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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.


The FBI Is Very Excited About This Machine That Can Scan Your DNA in 90 Minutesby Shane BauerMother JonesNovember 20th, 2014Rapid-DNA technology makes it easier than ever to grab and store your genetic profile. G-men, cops, and Homeland Security can't wait to see it everywhere.
Bill to Have All Russians Fingerprinted and DNA Profiled Submitted to ParliamentRussia TodayNovember 19th, 2014MPs from the populist nationalist party LDPR have prepared and drafted a motion requiring universal fingerprinting and DNA profiling of all Russian citizens for reasons of security.
‘Platinum’ Genome Takes on Diseaseby Ewen CallawayNature NewsNovember 18th, 2014Disease sites targeted in assembly of more-complete version of the human genome sequence.
Discrimination Based on Genetics Could Soon be Illegal, and it’s Right on Timeby William Wolfe-WylieCanada.comNovember 18th, 2014As personalized genetic testing hits the mainstream, what companies do with that information is of growing concern.
Gene Therapy: Editorial Controlby Katharine GammonNature NewsNovember 12th, 2014Correcting the genetic error in sickle-cell disease might be as simple as amending text.
There May Be No Such Thing As A 'Longevity Gene'by Will DunhamReutersNovember 12th, 2014The genomes of 17 people ages 110 to 116 were sequenced to try to determine whether they possess unique genetic traits. The study did not identify a common genetic characteristic in them.
Many U.S. Doctors Wary of Genetic Testing: Surveyby Randy DotingaHealthDayNovember 12th, 2014A new survey of American physicians suggests that many may not support genetic testing in patients without a major family history of certain illnesses.
Patently Absurd? Or Absurdly Patentable?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesNovember 12th, 2014The US Supreme Court might agree to rule on the validity of stem-cell patents, and the Canadian courts are being asked to invalidate a patent on disease-linked genes.
Should Life Insurance Firms Have Access to Your Genetic Test Results?by Melissa HealyLos Angeles TimesNovember 11th, 2014US federal law prohibits the use of genetic information for health insurance coverage decisions. But it doesn't cover life insurance, disability insurance or long-term care insurance.
Google Wants to Store Your Genomeby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewNovember 6th, 2014For $25 a year, Google will keep a copy of any genome in the cloud.
New DNA Analysis Could Provide Complete Description of a Suspectby Theodore DeckerThe Columbus DispatchNovember 2nd, 2014The next generation of DNA forensics will reveal a level of detail far beyond what currently is used in criminal investigations. Presented with only a person’s DNA, “I can tell exactly what you look like,” one analyst said.
Open-Source DNAby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesOctober 31st, 2014Who are the players to watch in the growing trend to “free” our genetic data, and what does it mean to participate?
How a Wiki Is Keeping Direct-to-Consumer Genetics Aliveby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewOctober 19th, 2014The FDA ordered 23andMe to stop selling its health tests. But for the intrepid, genome knowledge is still available.
Why Genetic Self-Test Kits Should Not Be Allowed Into Canadaby Abby LippmanThe Globe and MailOctober 16th, 2014Policies and laws about discrimination, genetic and other, need to be developed from the ground up, based on views from an informed citizenry engaged in respectful public discussion of all the issues.
How Should the U.S. Regulate Genetic Testing?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesOctober 16th, 2014The question, addressed at a conference at Stanford’s Center for Law and the Biosciences, is both complicated and critical.
Quest for Intelligence Genes Churns Out More Dubious Resultsby John HorganScientific AmericanOctober 14th, 2014The entire field of behavioral genetics has a horrendous track record, with a long string of sensational claims that turned out to be erroneous.
Giant Gene Banks Take on Diseaseby Erika Check HaydenNatureOctober 14th, 2014Researchers bring together troves of DNA sequences in the hope of teasing out links between traits and genetic variants.
Let's Play God (or not)by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 14th, 2014Reason magazine earns points for honesty about wanting to use gene drives to "play God" — and for editing skills.
Genetic Testing for Alzheimer’s — Without Revealing the Resultsby Shirley S. WangThe Wall Street JournalOctober 13th, 2014Doctors are devising new ways to shield patients from information about their odds for developing inherited disease as genetic testing becomes more common.
The Genetics Epidemic: The Revolution in DNA Science -- And What To Do About Itby Jamie F. MetzlForeign AffairsOctober 12th, 2014The coming revolution in genetic engineering will be exciting to some, frightening to others, and challenging for all. If not adequately addressed, it will also likely lead to major conflict both within societies and globally.
How to Cope With a Positive Genetic Test Resultby Kristine CraneUS NewsOctober 10th, 2014There is help out there for people with a positive genetic test result, as well as something of a protocol for them to follow.
Gene Therapy Effective to Treat 'Bubble Boy' Syndromeby Pippa StephensBBCOctober 8th, 2014During a clinical trial, nine baby boys were given healthy versions of the faulty gene that codes for the disease, and eight were still alive 43 months later.
Controversial Genetic Self-Testing Kits Coming to Canadaby André PicardThe Globe and MailOctober 2nd, 2014Though U.S. FDA forbids sales of direct-to-consumer genetic tests for health prediction, regulators in Ottawa are working with California-based 23andMe.
Australian Appeals Court Upholds Patents on Isolated BRCA1 DNAby Robert Cook-DeeganGenomics Law ReportSeptember 30th, 2014The Australian court seems not to have dismissed the U.S. Supreme Court’s concern, but rather to have entirely missed it.
The Troubling Persistence of Eugenicist Thought in Modern America by Michael Brendan DoughertyThe WeekSeptember 30th, 2014We no longer talk of "unfit" children, but we'll still destroy them in the name of quality of life.
With Consumer Genetic Testing, Buyer Bewareby EditorialThe Boston GlobeSeptember 30th, 2014The flood of data that comes with direct-to-consumer genetic testing raises a host of ethical questions that neither testing firms nor their customers may anticipate.
The Collapse of a Dangerous Analogy: Or, why mitochondria are much more than batteries by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 29th, 2014Amid a flood of new evidence that mitochondria impact an individual’s traits, the editors at New Scientist have made a “U-turn” on “three-parent babies.” Their new conclusion: “It’s more messy than we thought.”
Kaiser Permanente's Genetic Database Is Boon to Medical Researchby Emily AnthesBloomberg BusinessweekSeptember 25th, 2014The health network has accumulated genetic data on more than 210,000 members.
The Stupidity of the 'Smart Gene'by Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostSeptember 25th, 2014Now that “one of the largest, most rigorous genetic studies of human cognition” has effectively turned up "nothing," can we finally put the notion of “smart genes” behind us?
Women Better Informed About Prenatal Genetic Testing Choose Fewer TestsNews MedicalSeptember 25th, 2014A clinical trial led by UC San Francisco has found that when pregnant women are educated about their choices on prenatal genetic testing, the number of tests actually drops.
Genetic Testing for All Women? Not a Solution to the Breast Cancer Epidemicby  Karuna JaggarHuffington PostSeptember 24th, 2014The recommendation that all women over age 30 be screened for BRCA mutations fails to recognize the significant limitations and harms of mass genetic testing in the current health care environment.
Nobel Laureate: Big Data and Full-Genome Analysis not all they’re Cracked up to beby Mohit Kumar JollyThe ConversationSeptember 23rd, 2014Walter Gilbert explains why whole genome sequencing is not accurate for medical diagnosis.
Can a DNA Test Reveal if You’re an Indigenous Australian?by David WeisbrotThe AgeSeptember 23rd, 2014An Australian Senator recently created controversy by claiming in her first speech to Parliament that going back six generations, she was related to a renowned Tasmanian Aboriginal leader.
Finding Risks, Not Answers, in Gene Testsby Denis Grady and Andrew PollackThe New York TimesSeptember 22nd, 2014Tests to find mutations that predispose people to types of cancer have outpaced the understanding of what they mean.
Experts Provide Much-Needed Policy Analysis for Clinical Integration of Next Generation Sequencing by Glenna PictonBaylor College of Medicine NewsSeptember 22nd, 2014As genetic sequencing becomes part of clinical care, there is a critical need to establish appropriate policies and regulatory frameworks to address potential challenges.
A New Generation of GMOsby Josie GarthwaiteEnsiaSeptember 18th, 2014Is synthetic biology on its way to our farms, markets and tables?
Under the Skinby Nathaniel ComfortNatureSeptember 18th, 2014Three recent books focus on whether race is biological and therefore "real." But this question is a dead end, a distraction from what is really at stake in this debate: human social equality.
Three-Parent Babies: It's More Messy Than we Thoughtby EditorialNew ScientistSeptember 18th, 2014It appears that we may have seriously underestimated the influence that mitochondria have. Recent research suggests that they play a key role in some of the most important features of human life.
