient’s personal health and fertility data.
Caribou Bio’s New CRISPR Patent Isn’t About Gene Editingby Alex LashXconomyFebruary 18th, 2016A new patent highlights a lower-profile potential use for the "gene editing" biotechnology: genetic detection and analysis.
DNA sweeps pose wrenching ethical questionsby Carol GoarThe Star [Toronto]February 17th, 2016In the remote indigenous community of Garden Hill, Manitoba, police are collecting DNA samples from every male 15-66 years of age to find the killer of 11-year-old Teresa Robinson.
If You Want Life Insurance, Think Twice Before Getting A Genetic Testby Christina FarrFast CompanyFebruary 17th, 2016As genetic testing explodes, US federal law bans health insurers from denying coverage based on results. But the same doesn't apply for disability, life insurance, or long-time care.
Race, Genetics, Societyby Elliot HosmanFebruary 11th, 2016We highlight recent research by CGS Advisory Board member Dorothy Roberts, a CGS position opening, and our recent news and resources on race and genetics.
Sure Genomics wants to sell private genetic profiles for $2,500, but it’s really testing the FDAby Arielle Duhaime-RossThe VergeFebruary 9th, 2016From a regulatory standpoint, Sure Genomics is treading on thin ice. The FDA has warned other companies about similar practices.
Taking race out of human geneticsby Michael Yudell, Dorothy Roberts, Rob DeSalle & Sarah TishkoffScienceFebruary 5th, 2016"We believe the use of biological concepts of race in human genetic research—so disputed and so mired in confusion—is problematic at best and harmful at worst. It is time for biologists to find a better way."
DNA Study of First Ancient African Genome Flawed, Researchers Reportby Carl ZimmerThe New York TimesFebruary 4th, 2016A head-turning study turned out to have a fundamental flaw that erased some of its most provocative conclusions.
How DNA and 'recreational genealogy' is making a case for reparations for slavery by Steven W. ThrasherThe GuardianFebruary 3rd, 2016Alondra Nelson, academic who was at the forefront of Afrofuturism, has a new book on how DNA can help descendants of slaves seeking compensation.
We Are Not Ready to Edit Human Embryos Yetby J. Craig VenterTimeFebruary 2nd, 2016Due to our insufficient knowledge, the slippery slope to human enhancement, and the global ban on human experimentation, we need to better understand the software of life before we begin re-writing this code.
DNA Got a Kid Kicked Out of School—And It’ll Happen Againby Sarah ZhangWiredFebruary 1st, 2016Genetic discrimination. Get used to those two words together. With DNA tests cheap and readily available, the potential for discrimination based on the results has gone way up.
Debating UK approval of gene editing in human embryos
[MP3]
[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Larry MantleAirTalk, KPCCFebruary 1st, 2016The decision by Britain's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority marks the first time a country's national regulator has approved the technique.
We Need More Proof That Prenatal Gene Screens Are Beneficialby The EditorsScientific AmericanFebruary 1st, 2016Results from screening tests can be misleading. Industry and federal regulators are not doing enough to ensure that people get all the information they need.
Could DTC Genome Testing Exacerbate Research Inequities?by Christine Aicardi, Maria Damjanovicova, Lorenzo Del Savio, Federica Lucivero, Maru Mormina, Maartje Niezen & Barbara PrainsackThe Hastings Center ReportJanuary 20th, 2016The expansion of 23andMe’s database as a resource for genetic science may aggravate existing biases in disease research, leading to impoverished knowledge and exacerbated inequalities.
Down's Syndrome people risk 'extinction' at the hands of science, fear and ignoranceby Tim StanleyThe TelegraphJanuary 18th, 2016The true moral test of a society is not how pretty, sober or well organised it is – but how it treats its most vulnerable, even its most difficult, citizens.
A Single Blood Test For All Cancers? Illumina, Bill Gates And Jeff Bezos Launch Startup To Make It Happen by Matthew HerperForbesJanuary 10th, 2016The new startup is called GRAIL, because such a test would be a holy grail for cancer doctors. It already has $100 million in funding.
China Embraces Precision Medicine on a Massive Scaleby David CyranoskiNature NewsJanuary 6th, 2016The country's strong genomics record bodes well, but a shortage of doctors could pose a hurdle.
Lab Pays $4M to Settle Doctor-Kickback Claimsby Bianca BrunoCourthouse News ServiceDecember 30th, 2015Federal investigators found Pathway violated the False Claims Act by offering physicians and medical groups reimbursements of up to $20 for each saliva kit they submitted for genetic testing.
Rulemaking Under Way for DNA Testing for Hawaiian Homelandsby  Jennifer Sinco KelleherABC NewsDecember 28th, 2015The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has proposed rules that would allow the use of DNA evidence to prove ancestry.
First GMO Corn, then Frankenfish, and Now — Get Ready for Designer Babies[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Janet PhelanActivist PostDecember 25th, 2015“The medical arguments are tenuous and the possible social consequences are grave” for modifying the human germline.