Shame and Scandal in the 23andMe Familyby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 17th, 2014In response to its problems with the FDA and news about family traumas triggered by its tests' "close relatives" option, 23andMe is hiring new executives, including a Chief Privacy Officer.
The Stupidity of the “Smart Gene”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 17th, 2014Now that “one of the largest, most rigorous genetic studies of human cognition” has effectively turned up "nothing," can we finally put the notion of “smart genes” behind us?
Life is Randomby Cailin O’ConnorSlateSeptember 11th, 2014Biologists now realize that “nature vs. nurture” misses the importance of noise.
“Evolution right now is in the marketplace”by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 11th, 2014George Church is as outrageous as ever, while both transhumanist ideas and concerns about increasing inequality are receiving more attention.
Genetic Testing Brings Families Together, and Sometimes Tears Them Apartby Julia BelluzVoxSeptember 9th, 2014What 23andMe doesn't promote with its direct-to-consumer genetic tests is that the results can sometimes be painful, especially when users aren't looking for them in the first place.
Genetic Rights and Wrongsby EditorialNatureSeptember 9th, 2014Australia’s decision to uphold a patent on biological material is in danger of hampering the development of diagnostic tests.
'Smart Genes' Prove Elusiveby Ewen CallawayNatureSeptember 8th, 2014Scientists looking for the genes underlying intelligence are in for a slog. One of the largest, most rigorous genetic studies of human cognition has turned up utterly inconclusive findings.
Myth Replacement Therapy: MPs Debate the Science of Mitochondriaby Dr Ted MorrowBioNewsSeptember 8th, 2014There are clearly misconceptions about mitochondrial genetics repeated during the debate that are not supported by current scientific evidence.
Editing DNA Could be Genetic Medicine Breakthrough[References CGS]by Stephanie M. LeeSan Francisco ChronicleSeptember 7th, 2014A new way to make powerful changes at will to the DNA of humans, other animals and plants, much like how a writer changes words in a story, could usher in a transformation in genetic medicine.
Australian Federal Court Rules Isolated Genetic Material can be PatentedThe GuardianSeptember 4th, 2014The decision is likened to ‘being allowed to patent oxygen’, as critics warn of serious repercussions for medical research.
On the Horns of the GMO Dilemmaby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewSeptember 2nd, 2014Can genome-editing technology revive the idea of genetically modified livestock?
‘Can you clone that?’ Putin has close encounter with mammoth Dima in Russia’s Far EastRussia TodaySeptember 1st, 2014Upon meeting a mammoth mummy in a museum in the Russian Far East, President Putin was assured that the museum scientists are closely collaborating with South Koreans on the possibility of cloning it.
US agency updates rules on sharing genomic databy Richard Van NoordenNature NewsSeptember 1st, 2014Changes clarify procedures for telling participants in NIH-funded studies how their data might be used.
Century After Extinction, Passenger Pigeons Remain Iconic—And Scientists Hope to Bring Them Backby Carl ZimmerNational GeographicAugust 31st, 2014The 100th anniversary of the death of Martha, last of her kind, finds biologists dreaming of preventing or reversing extinctions.
Judge warns privacy of DNA at stake after rulingby Ian DuncanThe Baltimore SunAugust 30th, 2014As Maryland's highest court upheld a rape conviction based on DNA collected at a police station, a veteran judge issued a stark warning about the consequences of the ruling.
Disability Will Never Be Immoral by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesAugust 29th, 2014Prenatal genetic testing can be a valuable tool, but it provides strikingly limited data. Events of this summer, including the abandonment of Baby Gammy and shockingly intolerant comments from Richard Dawkins, speak to the risk of conflating one type of information with a broader reality.
When Big Data & Infants' Privacy Collideby  Alison DianaInformation WeekAugust 25th, 2014Technology allows researchers to discover newborns' genetic secrets, but the long-term repercussions worry some parents and privacy advocates.
Will Lowering The Price Of Genetic Testing Raise The Cost Of Medical Care?by Peter UbelForbesAugust 25th, 2014The days of affordable genomic sequencing are rapidly approaching. But will such testing bankrupt us?
Not-So-Personalized Medicine by Howard BrodyHooked: Ethics, Medicine, and PharmaAugust 23rd, 2014Personalized medicine may increasingly be useful in particular situations, but potential limits include false genetic determinism, high costs, and low predictive accuracy.
"We're All One of Troy's Babies": A Celebration of Troy Dusterby Victoria Massie, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 21st, 2014On Friday, August 15th, I was one among a multitude of people finding a seat in Booth Auditorium at UC Berkeley Law School for the event “Celebrating Troy Duster.”
Microbiology: Microbiome Science Needs a Healthy Dose of Scepticismby William P. HanageNatureAugust 20th, 2014To guard against hype, those interpreting research on the body's microscopic communities should ask five questions.
Troy Duster’s Garden of Plugged-In Scholarship, and How it Grewby Barry BergmanNewsCenterAugust 20th, 2014An overview of the CGS co-sponsored event to honor Troy Duster's landmark works on the racial implications of drug policies and genetic research, his role as adviser and friend, and his fierce activism.
High-Risk Brain Research Wins NSF Backingby Sara ReardonNature NewsAugust 18th, 2014The US National Science Foundation is supporting new research into the properties of neural circuits.
Cancer and the Secrets of Your Genesby Theodora RossThe New York TimesAugust 16th, 2014The recent discovery that mutations in a gene called PALB2 greatly increase the risk of breast cancer is one of the biggest developments since the discovery in the ’90s of the role of mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
Moving on from Nicholas Wade to Continuing Concerns about Scientific Racismby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesAugust 14th, 2014Over 140 geneticists publicly criticized Nicholas Wade for distorting their work; but that is unlikely to stop such abuse permanently, and many issues still deserve airing.
Society: Don't Blame the Mothersby Sarah S. Richardson, Cynthia R. Daniels, Matthew W. Gillman, Janet Golden, Rebecca Kukla, Christopher Kuzawa & Janet Rich-EdwardsNatureAugust 13th, 2014There is a long history of blaming mothers for the ill health of their children. The latest wave in this discussion flows from studies of epigenetics.
Could a Genetic Test Predict the Risk for Suicide?by Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewAugust 13th, 2014Two groups of researchers are claiming they can use DNA tests to predict who will attempt suicide, and one startup company will begin offering a suicide risk test to doctors next month for patients taking antidepressants.
New CRG Report: Genetic Privacy and Non-Forensic BiobanksCouncil for Responsible GeneticsAugust 12th, 2014Do You Know Where Your DNA Is? Genetic Privacy and Non-Forensic Biobanks explores the various forms of biobanks in the US, their privacy limitations, the current state of regulation and the need for reform.
Should We Open the Door to Genetically Modified Babies?by Jessica CussinsCNBCAugust 11th, 2014There has been a lot of confusion around this controversial issue, but as we are now facing a historic crossroads, it is important to set the record straight.
Geneticists Say Popular Book Misrepresents Research on Human Evolutionby Ewen CallawayNature NewsAugust 8th, 2014More than 130 leading population geneticists have condemned a book arguing that genetic variation between human populations could underlie global economic, political and social differences.
North Carolina and Genetics: From Sterilization to Research Subjectsby Victoria Massie, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 7th, 2014In the twentieth century, North Carolina was one of dozens of states that targeted certain citizens for eugenic sterilization. Today, in a town outside Charlotte, biotech researchers are asking for urine and blood samples and offering $10 gift cards to WalMart in exchange.
Study Shows Third Gene as Indicator for Breast Cancerby Nicholas BakalarThe New York TimesAugust 6th, 2014Mutations in the gene raise risk in women by almost as much as mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, the genes implicated in most inherited cases.
Data Yearning to Become Expensive Informationby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesAugust 6th, 2014Big players have big “big data and genetics” plans afoot. Here’s the news from Genomics England, 23andMe, Google and Craig Venter.
Genetic Testing of Citizens: A Backdoor Into Total Population Surveillance by Governments, Companiesby Helen WallaceEpoch TimesAugust 3rd, 2014The new Chief Executive of England's National Health Service wants to make people’s personal genetic information the basis of their treatments.
Genome Project Will Transform Cancer Careby Ian SampleThe Guardian [UK]July 31st, 2014About 40,000 patients with cancer and rare diseases will have their genomes sequenced, which David Cameron claims will transform how serious diseases are diagnosed and treated.
Mining Your Genetic Data for Profit: The Dark Side of Biobankingby Amanda WilsonPacific StandardJuly 29th, 2014One woman’s story raises deep questions about the stark limits of current controls in the nascent biobanking industry.
In Search for Killer, DNA Sweep Exposes Intimate Family Secrets in Italyby Elisabetta PovoledoThe New York TimesJuly 26th, 2014In the absence of other evidence, investigators embarked on the country’s largest DNA dragnet, taking genetic samples from nearly 22,000 people.
Google Wants to Create a Map of What a Healthy Human Body Looks Likeby George Dvorskyio9July 25th, 2014Called the Baseline Project, it's different from other mass medical and genomic projects in that it's seeking to collect much larger and broader sets of new data.
The Government Owns Your DNA. What Are They Doing with it?by Susan ScuttiNewsweekJuly 24th, 2014We may not be aware that many states have created biobanks funded by genetic material left over from our screening tests and our specimens may be used for purposes we do not fully understand.
Gene-Hunt Gain for Mental Healthby Sara ReardonNature NewsJuly 24th, 2014A new paper ties 108 genetic locations to schizophrenia, most for the first time; the largest-ever philanthropic donation for psychiatric research is announced.
Making Sense of the BRAINby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJuly 24th, 2014As criticisms of the brain projects on both sides of the Atlantic ramp up, what lessons can be learned from the successes and failures of the Human Genome Project?
Sequenced in the U.S.A.: A Desperate Town Hands Over Its DNAby Amanda WilsonPacific StandardJuly 21st, 2014The new American economy in three tablespoons of blood, a Walmart gift card, and a former mill town’s DNA.
Bering Strait Theory, Pt. 6: DNA, Blood Types and Stereotypesby Alex Ewen Indian Country Today Media NetworkJuly 19th, 2014The use by geneticists of the pseudo-scientific classifications of American Indians has been unfortunate.
Race, Genetics and Voting?by Ian Haney LópezMoyers & CompanyJuly 18th, 2014Naturalistic assumptions about race mislead liberals in their effort to fathom race’s astringent power, shifting the focus from social dynamics to inherited essences.
Thousands of Scots Children Have Their DNA Stored on Police DatabaseSTVJuly 15th, 2014More than 35,000 DNA profiles of under-18s are stored on police computers. 251 of them from youngsters 13 and under, including two ten-year-olds.
New Challenges of Next-Gen Sequencingby Dan KoboldtMassGenomicsJuly 10th, 2014New bioinformatics victories were short-lived, as sequencing finds itself facing new challenges. Harder challenges. Here are a few of them.
Insurance Companies Shouldn’t Seek Genetic Test Results, Says Privacy Watchdogby Steve RennieThe Canadian PressJuly 10th, 2014Canada’s privacy watchdog is urging insurance companies and others to stop asking applicants for access to the results of genetic tests.
The Perfect 46: A “Science Factual” Film about our Near Futureby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJuly 10th, 2014A new science fiction film called “a sort of prequel to Gattaca” highlights the rise and fall of a genetic startup that analyzes people’s genomes to assess their ability to produce disease-free children.
China Approves DNA-Sequencing Devices to Detect Genetic Defects in Unborn Babiesby Angela MengSouth China Morning PostJuly 3rd, 2014Controversial testing products for prenatal detection of birth defects get the green light.
Should We Design Our Babies? [VIDEO] [With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]The Aspen InstituteJuly 2nd, 2014At the Aspen Ideas Festival, Marcy Darnovsky and Nita A. Farahany discuss the possibility and implications of "designer babies."
Predicting Alzheimer’s Disease: Potential Ethical, Legal, and Social Consequencesby Hank GreelyLaw and Biosciences BlogJune 27th, 2014Several different techniques are providing information about an individual’s risk of being diagnosed with AD, including genetics, biomarkers, and neuroimaging.
Empowering Consumers through Accurate Genomic Testsby Jeffrey ShurenFDA VoiceJune 26th, 2014FDA reviews genetic tests for medical conditions, whether they are intended to be ordered by a healthcare practitioner or directly by the consumer, to assure that consumers receive accurate test results.
Quantified and Analyzed, Before the First Breathby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 26th, 2014Could whole genome sequencing in utero ever become the norm? Should it?
Implications of Genetic Diversity in Mexicoby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 25th, 2014Two genomic surveys, one of Mexicans and one of self-identified Latinos, raise questions about the scientific use of cultural terms, and also hold implications for personalized medicine.
Who Owns Your Tissue? You’d be Surprisedby Timothy CaulfieldToronto Globe and MailJune 20th, 2014Human tissue is a form of personal property. Not only that, once it is removed from a patient, it is owned by the hospital.
For One Baby, Life Begins with Genome Revealedby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJune 13th, 2014A professional blogger says sequencing his son in utero “was more cool than practical.” He did it to show where technology is headed and because he likes “pushing the envelope.”
Community Concerns Regarding the Google-Autism Speaks Ten Thousand Genomes Program (AUT10K)ASANJune 12th, 2014In response to the recent announcement of the new Google-Autism Speaks collaboration to produce, expand and analyze the world’s largest private collection of DNA samples of autistic children and adults.
Who Owns Your Genetic Data? Hint: It's Probably Not Youby Meredith SalisburyThe Huffington PostJune 12th, 2014It seems intuitive to many of us that each person owns his or her genetic data and therefore should control access. But the reality is more complex.
Sweeping Diversity Seen in Mexican Genomesby Erika Check HaydenNatureJune 12th, 2014In some cases, the Mexicans studied are as genetically distinct from each other as are people from different continents.
Should Research Subjects Be Given Their Genetic Test Results?by Margaret LutzeGuardian Liberty VoiceJune 12th, 2014Two study groups agree that the answer turns on whether or not the research subject consented to the return of their genetic information.
Searching Chromosomes for the Legacy of Traumaby Josie Glausiusz NatureJune 11th, 2014The daughter of a Holocaust survivor narrates her own participation in a study of epigenetic inheritance.
Property Rights and the Human Bodyby Jennifer K. WagnerGenomics Law ReportJune 11th, 2014A Canadian court decided that human tissue removed from the body for diagnostic medical tests is “personal property” that belongs to the hospital.
A Problem Like No Other: Science And Politicsby Adam FrankNPR BlogJune 10th, 2014Ignoring what scientists are telling us is an ultimately self-destructive act. But when it comes to telling us what we should do, scientists are not in a privileged position.
On the New Alphabet of Lifeby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJune 6th, 2014On metaphors, stories, and synthetic nucleotides: rewriting the code of life.
How our Genes Could Make us Gay or Straightby Jenny GravesThe Washington PostJune 6th, 2014New research adds another candidate gene for homosexuality, but rather than thinking of them as “gay genes,” perhaps we should consider them “male-loving genes” and "female-loving genes."
Wading into Racismby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 6th, 2014A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History has been out for a month, and the fuss, such as it was, seems to be dying down, but the underlying issues remain significant.
The Genome's Big Data Problemby Joseph CoxMother BoardJune 4th, 2014Serious concerns around genetic data need to be handled before we all jump on the genome band wagon. How will the data be stored? Who will be able to access it? What security will be in place?
Genetics In Court Is a Very Messy Businessby Alexandra SifferlinTimeJune 4th, 2014Courts may soon face the challenge of determining whether genetics can be linked to criminal behavior.
2-4-6-8, Novel Pairs to Replicateby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 29th, 2014A pair of artificial nucleotides have been inserted into E. coli, which reproduced the three base-pairs successfully until the source of nucleotides ran out.
Genomic Controversy in Iceland: Déja Vu All Over Againby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 28th, 2014DeCODE Genetics has launched another attempt to gather the population of Iceland into a genetic database.
Loophole in Genetic Testing Lawby Rachel GlaserWHAM TVMay 23rd, 2014People who undergo increasingly popular genetic testing could be penalized, forced to pay higher premiums or denied coverage for certain policies.
One Can Always Say ‘No’by Xavier SymonsBioEdgeMay 23rd, 2014An important question in contemporary bioethics concerns the role of genetic and neurobiological determinism in crime. What role do genes and the wiring of one’s brain play in criminal action?
Making Babiesby Alexis C. MadrigalThe AtlanticMay 21st, 2014Some guesses about how the future may change what’s involved in making a person—from the ease of getting pregnant, to the mechanics of procreation, to our very definition of family.
Familial DNA is Debatable Procedureby Andy ThompsonPost-Crescent MediaMay 20th, 2014Wisconsin has joined a handful of states in allowing familial DNA testing — a powerful but debatable procedure — to identify suspects in murders and sexual assaults.
Scientists Hoping to Ease Interpretation of the DNA ‘Book of Life’by Carolyn Y. JohnsonThe Boston GlobeMay 19th, 2014The public tends to see DNA as holding almost-mystical power, but in reality, interpreting a healthy person’s DNA with the current tools and understanding of human genetics is tricky.
Why I Won’t Give a Sample of my DNA to Decode Geneticsby Alda SigmundsdóttirThe Iceland Weather ReportMay 19th, 2014Decode Genetics wants 100,000 Icelanders to give them DNA samples to put into their database. Here is why I have decided NOT to.
Charging Into the Minefield of Genes and Racial Differenceby Arthur AllenThe New York TimesMay 15th, 2014Few areas of science have contributed more to human misery than the study of racial difference. In A Troublesome Inheritance, Nicholas Wade argues that scientists need to get over their hang-ups and jump in.