Interest in Precision Medicine Grows, But Reimbursements Slow by Andrew JosephStat NewsDecember 23rd, 2015While some insurers are warming up to precision tests for cancer patients, others view them as investigatory expeditions that could find genetic variants not connected to the cancer.
Top Biopolitical Times Posts of 2015by Elliot Hosman, Pete Shanks & Marcy Darnovsky, Biopolitical TimesDecember 20th, 2015Here are a few of our favorites blogs of 2015.
It is Ridiculously Hard for Californians to get their DNA out of the FBI’s Genetic Databaseby Kashmir HillFusionDecember 18th, 2015More states should make DNA expungement automatic. People shouldn’t forfeit their genetic rights simply because of an arrest.
Clinical Genetics Has a Big Problem That's Affecting People's Livesby Ed YongThe AtlanticDecember 17th, 2015Many geneticists have tales where mistakes in the scientific literature have led to wrong — and sometimes harmful — diagnoses.
Genetic Testing May Be Coming to Your Officeby Rachel Emma SilvermanThe Wall Street JournalDecember 15th, 2015Health advocates raise concerns about privacy and the potential for illegal discrimination based on employees’ genetic information.
Personalized Medicine: A Faustian Bargain?by Eleonore Pauwels & Jim DratwaScientific AmericanDecember 10th, 2015Individually tailored therapies could be too expensive for many of those whose DNA donations go into creating the treatments.
Data Storage on DNA Can Keep It Safe for Centuriesby John MarkoffThe New York TimesDecember 3rd, 2015Two teams of computer scientists have shown that DNA can be the basis for a big data archiving system potentially capable of storing all of the world’s digital information in roughly 9 liters or a case of wine.
Florida Police Used a Smidgen of DNA to try to Fully Reconstruct an Alleged Criminal's Faceby Erin BrodwinBusiness InsiderDecember 2nd, 2015Parabon Nanolabs recently analyzed some remnants of DNA from a crime scene — not for fingerprints, but to create a digital likeness of the alleged criminal's face.
Extreme Genetic Engineering and the Human FutureReclaiming Emerging Biotechnologies for the Common GoodThe Center for Genetics and Society and Friends of the Earth examine the human applications of synthetic biology. This 50-page report challenges claims that this new set of genetic engineering techniques should be seen as "the future of manufacturing, engineering and medicine."
San Diego Blood Donors Get Free Genome Sequencingby David WagnerKPBSNovember 24th, 2015Illumina is asking 70 San Diego Blood Bank donors to consent to free sequencing to compile a DNA database for researchers working in the field of "precision" medicine.
Re-Watching 'Gattaca' at the Dawn of the Age of CRISPR and Genetic Editingby Yasmin TayagInverseNovember 23rd, 2015Now that its predictions are becoming true, Andrew Niccol's 1997 gene-engineered dystopia is especially uncomfortable.
F.D.A. Targets Inaccurate Medical Tests, Citing Dangers and Costsby Robert PearThe New York TimesNovember 23rd, 2015Inaccurate and unreliable medical tests are prompting abortions, unnecessary surgeries, putting tens of thousands of people on unneeded drugs and raising medical costs.
Scientists may soon be able to 'cut and paste' DNA to cure deadly diseases and design perfect babiesby Tanya LewisBusiness InsiderNovember 19th, 2015CRISPR gene editing tools are being proposed for a wide range of uses, many of which pose risks to ecological systems and human society.
Gene Therapy: Comeback? Cost-Prohibitive?by Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesNovember 19th, 2015Recent CRISPR news sometimes confuses germline modification - which should be put off limits - and gene therapy, which presents its own set of social and ethical risks to resolve before rushing to market.
New Rules Proposed to Address Privacy and Trust in the Precision Medicine Initiativeby Katayoun Chamany, Biopolitical Times guest contributorNovember 19th, 2015The US Precision Medicine Initiative's goal of a million sequenced genomes is helping to propel a revision to the Common Rule governing human subject research.
Move Over, Jony Ive — Biologists Are the Next Rock Star Designersby Liz StinsonWIREDNovember 18th, 2015A biotech startup that calls itself an "organism design foundry" and works with designers and artists is part of a US bioeconomy that already generates $350 billion annually.
Gene Manipulation In Human Embryos Provokes Ethical Questions: This controversial new research could have some serious, long-term societal implications. [Video][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]
Gene Manipulation In Human Embryos Provokes Ethical Questions[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Rahel GebreyesHuffPost LiveNovember 17th, 2015CGS's Marcy Darnovsky discusses the social implications of leveraging CRISPR gene editing tools to pursue enhanced children.
Gene therapies offer dramatic promise but shocking costsby Carolyn Y. Johnson & Brady DennisThe Washington PostNovember 11th, 2015Researchers have partially restored a patient's vision by targeting a gene associated with Leber's congenital amaurosis, but the treatment could cost $500,000 per eye.