Lawsuit Alleges Unauthorized Publication of Personal Genetics Databy Cyrus FarivarArs TechnicaMay 14th, 2014An Alaska man is the lead plaintiff in a proposed class-action lawsuit against the makers of Family Tree, a Texas-based DNA testing company.
Things to Know When Talking About Race and Geneticsby Agustín FuentesPsychology TodayMay 13th, 2014The assertion that humans are divided into “continental races” and that these lead to differences in genetically based social behaviors is just bad science.
The Genes Made Us Do Itby Jonathan MarksIn These TimesMay 12th, 2014A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History is a paranoid, anti-intellectual screed. According to author Nicholas Wade, scientists are misleading you about race in order to set their own egalitarian political agenda.
Counsyl Gets Funding for New Genetic Tests[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Stephanie M. LeeSan Francisco ChronicleMay 8th, 2014The San Francisco startup, Counsyl, has just released a test that screens men and women for their inherited risks of breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancers.
Nicholas Wade: Genes, Race and Anthropologyby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 8th, 2014Is Nicholas Wade shocked and horrified that his new book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, is getting support from racists? Really, what did he expect?
Scientists Add Letters to DNA’s Alphabet, Raising Hope and Fearby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesMay 7th, 2014Scientists report that they have taken a significant step toward altering the fundamental alphabet of life — creating an organism with an expanded artificial genetic code in its DNA.
Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: a Case of Potential Harmby Nancy FlieslerVectorMay 5th, 2014A case report in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics provides what may be the first evidence of potential harm caused by errors in test interpretation by a DTC company.
Consumer Gene Tests Face Uncertain Futureby Andrea KissackKQEDMay 5th, 2014Direct-to-consumer genetic testing took a blow last year when the government cracked down on Mountain View company 23andMe. Now, the company is working to be able to offer health information again.
Fertility Guru's IVF warning: Rich Could Pay to Have Brighter Babiesby Mario Ledwith and Fiona MacraeDaily MailMay 5th, 2014Breakthroughs in IVF could "threaten our humanity" by prompting parents to demand designer babies, warns fertility pioneer Lord Robert Winston.
Genome Sequencing: A Costly Way to Saveby Randy ShoreVancouver SunMay 4th, 2014The promise of genome sequencing is letting doctors pick the right cancer drug the first time. But the ability to target specific cancer types is giving rise to new and expensive specialty drugs.
Your Genes Are Obsoleteby Michael WhitePacific StandardMay 2nd, 2014Giving a physical meaning to the concept of a gene was a triumph of 20th-century biology, but as it turns out, this scientific success hasn’t solved the problems we hoped it would.
Advancing the Disability Rights Perspective on Bioethics Issuesby Diane ColemanNot Dead YetMay 2nd, 2014The first ever Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics drew more than 60 participants.
Pre-Pregnancy Diet 'Permanently Influences Baby's DNA'by Helen BriggsBBCApril 29th, 2014Animal experiments show diet in pregnancy can switch genes on or off, but this is the first human evidence. The research followed women in rural Gambia, where seasonal climate leads to big differences in diet between rainy and dry periods.
DNA Day Hypeby Nathaniel ComfortGenotopiaApril 25th, 2014To celebrate DNA Day, the genetic testing company 23andMe posted a DNA Day infographic that is a marvelous inadvertent evidence of genetic oversell.
Guidelines for Finding Genetic Variants Underlying Human Diseaseby Daniel MacArthur and Chris GunterGenomes UnzippedApril 24th, 2014New DNA sequencing technologies are rapidly transforming the diagnosis of rare genetic diseases, but they make it potentially easy for researchers to spin a causal narrative around genetic changes that have nothing to do with disease status.
NIPS SPINby Robert RestaThe DNA ExchangeApril 21st, 2014Every few years a new screening technology comes zooming down the prenatal pike, sometimes arriving more quickly than we might like. The latest iteration – Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening – stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Is Illumina’s $1,000 Genome a Reality? Not for Clinical Laboratory Purposes, Asserts an In Vitro Diagnostics Expert by Joseph BurnsDark DailyApril 21st, 2014Gene sequencing for clinical purposes requires more resources, including the costs of experts to interpret data to help pathologists and physicians involved in the case.
Geneticist Cynthia Kenyon is Heading to Googleby Stephanie M. LeeSan Francisco ChronicleApril 20th, 2014Google's mysterious health venture dedicated to extending human life has quietly lured an acclaimed biochemistry and biophysics professor away from UC San Francisco.
U.S. health groups worried genetic test could displace Pap smear by Matthew PerroneThe Associated Press April 15th, 2014Women's groups warn that moving to a DNA-based testing model would be a "radical shift" in medical practice that could lead to confusion, higher costs and overtreatment.
How I Hacked My Best Friend’s Genome — And Could Hack Yours Tooby Sharon MoalemMediumApril 15th, 2014You just never know when someone may want to hack your genome.
Genetic Information: The Voices From The Fault Linesby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 15th, 2014More people are choosing not to know what’s in their genome and more people are sharing the complexities and challenges of knowing. How can their choices and experiences inform policy?
Guarantee Privacy to Ensure Proper Treatmentby Jeremy GruberThe New York Times, Room for DebateApril 14th, 2014As more and more of this personal information becomes public knowledge, it can be bought and sold by any commercial interests interested in predictive information about an individual's future health status.
Human Rights Body Warns Over Mass DNA Screeningby Elaine EdwardsThe Irish TimesApril 11th, 2014A Government proposal which would allow the taking of DNA samples for “mass screening” of certain “classes” of individuals should be prohibited, Ireland's national human rights watchdog has said.
Stocking the Genetic Supermarket: Reproductive Genetic Technologies and Collective Action Problemsby Chris Gyngell and Thomas DouglasWiley Online LibraryApril 10th, 2014Reproductive genetic technologies targeting non-medical traits could lead to collective action problems. Does this risk justify state intervention in the genetic supermarket?
Pharma to fork: How we'll swallow synthetic biologyby Colin BarrasNew ScientistApril 10th, 2014Our best antimalarial drug comes from a plant, but now modified microbes are brewing it in a factory. Synthetic biology has got real – and food may be next.
Meet your unborn child – before it's even conceived[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Catherine de LangeNew ScientistApril 9th, 2014A service that creates digital embryos by virtually mixing two people's DNA will allow parents to screen out genetic disorders – and perhaps much more.
Fetal Abnormalities: The Next Minefield in the Abortion Wars?by Amelia Thomson-DeveauxThe American ProspectApril 9th, 2014Conscience clauses are just the beginning—genetic counselors are on a collision course with state-level abortion politics.
DNA Dreamsby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 9th, 2014The fascinating documentary film that explores the inner workings of BGI Shenzhen, “the world’s largest genomics organization,” is now available in full on YouTube.
Fearing Punishment for Bad Genesby Kira PeikoffThe New York TimesApril 7th, 2014People are avoiding genetic testing because of a major omission in the 2008 federal law that bars employers and health insurers from seeking the results of the tests.
Stress Alters Children's Genomesby Jyoti MadhusoodananNatureApril 7th, 2014Growing up in a stressful social environment leaves lasting marks on young chromosomes, a study of African American boys has revealed.
Startup Offering DNA Screening of 'Hypothetical Babies' Raises Fears Over Designer Children[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Catherine de LangeThe GuardianApril 5th, 2014Anne Morriss and Lee Silver are about to launch a company called Genepeeks that uses the DNA of sperm donors and recipients to create "virtual babies."
Genetic Inheritance: How Much do you Want to Know?by Stuart JeffriesThe GuardianApril 4th, 2014Scientist Sharon Moalem says we will soon be able to alter our children's lives with genetic manipulation – would you do it if you could?
A Disturbing Trend: Conscience Clauses Threaten Genetic Counselingby Alex SternHuffington PostApril 2nd, 2014Conscience clauses place genetic counselors in an untenable predicament: State laws and hospital directives are in conflict with professional ethics and best practices.
A Disturbing Trend: Conscience Clauses Threaten Genetic Counselingby Alex SternHuffPostApril 2nd, 2014Genetic counselors are increasingly being officially recognized and licensed, but some states are imposing "conscience clauses" that in practice may conflict with their professional ethics.
Gene of the Week: Entrepreneurship (again)by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 2nd, 2014Scientists keep trying, and failing, to find the gene for starting a business.
In Reversal, Genetics Group Says Patients Should Be Allowed to Refuse 'Incidental' Findings by Jennifer Couzin-FrankelScienceApril 1st, 2014Reversing the controversial recommendation they made last year, the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics now claim that patients should be allowed to “opt out” of learning how their DNA might increase their risk of disease.
CRISPR Reverses Disease Symptoms in Living Animals for First TimeGenetic Engineering NewsMarch 31st, 2014MIT scientists report the use of a CRISPR methodology to cure mice of a rare liver disorder caused by a single genetic mutation.
We May Already Know How we Will Cure Death—But Should we?by Christopher MimsQuartzMarch 29th, 2014A pair of advocates—they do legitimate research too, but their ardor is so intense, it’s hard to call them scientists—believe that they will, within their lifetimes, make ours the first generation of humans to live forever.
Whole-Genome Sequencing as Part of Newborn Screening?by Chris ChipelloMcGillMarch 26th, 2014Ethical, legal and social issues should be weighed before adopting the technology in public programs, researchers argue.
Texas High School’s “Issues Day” Takes on Human Genetic Engineeringby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 26th, 2014A private San Antonio high school, Saint Mary’s Hall, holds an annual “Issues Day.” The topic this year, chosen by a committee of the junior class, was human genetic engineering.
In Research Involving Genome Analysis, Some See a ‘New Racism’by Paul VoosenThe Chronicle of Higher EducationMarch 24th, 2014Variation among geographic populations is real, but there are no categories of race that segment human populations, and there are no mysterious qualities ‘in the blood’ that justify the belief in racial superiority.
Breast Cancer Genes and Patient Protection in an Era of Personalized Medicineby Karuna JaggarHuffington PostMarch 20th, 2014Genetic testing is often heralded as a cornerstone of personalized medicine, but progress has lagged while persistent medical, ethical and scientific issues abound.
Technology: The $1,000 Genomeby Erika Check HaydenNature NewsMarch 19th, 2014With a unique programme, the US government has managed to drive the cost of genome sequencing down towards a much-anticipated target.
Google Invites Geneticists to Upload DNA Data to Cloudby Stephanie M. LeeSan Francisco ChronicleMarch 18th, 2014Google recently invited geneticists to upload information to the company's cloud infrastructure, and provided scientists with instructions on how to import, process, store and, of course, search DNA data.
OPP Faces Scrutiny Over DNA Testing Sweep that Brought Racial-Profiling Complaintby Tim AlamenciakThe StarMarch 17th, 2014Ontario’s independent police watchdog says seeking DNA from 100 farm workers whose sole similarity was skin colour raises "the spectre of racial profiling."
Can You Pass the (Deoxyribonucleic) Acid Test?[with CGS's Pete Shanks]Center for Environmental HealthMarch 17th, 2014Discussion with Kira Peikoff, Dr. David Ng, Dr. Stuart Newman, and Pete Shanks on 23andMe, direct-to-consumer genetic testing, epigenetics, and GMO humans.
Whole Genome Sequencing only Halfway Thereby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 14th, 2014A new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that whole genome sequencing has large hurdles to overcome before it can be integrated into clinical care, but there’s another point to consider: Do we want it there in the first place?
Adrienne Asch: A Career at the Intersection of Bioethics and Disability Studiesby Sara BergstresserVoices in BioethicsMarch 12th, 2014Recognizing Adrienne Asch's pioneering work: Remembrances by three people who knew her both professionally and personally.
Hacking Your DNAby David Ewing DuncanNewsweekMarch 12th, 2014Imagine a future when Big Data has access not only to your shopping habits, but also to your DNA and other deeply personal data collected about our bodies and behavior. What will the government and others do with that data?
Whole Genome Scans Aren't Quite Ready For Your Doctor's Officeby Nancy ShuteNPRMarch 11th, 2014Even if the genome scanners become more accurate, doctors will still have to grapple with what all that data means.
Another Legal Setback for Myriadby Kerry GrensThe ScientistMarch 11th, 2014A U.S. District Court judge denied an injunction to stop Myriad Genetics' competitors from selling tests for BRCA mutations because Myriad’s patent claims may not hold up in an ongoing lawsuit.
FDA Halts 23andMe Personal Genetic Testsby Marcy Darnovsky and Jessica CussinsMedical Laboratory ObserverMarch 10th, 2014After a series of setbacks, what will the future hold for direct-to-consumer genetic testing?
When Science Doesn't Have all the Answersby Louise KinrossBloomMarch 6th, 2014My son’s rare genetic deletion is on the list of disorders identified by microarray analysis of a fetus’s DNA. It makes me sad to think that the lives of children like my son are being targeted for termination. Is this a step forward?
Global Genomic Data-Sharing Effort Kicks Offby Ewen CallawayNatureMarch 6th, 2014The number of sequenced human genomes will soon jump from the thousands to the millions. A coalition of researchers, funders and businesses aims to facilitate the exchange of genomic data.
Human Longevity, Inc.by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMarch 6th, 2014Craig Venter's new genomics company may face some stiff competition.
Epigenetics: The sins of the fatherby Virginia HughesNatureMarch 5th, 2014The roots of inheritance may extend beyond the genome, but the mechanisms remain a puzzle.
Sequencing Pioneer's Startup Plans to Promote Better Agingby Elizabeth PennisiScienceMarch 4th, 2014J. Craig Venter has jumped into biomedical sequencing with his latest venture, Human Longevity Inc., "a genomics and cell therapy-based diagnostic and therapeutic company" that should be up and running by summer.
Privatizing Biomedical Citizenshipby Jonathan KahnHealthLawProf BlogMarch 3rd, 2014Massive recruitment to participate in biomedical research promotes a privatized conception of citizenship that configures citizens’ duties as serving not the public good, but the good of private corporations – pharmaceutical manufacturers in particular.
China Cracks Down on DNA Testingby Shu-Ching Jean ChenForbesMarch 3rd, 2014Early in February, the Chinese government quietly put the brakes on the provision of genetic tests to customers by domestic hospitals and a variety of medical and health institutions.
Rare Mutation Kills Off Gene Responsible for Diabetesby Gina KolataThe New York TimesMarch 2nd, 2014A new study based on genetic testing of 150,000 people has found a rare mutation that protects even fat people from getting Type 2 diabetes.
The Dilemma of Whether to Release Genetic Informationby Xavier SymonsBioEdgeMarch 1st, 2014New studies are suggesting that doctors need to be more cautious when they release genetic information to patients.
The Market For DNA Sequencing-Based Down Syndrome Tests Could Exceed $6 Billionby Matthew HerperForbesFebruary 28th, 2014A study shows that a new DNA-sequencing based blood test provides a dramatic improvement in accuracy at screening for Down syndrome and a second, deadly disorder.
The Dangerous “Science” of Gregory Clark, as Read in The New York Timesby Matt RubenPhiladelphia MagazineFebruary 26th, 2014The pseudo-scientific notion that genetics explains why elite families and groups remain on top has surfaced again in a recent New York Times column.
Is Genetic Testing Humans Playing God?by Robert KlitzmanCNNFebruary 22nd, 2014Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis allows doctors to test embryos before they are implanted into a woman's womb, to help ensure that certain gene mutations are not passed on. But this procedure is raising myriad complex ethical and social issues.
DNA Collection Aids Arrests — But What About Privacy?by Noreen MoustafaAljazeera AmericaFebruary 21st, 2014Privacy advocates warn that warrantless searches of a person’s DNA, especially for misdemeanor arrests, is a slippery slope.
Old Songs, New Tests, and Expensive Childrenby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorFebruary 20th, 2014The CEO of AOL justified a restructuring of the company’s 401(K) plan by citing two "distressed babies." This tone-deaf insensitivity was answered by a disapproving choir, but it sadly resembles too many descriptions of the "cost" of people with disabilities.
Sex Science and Gender Cultureby Katherine XueHarvard MagazineFebruary 19th, 2014In her new book Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome, Sarah S. Richardson examines science’s claims to reveal “what is really real about male and female.”
FDA Should Preserve International Consensus against Human Germline Modifications[Press statement]February 19th, 2014The US Food and Drug Administration will hold a public meeting to discuss “oocyte modification in assisted reproduction for the prevention of transmission of mitochondrial disease.”
'There is no DNA Test to Prove You're Native American'by Linda GeddesNew ScientistFebruary 13th, 2014DNA testing is changing how Native Americans think about tribal membership. Yet anthropologist Kim Tallbear warns that genetic tests are a blunt tool, and tribal identity not just a matter of blood ties.
Ancient Genome Stirs Ethics Debateby Ewen CallawayNatureFebruary 12th, 2014The remains of a young boy buried some 12,600 years ago in Montana have revealed the ancestry of one of the earliest populations in the Americas.
Why Family Caregivers Should Care for their Families' Genetic Inheritance Data[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Dr. Gordon AtherleyVoice AmericaFebruary 10th, 2014Marcy Darnovsky and Jeff Nisker discuss the benefits and risks associated with the use of families’ genetic inheritance data for research and for medical treatment.
Whole Genome Testing Used to Guide Breast Cancer Treatmentby Barbara CzubBioNewsFebruary 10th, 2014Whole genome testing has been used to guide tailored treatment against advanced breast cancer in a group of 43 patients.