British police face deluge of foreign DNA requests if UK joins EU crime database, says reportby David BarrettThe TelegraphNovember 8th, 2015Officials warn that innocent Britons could be branded criminals if the UK joins a controversial EU project.
Cancer researchers band together to pool tumor genome databy Jocelyn KaiserScienceNovember 6th, 2015Several large US and European medical centers are pooling data on patients’ tumor genomes and their clinical outcomes in a new genomic database called the GENIE project.
As Companies Collect More Health Data, Cops Will Ask To See It[cites CGS' Elliot Hosman]by Stephanie M. LeeBuzzfeedNovember 5th, 2015Law enforcement will request what users share with health technology companies, from DNA to step counts. The nature and number of those requests are largely unknown.
Powerful 'Gene Drive' Can Quickly Change an Entire Speciesby Rob SteinNPRNovember 5th, 2015Scientists are creating insects genetically engineered to produce only certain types of offspring. Uncertainty about environmental effects is causing widespread and serious concern.
CRISPR Gene Editing to Be Tested on People by 2017, Says Editasby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewNovember 5th, 2015The test, to treat a rare form of blindness, would likely be the first to use CRISPR to directly edit the DNA of a person.
Everything you need to know about why CRISPR is such a hot technology[cites CGS]by Dominic BasultoThe Washington PostNovember 4th, 2015Venture capital is responding to the hype surrounding new genetic engineering tools, but many are concerned by the controversial proposition of genetically modifying new humans.
Genetic testing evolves, along with health and ethics debatesby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesOctober 30th, 2015The FDA approved 23andMe to provide carrier tests, turning the personal genomics service into a direct-to-consumer family-planning tool, but without the genetic counselor to explain carrier status risks.
Would you take a genetic test that could lay bare your destiny?by Rowan HooperNew ScientistOctober 29th, 2015Plaques and Tangles, a play now at the Royal Court in London, takes on issues of personal genomics, carrier status testing, and Alzheimer's, asking: "Are we architects of our own destiny or prisoners of our genes?"
Genetic Surveillance: Consumer Genomics and DNA Forensicsby Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2015As more biotech companies move to “cash in on the genome,” we need to connect the conversations on personal genomics, DNA forensics, immigration, and biological discrimination.
Fresh Territory for Bioethics: Silicon Valleyby Susan GilbertBioethics Forum The Hastings Center October 28th, 2015Biomedical researchers and Silicon Valley are increasingly looking to each other for access to human subjects and new ventures, raising questions about informed consent and the security of private genetic data.
Making Indigenous Peoples Equal Partners in Gene Researchby Ed YongThe AtlanticOctober 23rd, 2015After leaving a partnership with NIH in 2003, the Akimel O’odham (Pima) tribe is retaining control of their bio samples and shaping the goals of a diabetes project with genomic researchers.
Cops Want To Look At 23andMe Customers’ DNAby Stephanie M. LeeBuzzFeedOctober 21st, 2015The FBI and other agencies have asked for — and been denied — five users’ data, according to a new transparency report on the company's website, and chain of custody could be a legal obstacle for future requests.
23andMe Will Resume Giving Users Health Databy Andrew PollackThe New York TimesOctober 21st, 2015Two years after a forced hiatus from providing consumers with genetic health probabilities, the FDA has cleared 23andMe to provide carrier status and lactose intolerance tests.
What's Your DNA Worth? The Scramble to Cash In On The Genome[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Alex LashXconomyOctober 20th, 2015Vast pools of genomic data may unlock health secrets, but what is the risk of "sharing" our data for biotech corporate profits, and is it greater than the nebulous future rewards?
For Some Refugees, Safe Haven Now Depends on a DNA Testby Katie WorthPBS FrontlineOctober 19th, 2015The US is requiring refugees to prove they're related through a DNA test — often impossible to obtain in war-torn countries — causing worries about an unreasonably narrow genetic definition of family.
Could Having Your DNA Tested Land You in Court?by Claire MaldarelliPopular ScienceOctober 16th, 2015Police in Idaho accused a man of an unsolved murder via partial DNA matching based on DNA records obtained from Ancestry.com.
Handheld DNA reader revolutionary and democratising, say scientistsby Ian SampleThe GuardianOctober 15th, 2015The $1,000 device is not designed to read human genomes, but it can quickly identify bacteria and viruses, and spot different gene variants in sections of human genetic code.
Big Money Heading for Consumer Genomicsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 15th, 2015Investors are now betting hundreds of millions of dollars that the direct-to-consumer testing business will become profitable.
A Tale of Do-It-Yourself Gene Therapyby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewOctober 14th, 2015An American biotech CEO of BioViva claims she is the first to undergo gene therapy to reverse aging, participating in an experiment that intentionally avoided approval processes.