The Path to Reading a Newborn’s DNA Mapby Anne EisenbergThe New York TimesFebruary 8th, 2014What if laboratories could run comprehensive DNA tests on infants at birth? Should parents be told of each variation, even if any risk is still unclear? Would they even want to know?
Myriad Settles Gene Patent Lawsuit Against Texas Firmby Tom HarveyThe Salt Lake TribuneFebruary 7th, 2014Myriad Genetics has reached a settlement with Gene by Gene Ltd. and vows to continue legal battles against other competitors trying to jump into the market.
Uzbekistan Is Using Genetic Testing to Find Future Olympiansby Ron Synovitz and Zamira EshanovaThe AtlanticFebruary 6th, 2014The idea of using genetic testing to spot future world-class athletes has been bandied about for years. Uzbekistan is now testing children as young as 10 to determine their athletic potential.
To Catch a Killer Gene: Sisters Race to Stop Mystery Disease[Quotes CGS's Osagie K. Obasogie]by Tony DokoupilNBC NewsFebruary 6th, 2014This story of a family banding together to stop a disease before it cuts a path through society illustrates the promise of genomic medicine, but also the soul-troubling questions that arise when people have a hand in their own evolution.
The $1,000 Genome: Game Changer or PR Stunt?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesFebruary 6th, 2014The DNA sequencing company Illumina announced a new product capable of sequencing an entire human genome for under $1,000. What are the hidden costs? What are the implications of reaching this long-awaited benchmark?
Genetics for the People?by Donna DickensonProject SyndicateFebruary 5th, 2014The rhetoric of personal ownership and control touted by 23andMe hides their flimsy data and actual business plan.
Ethics Questions Arise as Genetic Testing of Embryos Increasesby Gina KolataThe New York TimesFebruary 3rd, 2014The procedure raises unsettling ethical questions that trouble advocates for the disabled and have left some doctors struggling with what they should tell their patients.
On Race and Medicineby Keith NorrisThe ScientistFebruary 1st, 2014While age and gender are strongly associated with biological differences that may have a significant impact on disease susceptibility and treatment response, the role of race/ethnicity is far less clear.
Why we Should Opt Out of the Government's New Patient Databaseby Edward HockingsThe GuardianJanuary 31st, 2014Medical records in England and Wales will soon be linked to whole-sequenced genomes. Choosing to "opt out" is also taking a stand on what kind of society we want in the future.
Genetic Determinism: Why we Never Learn — And Why it Mattersby Nathaniel ComfortGenotopiaJanuary 29th, 2014Studying the history of genetics and popularization has led me to the surprising conclusion that genetic oversell is independent of genetic knowledge. We see the same sorts of articles in 2014 as we saw in 1914.
How FDA and 23andMe Dance Around Evidence That Is Not Thereby Cecile JanssensHuffington PostJanuary 27th, 2014Almost all former direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies have closed up shop. In the wake of criticism from all sides will 23andMe be next?
Right on target: New era of fast genetic engineeringby Colin BarrasNew ScientistJanuary 27th, 2014If we ever decide to genetically modify people, this is the tool to do it with.
California’s stem cell agency poised to bet big on genomics researchby David JensenSacramento BeeJanuary 26th, 2014Directors of the California stem cell agency are preparing to create one or two stem cell genomic centers that they predict will make the state a world leader in the new field.
A genetic “Minority Report”: How corporate DNA testing could put us at riskby Benjamin WinterhalterSalonJanuary 26th, 201423andMe's FDA problems are just the beginning - the company's DNA tests open up a wealth of privacy concerns.
Is genius in the genes?by Steven RoseTESJanuary 24th, 2014The debate about genes and intelligence has resurfaced, and it’s more fervent than ever. Can achievement truly be inherited? Should education be tailored to individuals’ genetic potential?
A Chinese Prodigy's Quest For The Genetic Roots Of Geniusby Ursula GauthierWorldcrunchJanuary 22nd, 2014Zhao Bowen’s mission is to sequence the genome of prodigies like himself to find the genetic roots of genius.
Building the Better Babyby Craig KlugmanBioethics.netJanuary 21st, 2014BGI, the Chinese company, is hoping that it will soon be able to offer parents an option like that in GATTACA — choosing the “smartest” embryo.
Soaring sales of 'dangerous' do-it-yourself DNA test kits: Number of websites selling products doubles in two yearsby Sean PoulterDaily Mail (UK)January 20th, 2014Sales of DNA tests for everything from the risk of developing life-threatening diseases to catching out cheating partners are booming, though many scientists suggest that DIY home DNA testing could cause real harm.
Hit-and-Miss Genetic Testingby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 20th, 2014In at least four experiments, identical DNA has been sent to different direct-to-consumer testing companies. In every case, significant anomalies appeared.
CGS Letter to the FDA on Mitochondrial TransferThe Center for Genetics and Society's letter regarding the FDA's February 25-26 public meeting to discuss the advisability of a technique that would modify the human germline.
Cloning Fraudster Profiled by Big Science Journalsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 19th, 2014Korean stem-cell fraudster Hwang Woo-suk has been busy trying to rehabilitate his reputation and collaborating with the Chinese genomic powerhouse BGI.
There’s a Gene for Thatby Pankaj MehtaJacobinJanuary 18th, 2014History is littered with horrifying examples of the misuse of evolutionary theory to justify power and inequality. Welcome to a new age of biological determinism.
The FDA Is Not Anti-Geneticsby Michael WhitePacific StandardJanuary 17th, 2014Despite the recent crackdown on 23andMe, the FDA is engaging with fast-moving biotechnology advances. However, there’s still much work to be done.
FDA approves genetic test that screens infants for predictors of mental disabilitiesby Matthew PerroneAssociated PressJanuary 17th, 2014The laboratory test from Affymetrix detects variations in patients' chromosomes that are linked to Down syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome and other developmental disorders.
Butting Heads Over "De-extinction"by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 16th, 2014Paul Ehrlich and Stewart Brand have written contrasting essays debating the idea of "de-extinction.”
Could Glow-in-the-Dark Tobacco Plants Light Up the Living Rooms of the Future?by Kristin HohenadelSlateJanuary 15th, 2014St Louis biotech company Bioglow has developed a genetically modified tobacco plant that glows in the dark, as a first step towards a world in which our highways and homes might be illuminated with the luminescent glow of plant life.
Cloning comebackby David CyranoskiNature NewsJanuary 14th, 2014Ten years ago, Woo Suk Hwang rose to the top of his field before fraud and dodgy bioethical practices derailed his career. Can a scientific pariah redeem himself?
China cloning on an 'industrial scale'by David ShukmanBBC NewsJanuary 13th, 2014Their cloning methods may not be novel, but the application of mass production is. And BGI has ambitions to sequence the genomes of a million people, a million animals and a million plants.
The Case Against De-Extinction: It’s a Fascinating but Dumb Ideaby Paul R. Ehrliche360January 13th, 2014Even if reviving extinct species is practical, it’s an awful idea. It would take resources away from saving endangered species and their habitats and would divert us from the critical work needed to protect the planet.
The Case for De-Extinction: Why We Should Bring Back the Woolly Mammothby Stewart Brande360January 13th, 2014Restoring long-gone species is a goal worth pursuing, with real benefits for conservation and our sense of the natural world.
Aiming to Push Genomics Forward in New Studyby Andrew PollackNew York TimesJanuary 13th, 2014Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, a fast-growing biotech company, is undertaking an ambitious new genomics effort with a health care provider that treats 3 million people in Pennsylvania.
Testing times for the consumer genetics revolutionby Donna DickensonNew ScientistJanuary 13th, 2014With the highest-profile seller of $99 genetic tests under fire, will public trust in personalised medicine suffer?
DNA Dreamingby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 13th, 2014A new documentary looks at the Chinese company that styles itself "the world’s largest genomics organization,” and its hunt for the genetic basis of intelligence.
After 23andMe, Another Personal Genetics Firm Is Charged with False Advertisingby Dina Fine MaronScientific AmericanJanuary 11th, 2014The Federal Trade Commission says GeneLink, which served 30,000 customers, made claims not based on science and failed to protect consumer information.
DNA evidence in Grim Sleeper case was taken legally, judge rulesby Paresh DaveLos Angeles TimesJanuary 7th, 2014A judge ruled that it was lawful for DNA evidence to be obtained from a pizza slice by a police officer posing as a busboy.
Chinese Scientists, “Genius Genes,” and the Future of Genomicsby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 7th, 2014The New Yorker delves into the “biological data mill” that is BGI: the world’s largest, and arguably most controversial, genomics headquarters.
Genetic Testing Sparks Ethics Debate[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]CCTV AmericaJanuary 5th, 2014Mark Niu reports on the ethical debate surrounding genetic testing and the FDA's ruling on 23andMe.
A Short History of Biological Explanations for Povertyby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 2nd, 2014“The Biological Inferiority of the Undeserving Poor” sketches the history of biological explanations for social ills, and warns that we should pay close attention to their current resurgence.