Ancestry.com is talking to the FDA about using DNA to estimate people's risk of diseaseby Arielle Duhaime-RossThe VergeOctober 12th, 2015After the FDA regulated 23andMe, another big player in the personal genomics business who has focused on genetic ancestry is looking to merge into providing lucrative health information.
Video Review: Talking Biopolitics[cites CGS and CGS fellow Lisa Ikemoto]by Rebecca DimondBioNewsOctober 12th, 2015George Annas spoke with Lisa Ikemoto about his new book on genomic medicine and genetic testing.
Gay or Straight? Saliva Test Can Predict Male Sexual Orientationby Jessica HamzelouNew ScientistOctober 8th, 2015Many scientists have expressed caution over the results, and concerns over potential misuse have led the lead researcher to quit the project entirely.
Genes can’t be patented, rules Australia’s High Courtby Michael SlezakNew ScientistOctober 7th, 2015The decision is considered stronger than the similar one by the US Supreme Court.
DNA At the Fringes: Twins, Chimerism, and Synthetic DNAby Erin E. MurphyThe Daily BeastOctober 7th, 2015DNA tests are thought to be conclusive, but our genetic material acts in mysterious ways. Chimerism, for example, may "undermine the very basis of the forensic DNA system."
UNESCO Calls for More Regulations on Genome Editing, DTC Genetic Testingby StaffGenomeWebOctober 6th, 2015The organization's International Bioethics Committee reaffirms its support for a moratorium on modifying the human germline.
What 2,500 Sequenced Genomes Say about Humanity’s Futureby Lizzie WadeWiredSeptember 30th, 2015Genomics has gone from being a "race-free" science to being a "race-positive" one.
Limits of Responsibility: Genome Editing, Asilomar, and the Politics of Deliberationby J. Benjamin HurlbutHastings Center ReportSeptember 28th, 2015What justifies the notion that CRISPR has caught us off guard or that it is appropriate for experts to retreat into secluded spaces to define the parameters of public debate?
Who has your DNA—or wants itby Jocelyn KaiserScienceSeptember 25th, 2015More and more groups are amassing computer server–busting amounts of human DNA. At least 17 biobanks that hold, or plan to hold, genomic data on 75,000 or more people.
Can 23andMe have it all?by Kelly ServickScienceSeptember 25th, 2015The company has made about 30 deals with biotech and pharma companies, and plans to hire 25 scientists in the next year to begin drug discovery efforts of its own.
Can knowing you and your family may get Alzheimer’s ever be positive?by Giulia RhodesThe GuardianSeptember 21st, 2015In the vast majority of cases, the cause of Alzheimer’s remains unclear, a complex interplay of environmental and genetic factors not yet fully understood.
Blueprint in hand, NIH embarks on study of a million peopleby Jocelyn KaiserScience InsiderSeptember 17th, 2015As the Precision Medicine Initiative million-person study moves forward, an NIH committee is urging the recruitment of any willing volunteers.
Prosecutor backs expanded DNA testingby Evan AllenBoston GlobeSeptember 17th, 2015A new Massachusetts bill would allow police officers to obtain genetic material at the point of felony arrest — creating what Justice Scalia calls the "genetic panopticon."
Why you shouldn’t know too much about your own genesby Carolyn JohnsonWashington PostSeptember 11th, 2015The poster child for the uncertainty underlying direct-to-consumer DNA testing is a gene called MTHFR. In almost no cases does testing for it have any medical utility.
Genetic testing firms in China happy to sell your DNA secretsby Staff ReporterWant China TimesSeptember 10th, 2015As 23andMe strikes a slew of pharma and biotech deals, it's an open secret that sequencing companies can't make money on tests, but rely on the value of big bio data to drug developers.
"Moonshot Medicine": Putative Precision vs. Messy Genomesby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 9th, 2015The promise is "personalized" genetic treatment plans; the reality is that most health disparities are environmental.
Biotech Imagination: Whose Future is this?by Jessica CussinsSeptember 8th, 2015A feature in PLOS Biology highlights insider predictions about the next ten years in genetics and genomics with unanimous optimism. But whose future is this?
Kuwait's War on ISIS and DNAby Dawn FieldOxford University Press BlogSeptember 3rd, 2015Amid other national genomic projects, Kuwait's mandatory DNA collection is the first use of DNA testing at the national-level for security reasons, counter-terrorism.
Personal Responsibilityby EditorialNatureSeptember 1st, 2015The US Precision Medicine Initiative needs to tread carefully when revealing health and genetic data to participants.
Giant study poses DNA data-sharing dilemmaby Sara ReardonNature NewsSeptember 1st, 2015As the US Precision Medicine Initiative pushes forward, whether to provide sequenced genetic information to biobank donors is an unresolved question of ethics, privacy, and medical utility.
Debate Ensues as Prenatal Tests Reach Beyond Down Syndromeby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewAugust 31st, 2015Doctors and genetic counselors question the expanding scope of blood tests during pregnancy.