New Finding Has Major Implications for Genetic Testing as Researchers Learn that Greater Numbers of Humans Have Multiple Personal Genomes by Pamela SchererDark DailyDecember 30th, 2013New insights about personal genomes will give pathologists and clinical laboratory scientists different ways to use genetic tests in the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of disease.
An Ethics for the Future of Genetic Testingby Sara HendrenThe AtlanticDecember 30th, 2013As testing becomes more advanced, how should expecting parents weigh the information they have about a fetus with the information they don't?
I Had My DNA Picture Taken, With Varying Resultsby Kira PeikoffThe New York TimesDecember 30th, 2013Kira Peikoff had her DNA tested by three direct-to-consumer companies, and the results didn't agree.
CRISPRs Enlisted to Study Mutations Across an Entire Mammalian GenomeGenetic Engineering & Biotechnology NewsDecember 24th, 2013Scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have developed a technique to create a comprehensive library of mutations across all genes in the mouse genome.
The Biological Inferiority of the Undeserving Poorby Michael B. KatzSocial Work and Society International Online JournalDecember 24th, 2013The biological definition of poverty reinforces the idea of the undeserving poor, which is the oldest theme in post-Enlightenment poverty discourse.
Only High-Risk Women Need Breast Cancer Gene Test: Expertsby Dennis ThompsonUS NewsDecember 23rd, 2013Nine of 10 women do not need and should not receive genetic testing to see if they are at risk for breast or ovarian cancer, an influential panel of health experts has announced.
Top Science Longreads of 2013by Ed YongNational GeographicDecember 23rd, 2013I’m really optimistic about the future for long, deep, rich science reporting. There are more places that are publishing it, more ways of finding it, and a seemingly huge cadre of people who are writing it well.
Screening Newborns For Disease Can Leave Families In Limboby Nell GreenfieldboyceNPRDecember 23rd, 2013Patient advocacy groups have been pushing states to adopt mandatory newborn screening for more and more diseases, including ones that have no easy diagnosis or treatment.
“The Dark Matter of Psychiatric Genetics”by Carl ZimmerNational GeographicDecember 20th, 2013Scientists have long known that mosaicism can be important for cancer, but it’s only recently that experts on other diseases have thought about it.
Turning Back Time: Ageing Reversed in Miceby Laasya SamhitaNew ScientistDecember 19th, 2013A team has identified a new way in which cells age, and reversed the process in old mice whose bodies appear younger in several ways.
Biopolitical News of the Year 2013by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 19th, 2013For better and worse, 2013 has been a year in which several related issues familiar to those who follow human biotechnology moved into the wider sphere of public discussion.
Non-Invasive Method Devised to Sequence DNA of Human Eggsby Erika Check HaydenNatureDecember 19th, 2013Scientists have begun a clinical trial to test whether a new DNA-sequencing technique for human egg cells can improve in vitro fertilization success rates.
New Ways to Engineer the Germlineby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesDecember 18th, 2013A look at a number of emerging techniques that could compromise the international consensus against human inheritable genetic modification.
Selling Tests, Selling Treatments: A Few Reflections on Medical Advertisingby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorDecember 18th, 2013The questions raised by the recent New York Times article about aggressive selling of ADD drugs should also be posed to those marketing non-invasive prenatal gene tests.
Too Much Informationby Amanda SchafferMIT Technology ReviewDecember 17th, 2013Advances in non-invasive prenatal screening could collide with the politics of abortion and raise the ugly specter of eugenics. Are there limits to how much data parents should have—or want to have—about their children before birth?
Ensure That Genetic Tests are Accurate: Our Viewby The Editorial BoardUSA TodayDecember 16th, 2013Opening the door to genetic testing and its potential health benefits is an exciting prospect. But only if the tests are accurate, the interpretations meaningful, and the results understandable.
Professor Plomin Goes to Parliamentby John GillottBioNewsDecember 16th, 2013The House of Commons Education Committee, currently investigating 'underachievement in education of white working class children,' heard about the genetics of children with learning disabilities.
The Shadow Genome: Why DNA Isn't Destinyby Russell BrandomThe VergeDecember 13th, 2013The finding of how a mother’s weight-loss surgery could affect her child’s risk of obesity is part of a raft of studies looking at the phenomenon of epigenetic inheritance.
Similar But Not Identical: Study Reveals More About Twins Than About Educationby Steve ConnorIndependentDecember 13th, 2013The headlines this week about a new study of the role of genetics in educational achievement told only part of the story.
Scientists Discover Double Meaning in Genetic CodeScience DailyDecember 12th, 2013Scientists have discovered a second code hiding within DNA that will change how they read the instructions contained in DNA and interpret mutations to make sense of health and disease.
Medics should plan ahead for incidental findingsby Erika Check HaydenNature NewsDecember 12th, 2013The US Bioethics Commission weighs in on the debate over how scientists and companies should handle inadvertent discoveries in diagnostic tests.
Singularity: Reading our genes like computer code[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Jane WakefieldBBC NewsDecember 9th, 2013Marcy Darnovsky tells the BBC: "It's becoming ever more clear that genetic information will never yield solid actionable data about an individual's risks for the vast majority of common complex diseases."
Utah’s Myriad Genetics Ramps up Gene Patenting Disputeby Tom HarveyThe Salt Lake TribuneDecember 9th, 2013Myriad Genetics is enveloped in a spate of lawsuits over its gene patents, this time sparring with companies that want to erode its dominant position in testing genes related to breast and ovarian cancer.
Court to Consider California's DNA Collection Lawby Paul EliasAssociated PressDecember 9th, 2013California's Attorney General and the Obama administration are urging a federal appeals court to uphold California's mandatory collection of DNA samples from every arrestee.
Genetic Tester to Stop Providing Data on Health Risksby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesDecember 6th, 2013Bowing to the Food and Drug Administration, 23andMe said it would stop providing consumers with health information while its test undergoes regulatory review.
23andMe's Troubles: The Spat over Spit by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 5th, 2013First a warning letter from the FDA, then a class action lawsuit. What's next for Google-backed 23andMe, the only direct-to-consumer genetic testing company still in the game?
Die, Selfish Gene, Dieby David DobbsAeon MagazineDecember 3rd, 2013How vital, really, are actual changes in the genetic code? Do we even need DNA changes to adapt to new environments? Is the importance of the gene as the driver of evolution being overplayed?
The Failed Promise of 23andMeby Robert KlitzmanBloombergDecember 3rd, 2013The FDA should take stronger action to protect consumers from the risks associated with direct-to-consumer testing - especially overpromises about partial testing.
San Diego Woman Sues 23andMe Over DNA Testby Gary RobbinsUT San DiegoDecember 3rd, 2013A class-action lawsuit alleges that 23andMe knowingly misled consumers into thinking that its DNA test kits produce a reliable look at a person’s relative risk for hundreds of diseases and disorders.
Genetic Testing Should Adhere to Medical, Not Business, Ethics: FDA's Regulation of 23andMe Is a Welcome Move for Consumersby Karuna JaggarHuffington PostDecember 1st, 2013The truth is that we still understand very little about how our genes interact with our environment, and our individual choices, to impact our health.
Linking Genes to Diseases by Sifting Through Electronic Medical Recordsby Carl ZimmerThe New York TimesNovember 28th, 2013In a new approach called phenome-wide association studies, scientists start with a gene variant and search among thousands of electronic medical records for conditions that match.
23andMe Is Terrifying, But Not for the Reasons the FDA Thinksby Charles SeifeScientific AmericanNovember 27th, 2013As the FDA frets about the accuracy of 23andMe’s tests, it is missing their true function, and consequently the agency has no clue about the real dangers they pose.
Personalized Cancer Treatments Suffer Setbackby Erika Check HaydenNatureNovember 27th, 2013Much hope has been placed on therapies that play on the same mutations that make cells cancerous — but selecting the right drugs may be more complicated than expected.
FDA Bans 23andme Personal Genetic Tests[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]BBC NewsNovember 26th, 2013The US Food and Drug Administration has imposed a ban on a company offering personal genetic screening to the general public.
FDA’s Warning to 23andMe is a Welcome Step toward Responsible Oversight, says Center for Genetics and Society [Press statement]November 26th, 2013The US Food and Drug Administration has ordered 23andMe to “immediately discontinue marketing” its direct-to-consumer genetic tests.
Cambridge Company Embarks on Genome Engineeringby Callum BorchersThe Boston GlobeNovember 25th, 2013A new life-science company aims to develop therapies that can put troublesome genes under the knife, so to speak, cutting out bad DNA like a scalpel excises bad tissue.
My Deadly Disease Was Just a Bugby Lukas Hartmannctrl+verlustNovember 25th, 2013An update to the author's 23andMe report informed him that he had the mutations to develop a life-threatening disease. Except that he didn't. This is his story.