CRISPR: The Latest Biotech Hypeby Anne Fausto-SterlingBoston ReviewAugust 24th, 2015What began with an attempt to build a better yogurt now has journalists speculating about Brave New World scenarios, but the bio-hype relies on a false model of genetic determinism.
How Beliefs in Biological Differences Can Undergird Racial and Policy Attitudesby Carson ByrdUSAPPAugust 24th, 2015A new study shows racial differences in beliefs about the influence of genes on certain traits can affect public support for policies aimed at mitigating racial inequality.
The Risks of Turning Races Into Genes by Matthew W. HugheyThe Huffington PostAugust 20th, 2015"Race" is man-made, and much of the scientific enterprise has traditionally supported the myth that racial differences accurately represent real, biological differences among humans.
Inside Illumina’s Plans to Lure Consumers with an App Store for Genomes by Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewAugust 19th, 2015The head of the largest gene-sequencing company envisions holding your DNA, then selling it to you little by little.
B.C. Company to Launch DNA Testing Service by Pamela FayermanVancouver SunAugust 19th, 2015British Columbia is grappling with regulatory and accreditation issues for a company planning to launch the first direct-to-consumer DNA testing service based in the province.
‘Scientific Ambitions Behind DNA Profiling Bill’by Vidya VenkatThe HinduAugust 16th, 2015A legal researcher discusses a modified draft bill that continues to raise several critical concerns relating to privacy, and ethical uses of DNA samples and the proposed DNA database.
Cold Caseby Anne Fausto-SterlingBoston ReviewAugust 11th, 2015Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg likes to make faces. But she doesn’t paint or sculpt them, precisely. She doesn’t even decide what they look like.
Four Problems with the DNA Databaseby Sharon FernandesTimes of IndiaAugust 2nd, 2015India's Human DNA Profiling Bill 2015 proposes to set up a national DNA database of criminals that will include rapists, murderers and kidnappers.
Slipping Into Eugenics? Nathaniel Comfort on the History Behind CRISPRby Elliot HosmanBiopolitical TimesJuly 23rd, 2015A historian unravels the social and political context of genetic research and eugenics in the United States.
The Ethical Sperm Bank: An All-Open Sperm Bank. An Idea Whose Time Has Comeby  Wendy KramerHuffington PostJuly 22nd, 2015These are the only solutions in the absence of government regulation. Perhaps in time and as public pressure mounts, regulation will follow.
Your 23andMe DNA Can Be Used In Racist, Discriminatory Waysby Stephanie M. LeeBuzzFeedJuly 22nd, 2015A programmer came up with an app that can block users from websites based on information drawn from their DNA about "sex, ancestry, disease susceptibility, and arbitrary characteristics."
US Tailored-Medicine Project Aims for Ethnic Balanceby Sara ReardonNature NewsJuly 21st, 2015The $215-million Precision Medicine Initiative is having trouble meeting an imminent deadline, in part because its priorities include filling racial and socio-economic gaps left by other long-term studies.
Google is Scouring Ancestry.com to Find Out What's In Your Genesby Caroline ChenBloomberg BusinessweekJuly 21st, 2015Google Inc.’s Calico, which studies aging and related diseases, will delve into the genetic database amassed by Ancestry.com to look for hereditary influences on longevity.
This Company Is Trying To Make More Perfect Babiesby Azeen GhorayshiBuzzFeedJuly 12th, 2015As startup GenePeeks partners with a fertility clinic to screen egg donors for nearly 450 genetic changes linked to disease, critics worry about an emerging market for designer babies.
Don't Mistake Genetics for Fateby Andrew Gelman & Kaiser FungThe Daily BeastJuly 11th, 2015It’s easy for the media to get misled on studies that seem to support genetic determinism. The result is that readers are exposed only to the puffery but only rarely to the skepticism.
Misunderstanding the Genome: A (Polite) Rantby Jonathan GitlinArsTechnicaJuly 8th, 2015One misconception: Genetic tests don't always tell you if someone has a disease. They're typically probabilistic — they tell you if you've got a greater chance of a problem than the average person.
Six Months of Progress on the Precision Medicine Initiativeby Brian Deese & Stephanie DevaneyOffice of Science and Technology PolicyJuly 8th, 2015The Obama Administration has released draft guiding principles to protect privacy and build public trust as the Precision Medicine Initiative develops.
Genome Researchers Raise Alarm Over Big Databy Erika Check HaydenNature NewsJuly 7th, 2015Storing and processing genome data will exceed the computing challenges of running YouTube and Twitter, biologists warn.
Should Babies Have Their Genomes Sequenced?by Anna NowogrodzkiMIT Technology ReviewJuly 2nd, 2015The BabySeq project in Boston has begun collecting data to quantify the risks and benefits of DNA sequencing at birth.
Ethics of Gene Editing[with CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Betty RollinKQED Religion & Ethics NewsweeklyJuly 2nd, 2015Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society discusses possible consequences of human germline gene editing for future generations.
Governor Signs Law that Expands Access to Post-Conviction DNA Testingby Maxine BernsteinThe OregonianJune 30th, 2015Oregon's governor has signed a bill that would expand access to DNA testing for people hoping to prove they were wrongly convicted.
Why the 'Devious Defecator' Case is a Landmark for US Genetic-Privacy Lawby Natasha GilbertNature NewsJune 25th, 2015A jury awarded $2.25 million to employees whose privacy was violated when their employer conducted genetic testing to determine fault in a job-site incident.
Can DNA Testing be Trusted? The Shockingly Imprecise Science of a Proven Courtroom Toolby Katie WorthFusionJune 24th, 2015Much DNA analysis involves interpretation. With interpretation comes subjectivity, and with subjectivity can come error.
6 Realities of Genomic Researchby Dan KoboldtMass GenomicsJune 19th, 2015I’m as excited about this as anyone (with the possible exception of Illumina). Even so, we should keep in mind that not everything is unicorns and rainbows when it comes to genomic research.
Ancient American Genome Rekindles Legal Rowby Ewen CallawayNature NewsJune 18th, 2015The finding seems likely to rekindle a legal dispute between Native American tribes and the researchers who want to keep studying the 8,500-year-old skeleton.
Down Syndrome Screening isn’t About Public Health. It’s About Eliminating a Group of People.by Renate LindemanWashington PostJune 16th, 2015Testing should be used to enhance health and human well-being instead of discriminating against people based on their genetic predisposition.
Taking Control of Our Genetic Information: Could it Go Too Far?by Karthika MuthukumaraswamyThe Huffington PostJune 16th, 2015Up until recently, those in the technology industry and those conducting genomic research would have been considered strange bedfellows. But big data - more specifically, big genomic data - is bringing the two groups together.
Prenatal DNA Test Patent Invalid, U.S. Appeals Court Saysby Andrew ChungReutersJune 12th, 2015The appeals court said the DNA's presence in the blood fell under the U.S. Supreme Court's rule against patenting natural phenomena.
The De-Extincting Science in Jurassic World Is Right Around the Cornerby Maddie StoneGizmodoJune 10th, 2015The prospect of bringing back extinct creatures is looking a lot less science fictional.
China's Big Biotech Bet Starting to Pay Offby Alexandra Harney and Ben HirschlerReutersJune 9th, 2015Overall funding for research and development more than quadrupled to $191 billion in 2005-13, allowing China to jump quickly on new technologies, often first developed elsewhere.
Mosaic Mutations May Not Be Rareby Anna AzvolinskyThe ScientistJune 8th, 2015Somatic mosaicism may be responsible for a larger proportion of genomic variability within humans than previously thought.
Radio Review: The Business of Genetic Ancestryby Matthew ThomasBioNewsJune 8th, 2015The science is, as tends to happen, rather more nuanced than stories of descent from famous dead people.
Genetics in Medicine — Progress and Pitfallsby EditorialThe LancetJune 6th, 2015According to a White House statement, the "administration believes that altering the human germline for clinical purposes is a line that should not be crossed at this time."
Amazon, Google Race to Get Your DNA into the Cloudby Sharon Begley and Caroline HumerReutersJune 5th, 2015The tech giants are racing to store data on human DNA, seeking market share in a business that may be worth $1 billion a year by 2018.
When Your Genome Costs Less Than Your iPhone: The Beautiful, Terrifying Future of DNA Sequencingby Jo BestTech RepublicJune 5th, 2015Mapping the human genome was one of humanity's greatest scientific breakthroughs. Now, the cloud and supercomputing are taking it to new heights, bringing breathtaking and disturbing possibilities.
Rebooting the Human Genomeby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJune 3rd, 2015The official map of the human genome can’t tell you everything about your genes. Does graph theory offer a better way?
Company Aims to Democratize Genetic Tests at $475 a Popby Matthew HerperForbesJune 1st, 2015The idea behind Invitae is that the plummeting cost of sequencing DNA using machines made by San Diego’s Illumina will make it profitable to sell genetic tests at a flat rate.
‘Devious Defecator’ Case Tests Genetics Lawby Gina KolataThe New York TimesMay 29th, 2015The case is an effort by an employer to detect employee wrongdoing with genetic sleuthing.
FBI Notifies Crime Labs of Errors used in DNA Match Calculations Since 1999by Spencer S. HsuWashington PostMay 29th, 2015While the bureau has said it believes the errors are unlikely to result in dramatic changes that would affect cases, crime labs and lawyers said they want to know more about the problem.
Reframing "De-extinction" by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 28th, 2015Beth Shapiro is advocating for a new definition of "de-extinction" that stresses the ecological niche over genetic identity. She envisages using novel creatures to change entire ecologies.
Researchers Oppose Unvalidated Gene Panel Tests for Cancer Linksby Julie SteenhuysenReutersMay 27th, 2015Genetic tests that look for multiple hereditary genes suspected of being linked to breast cancer should not be offered until they are proven to be valid and useful in clinical practice.