F.D.A. Demands a Halt to a DNA Test Kit’s Marketingby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesNovember 25th, 2013The F.D.A. said that 23andMe has failed to provide adequate evidence that its Personal Genome Service provides accurate results.
What Huxley Knewby J. P. HarpigniesLetter to the New York TimesNovember 24th, 2013Huxley’s assembly-line baby factories were an exaggeration, but it’s a mistake to dismiss too quickly his fears about the genetic manipulation of the species.
Only Two Genes Maketh the Man... or Mouseby Bob HolmesNew ScientistNovember 21st, 2013The defining genetic feature of maleness, the Y chromosome, contains only two genes that are absolutely essential for male function – at least in mice.
Calico Enlists a Genetics A-Team for its Mysterious Anti-Aging Ventureby Christina FarrVenture BeatNovember 20th, 2013In September, Google announced a mysterious new venture to combat death itself. This week, Calico revealed that it is reaching out to genetics superstars.
24,000-Year-Old Body Shows Kinship to Europeans and American Indiansby Nicholas WadeThe New York TimesNovember 20th, 2013The genome of a young boy buried in eastern Siberia some 24,000 years ago has turned out to hold two surprises: his DNA matches that of Western Europeans and also a large proportion of the DNA of living Native Americans.
Genetic Testing Leaves More Patients Living in Limboby Amy Dockser MarcusThe Wall Street JournalNovember 20th, 2013The expanding use of genetic testing is having an unforeseen consequence: More people are being told they have genes for potentially fatal diseases but don't show any symptoms.
Company Patenting Tech for Designing Babies[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by John FowlerKTVUNovember 20th, 2013Biotechnology may give parents unprecedented choices. Fertility clinics already use pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to select traits for some in-vitro babies, but intentional manipulation might create ethical nightmares.
Genetic Testing Falls Flat in Large Patient Drug Trialsby Susan YoungMIT Technology ReviewNovember 19th, 2013Three large clinical trials show little benefit to analyzing the genes of patients to find the right dose of blood thinners.
In Defence of Privacyby Dr Stuart HogarthBioNewsNovember 18th, 2013Not everyone is convinced that the public disclosure policy of the Personal Genome Project is the best response to the difficulties of safeguarding genomic confidentiality.
Developing a Fax Machine to Copy Life on Marsby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesNovember 17th, 2013J. Craig Venter wants to detect life on Mars and bring it to Earth using a device called a digital biological converter.
Belgian Justice Official Demands Universal Police DNA Databaseby Bruno WaterfieldTelegraphNovember 17th, 2013A senior justice official wants DNA samples "from every baby" and "everyone that enters the country." The privacy commissioner said the proposal is reminiscent of dystopian novels about totalitarianism.
World's Largest Cancer Database Launchedby Andy CoghlanNew ScientistNovember 14th, 2013The online resource, called CanSAR, contains 1.7 billion experimental results relating to genes, clinical trials and pharmacological data.
Designing Childrenby Jonathan WebberGenomics Law ReportNovember 12th, 2013Some degree of mastery over the genetic future of the human species seems to be a possibility. For whom and for what does this technology exist?
You Can't Predict Destiny by Designing Your Baby's Genomeby Megan Allyse and Marsha MichieThe Wall Street JournalNovember 8th, 2013New genetic and reproductive techniques will only reveal that human life is too multifaceted to be reduced to a mathematical formula.
Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New Worldsby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 7th, 2013A public symposium held on November 1 at San Francisco State University provided a rare and important opportunity to engage with the historical and ongoing implications of eugenic ideologies and practices for people with disabilities.
Open-Access Genome Project Lands in UKby Ewen CallawayNatureNovember 7th, 2013The founder of the Personal Genome Project announced the launch of a UK edition, and a European franchise on the way for 2014.
Study Finds that Americans Want Doctors' Guidance on Genetic Test ResultsMedical XpressNovember 7th, 2013Like physician groups, members of the public are concerned about individuals interpreting the risks revealed by direct-to-consumer genetic testing without the help of a doctor.
NIH Seeks Comments on Plan to Share Genomic Databy Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 7th, 2013The National Institutes of Health is accepting public comments until November 20 on a draft Genomic Data Sharing Policy that promotes the wide-scale sharing of human and non-human genomic data.
'The More we Looked Into the Mystery of Crispr, the More Interesting it Seemed' by Steve ConnorThe IndependentNovember 6th, 2013An enzyme that is capable of cutting both strands of a DNA double helix at precisely the point dictated by a “programmable” RNA sequence may have huge - and controversial - implications for genetic engineering capabilities.
Single-Cell Genomics Could Improve IVF Screeningby Susan YoungMIT Technology ReviewNovember 5th, 2013Fertility doctors in Beijing have begun testing a new method for genome analysis of human eggs before using them for in vitro fertilization.
The Frightening and Fraught Future of Genetic Testingby Michael WhitePacific StandardNovember 4th, 2013Will genetic testing become a routine part of our society's decision-making, influencing professional sports, the military, parole boards, political campaigns, and our own health, education, and career choices?
Getting Your Microbes Analyzed Raises Big Privacy Issuesby Rob SteinNPRNovember 4th, 2013After spending months working on a series of stories about the trillions of friendly microbes that live in and on our bodies, a science reporter decides to explore his own microbiome.
The Odds of Innocenceby Coralie Colmez & Leila SchnepsNautilusNovember 3rd, 2013Juries in criminal trials are often encouraged to think of DNA profiling as an exact science. The statistics, however, tell a different story.
Designer Babies: Fact or Fiction?[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Franki WebbIPPro Life SciencesOctober 31st, 2013To what extent is 23andMe’s “designer babies” patent scientifically and morally dubious? IPPro speaks to experts about the controversial subject.
Judge Invalidates Patent for a Down Syndrome Testby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesOctober 31st, 2013A federal judge has invalidated the central patent underlying a noninvasive method of detecting Down syndrome in fetuses without the risk of inducing a miscarriage.
Root of Maths Genius Soughtby Erika Check HaydenNatureOctober 29th, 2013In a study dubbed ‘Project Einstein’, entrepreneur Jonathan Rothberg and physicist Max Tegmark have set their sights on finding the genes that underlie mathematical genius.
Are We Too Close to Making Gattaca a Reality?by Ferris JabrScientific AmericanOctober 28th, 2013An era of market-based eugenics would exterminate any lingering notions of meritocracy. But that could never happen this side of the silver screen, right?
The Science And Ethics Of Personal Genetic Testing[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Diane RehmThe Diane Rehm ShowOctober 28th, 2013Direct-to-consumer gene tests now cost just a few hundred dollars. A panel of experts discusses the science and ethics of personal genetic testing.
Advocating Eugenics in the UK Department of Educationby Pete ShanksHuffington PostOctober 28th, 2013A senior adviser to the UK Secretary of State for Education has provoked a flurry of complaints about his technocratic, effectively eugenic, definitely gene-focused approach to public policy.
Science has Lost its Way, at a Big Cost to Humanityby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesOctober 27th, 2013Scientists at the biotech firm Amgen set out to double-check the results of 53 landmark papers in their fields of cancer research and blood biology. Of the 53, only six could be proved valid.
Genetics’ Rite of Passageby David DobbsSlateOctober 27th, 2013Geneticists with any historical memory hold a painful awareness that their field has fallen short of the glory that once seemed close.
Genetic Test for Autism Refutedby Ed YongThe ScientistOctober 25th, 2013Australian scientists claimed to have developed a genetic test that predicts a person’s risk of developing autism spectrum disorder. A new study suggests those claims were overblown.
Companies Rush to Build ‘Bio-Factories’ for Medicines, Flavorings and Fuelsby Ariana Eunjung ChaThe Washington PostOctober 24th, 2013"You can now build a cell the same way you might build an app for your iPhone."
1.7m DNA Profiles Cut From DatabasePress AssociationOctober 24th, 2013As part of the UK's commitment to slim down the amount of information held by the state, millions of DNA profiles and fingerprint records from innocent people have been deleted.
Advocating Eugenics in the UK Department of Educationby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 24th, 2013Dominic Cummings, a senior adviser to the UK Secretary of State for Education, recently provoked a flurry of complaints about his technocratic, effectively eugenic, definitely gene-focused approach to public policy.
NIH Requests Comment on Genomic Data Sharing Policy Draftby Nicolle StrandThe Blog of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical IssuesOctober 23rd, 2013The National Institutes of Health published a draft version of its new genomic data sharing policy, along with a request for public comment.
Science History Rap Battle: Franklin vs Watson & Crickby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 23rd, 2013Seventh-grade students in Oakland, California have put together a fabulous rap about Rosalind Franklin's role in the discovery of the double helix.
The Genomic Oracleby Carl ZimmerSlateOctober 21st, 2013If your DNA is sequenced at birth, how would if affect your life? A new project aims to find out.
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