Study Reveals Shortcomings in Gene Testing; Results on Estimating Disease Risk Often Conflictby Marilynn MarchioneAssociated PressMay 27th, 2015The first report from a big public-private project to improve genetic testing reveals it is not as rock solid as many people believe.
So You’re Related to Charlemagne? You and Every Other Living European…by Adam RutherfordThe GuardianMay 24th, 2015The advent of cheap genetic sequencing has given birth to a burgeoning ancestry industry. But before you pay to spit in a tube, let me give you a few facts for free.
Weighing The Promises Of Big Genomicsby David DobbsBuzzFeedMay 21st, 2015Your DNA may be up for sale. And the sale depends on an exaggerated picture of genetic power and destiny.
Do We Really Need an Even Better Prenatal Test for Down Syndrome?by Chris KaposyImpact EthicsMay 19th, 2015Because of their ease of use and their non-invasiveness, the new non-invasive prenatal tests for Down syndrome could contribute to increased numbers of selective terminations of pregnancy.
U.S. Introduces New DNA Standard for Ensuring Accuracy of Genetic Testsby Robert PearThe New York TimesMay 14th, 2015The National Institute of Standards and Technology has developed “reference materials” that could be used by laboratories to determine whether their machines and software are properly analyzing a person’s genome.
Microbiomes Raise Privacy Concernsby Ewen CallawayNature NewsMay 11th, 2015Call it a "gut print." The collective DNA of the microbes that colonize a human body can uniquely identify someone, researchers have found, raising privacy issues.
Is DNA the Next Frontier in Privacy?by Nikhil SwaminathanAljazeera AmericaMay 11th, 2015The president has called for a million people to volunteer their DNA sequences, health records and sensor tracking data, but the government is mum on how it will protect their privacy.
The Blurred Lines of Genetic Data: Practicality, Pleasure and Policingby Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostMay 8th, 2015Shocking news from Idaho is a reminder that we don’t always control what happens with our data, and won’t always like it.
DNA 'Printing' A Big Boon To Research, But Some Raise Concerns[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPRMay 7th, 2015"Heinz talks openly about everybody being able to create entirely novel creatures... Do we want the teenager next door to be creating Godzilla in the bathtub? I don't want that."
The Blurred Lines of Genetic Data: Practicality, Pleasure and Policingby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMay 7th, 2015Amidst a rumor that Apple may encourage iPhone owners to participate in DNA testing and share their genetic data, shocking news from Ancestry.com and the Idaho police is a reminder that we don’t always control what happens with our data, and won’t always like it.
Apple Has Plans for Your DNAby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewMay 5th, 2015Will the iPhone become a new tool in genetic studies?
Can we Still Rely on DNA Sampling to Crack Crime?by Danny ShawBBC NewsMay 5th, 2015The new arrangements are so convoluted that even the man responsible for overseeing them has cast doubt as to whether they can work effectively and fairly.
Myriad Genetics Fights Off Threats From Rivalsby Joseph WalkerWall Street JournalMay 3rd, 2015Nearly two years after the Supreme Court struck down gene patents, the DNA testing firm fights to sustain a business model.
How Private DNA Data Led Idaho Cops on a Wild Goose Chase and Linked an Innocent Man to a 20-year-old Murder Caseby Jennifer LynchElectronic Frontier FoundationMay 1st, 2015This case highlights the extreme threats posed to privacy and civil liberties by familial DNA searches and by private, unregulated DNA databases.
National Accreditation Board Suspends All DNA Testing at D.C. Crime Labby Keith L. AlexanderWashington PostApril 27th, 2015The audit ordered “at a minimum” the revalidation of test procedures, new interpretation guidelines for DNA mixture cases, additional training and competency testing of staff.
Why Whole-Genome Testing Hurts More Than it Helpsby H. Gilbert Welch and Wylie BurkeLos Angeles TimesApril 27th, 2015For the medical-industrial complex, whole-genome tests may pay off, but for most people they would be absurd.
Hi-Tech DNA Machines Cause Concernby Oscar QuineThe IndependentApril 26th, 2015Police forces across the UK are testing technology that allows officers to analyse DNA samples in custody suites, amid fears that civil liberties could be infringed and evidence compromised.
Racial Health Disparities: It’s Inequality, Not Genesby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 23rd, 2015A review of genomic research on racial health disparities in heart disease finds it has made “little or no contribution to our understanding.” A new article in The Atlantic puts that in social, political, and historical context.
New Genetic Tests for Breast Cancer Hold Promiseby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesApril 21st, 2015A Silicon Valley start-up is threatening to upend genetic screening for breast and ovarian cancer by offering a test on a sample of saliva that is so inexpensive, most women could get it.
Personalizing Cancer Treatment With Genetic Tests Can Be Trickyby Richard HarrisNational Public RadioApril 15th, 2015Genetic tests also spot a lot of ambiguous information, and that can sometimes lead people into clinical trials that are wrong for them.
CRISPR Patent Fight Now a Winner-Take-All Matchby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewApril 15th, 2015Lab notebooks could determine who was first to invent a revolutionary gene-editing technology.
Colorado Bill Would Add DNA Testing for Eight Misdemeanor Convictionsby Noelle PhillipsThe Denver PostApril 14th, 2015"The notion the government gets to keep your genetic code in perpetuity is frightening."
A NASA Scientist Is Behind the 'My DNA Was Planted' Viral Craigslist Adby Kari PaulMotherboardApril 14th, 2015The goal was to get people thinking about whether criminals will someday be able to genetically engineer themselves out of a guilty verdict.
DNA Testing Is a Slippery Slopeby Russell SaundersThe Daily BeastApril 14th, 2015A media baron set off a firestorm on Twitter after recommending blood tests for “everything available.”
California Unveils 'Precision-Medicine' Projectby Erika Check HaydenNature NewsApril 14th, 2015The $3-million state initiative will coordinate with a national effort to promote individualized patient treatment.
Genome Editing: Time to Ask the Tough Questionsby Silvia CamporesiThe Huffington PostApril 14th, 2015It is a bit disheartening that we seem not to have made any progress when it comes to governing science in 40 years, and that we refer to Asilomar as the exemplar of practice of governing science.
Prenatal Testing, Cancer Risk and the Overdiagnosis Dilemmaby Ainsley Newson and Stacy CarterBioNewsApril 13th, 2015Should we be reporting results if we don’t know whether those results have any potential to benefit the patient?
Genes Don't Cause Racial-Health Disparities, Society Doesby Jason SilversteinThe AtlanticApril 13th, 2015Researchers are looking in the wrong place: White people live longer not because of their DNA but because of inequality.
Reality Check: Is Sex Crime Genetic?by Emily UnderwoodScience MagazineApril 9th, 2015A new study suggesting that genes play a major role in sex crimes has skeptics concerned.
Baby Genes to be Mapped at Birth in Medical Firstby Helen ThomsonNew ScientistApril 8th, 2015Could genome sequencing of newborns give valuable insight or do harm? That's the question US doctors are trying to answer in a pioneering trial starting this month.
Ancestry.Com Is Quietly Transforming Itself Into A Medical Research Juggernautby Daniela HernandezThe Huffington PostApril 6th, 2015Since it has been collecting ancestral data for decades, the $1.6 billion company knows health information not just about its users, but about their great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents.
Who Owns CRISPR?by Jenny RoodThe ScientistApril 3rd, 2015“The technology seems so powerful, the technology seems so profitable, and the intellectual property issues seem so irreconcilable that it’s a big mystery as to what’s going to happen.”
Fetal DNA Tests Prove Highly Accurate but Experts Warn of Exceptionsby Julie SteenhuysenReutersApril 1st, 2015The newer tests are not regulated by the FDA, and companies are heavily promoting their performance in ways that may mislead patients, critics say.
A New Facebook App Wants To Test Your DNAby Virginia HughesBuzzFeed NewsMarch 31st, 2015Some people are growing wary of Facebook’s reach into seemingly every aspect of life, and all of the privacy and security concerns that come with that.
Kaiser to Look for Autism’s Causes in Large-Scale Studyby  Victoria ColliverSan Francisco ChronicleMarch 31st, 2015Scientists have long suspected that autism results from a combination of genetics and environmental factors, but no one knows for sure.
The Brave New World of DNA Synthesisby Jeffrey MarlowWiredMarch 30th, 2015DNA synthesis companies range from scrappy start-ups to Cambridge-area behemoths, each touting a distinct set of tools that carves out a slice of the ever-increasing pie.
The Brave New World of DNA Synthesisby Jeffrey MarlowWiredMarch 30th, 2015DNA synthesis companies range from scrappy start-ups to Cambridge-area behemoths, each touting a distinct set of tools that carves out a slice of the ever increasing pie.
Strategy: Lines in the Sandby C. Simone FishburnBioCenturyMarch 26th, 2015With some researchers calling for restraint on the use of gene editing while ground rules are laid, schisms are already surfacing on whether there's any case to be made for using the technology in human germline cells.
Precision Medicine is Coming, But Not Anytime Soonby Beverly MerzHarvard Health BlogMarch 26th, 2015Identifying disease-related genes doesn’t mean these genes are useful today.
Genome Study Predicts DNA of the Whole of Icelandby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewMarch 25th, 2015Large genome databases are starting to reveal critical health information—even about people who have not contributed their DNA.
These Are All the Things That Could Go Wrong with 23andMe's Drug Development[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Kari PaulMotherboardMarch 19th, 201523andMe will begin using its DNA database to develop new medical treatments. Experts question what that means for the 850,000 people who have submitted their data to the company.
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