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About Personal Genomics


Direct-to-consumer genetic testing is an emerging, highly publicized industry, despite considerable skepticism among experts. Advances in sequencing and genomics have revealed some correlations between particular genetic sequences and certain diseases, physical characteristics, and behaviors, though these relationships are not perfectly understood. Nevertheless, entrepreneurs have seized on these correlations to sell tests that purport to indicate whether the customer has an increased risk of a disease or other characteristic. Similarly, associations of genetic sequences with specific geographical locations have led to commercial “ancestry tests.”

Evaluating the claims of these companies is difficult, since their technologies are typically kept private and there is minimal oversight. Medical tests are supposed to be supervised by a physician, and testing laboratories need to be licensed. California has worked with Navigenics and 23andMe, two of the best-known companies, to ensure that they are operating legally in the state, but these Internet-based businesses raise regulatory concerns that cross state boundaries.

This industry may contribute to an over-emphasis on genes as determinants, possibly at the expense of environmental, economic and social considerations. A further concern is the possible use of DNA databases developed by private companies, whose business plans include profiting from the compiled data. Finally, although the companies insist that they will respect the privacy of their customers, there is no effective guarantee.



Written evidence for the Genomics and Genome-Editing Inquiry of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee[cites CGS]by Edward Hockings and Lewis CoyneEthics and GeneticsJanuary 20th, 2017UK’s bioscience policy has been framed in terms of commercial value at the expense of substantive public consultation and broader deliberation.
Obama vs. Trump: 5 ways they clash — or don’t — on health and scienceby Dylan ScottSTATJanuary 9th, 2017While Trump might play some wild cards in medicine, science, and public health, there may be some surprising continuity with President Obama’s administration.
How Gene Editing Could Ruin Human Evolution[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Jim KozubekTimeJanuary 9th, 2017There are no superior genes. Genes have a long and layered history, and they often have three or four unrelated functions, which balance against each other under selection.
Designer babies: an ethical horror waiting to happen?by Philip BallThe Guardian January 8th, 2017A perfectly feasible 10-20% improvement in health via PGD, added to the comparable advantage that wealth already brings, could lead to a widening of the health gap between rich and poor, both within a society and between nations.
China’s $9 billion effort to beat the U.S. in genetic testing[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Ylan Q. MuiWashington PostDecember 30th, 2016Chinese investors — both private and government-supported — are backing American start-ups and funding promising new companies at home.
Will the Alt-Right Promote a New Kind of Racist Genetics?by Sarah ZhangThe AtlanticDecember 29th, 2016The genomic revolution has led to easy sequencing and cheap "ancestry" tests. White nationalists are paying attention.
Eugenics warningby Alexandra Minna SternIssues in Science and TechnologyDecember 20th, 2016The eugenic past can be a useful compass when considering present and future uses of genetic technologies.
Bioterrorism And Gene Editing: Can Crispr Tool Be Used As Biological Weapon In War?by Himanshu GoenkaIB TimesDecember 14th, 2016Given its broad distribution, low cost, and accelerated pace of development, deliberate or unintentional misuse of gene editing might have far-reaching economic and national security implications.
Biopolitical News of 2016by Pete Shanks, Leah Lowthorp & Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesDecember 13th, 2016We highlight 2016’s trends in and top news stories about human biotech developments.
Why the hype around medical genetics is a public enemyby Nathaniel ComfortAeonDecember 12th, 2016The progress of science is the steady realisation of how little we actually know. The more we, the public, understand that, the more we will see through the hype.
NY senator from LI introduces ‘familial DNA’ legislationby Chau LamNewsdayDecember 9th, 2016Critics of familial DNA searches point to high rates of false positives, invasion of privacy, and racial disparities.
Winners and losers of the 21st Century Cures Actby Sheila KaplanSTATDecember 5th, 2016Despite overwhelming bipartisan support, Elizabeth Warren says the bill was "hijacked" by Big Pharma to water down safety requirements for new drugs and devices.
UK doctors to seek permission to create baby with DNA from three people by Ian SampleThe GuardianNovember 30th, 2016A scientific review concluded that the procedure should be approved for "cautious clinical use" when children are at risk of inheriting specific genetic diseases.
Review of Blame: A Novelby Abby Lippman, Biopolitical Times guest contributorNovember 28th, 2016Blame is especially important for those unfamiliar with the range of ethical, social, legal, and political issues raised by applications of what is learned in a lab. While a work of fiction, it is definitely not science-fiction
Do Your Family Members Have a Right to Your Genetic Code?by Emily MullinMIT Technology ReviewNovember 22nd, 2016When a woman gets her genome sequenced, questions about privacy arise for her identical twin sister.
The Field of Synthetic Biology Runs on Speculative Fictionby Jason KoeblerVICE MotherboardNovember 18th, 2016As technology advances and draws us closer to unknown dimensions that may parallel sci-fi worlds, conversations must be inclusive of voices beyond science and industry.
DNA-editing breakthrough could fix 'broken genes' in the brain, delay ageing and cure incurable diseasesby Ian JohnstonThe Independent [UK]November 16th, 2016The technique allows DNA changes that have not previously been possible, modifying the genes of non-dividing cells in a living animal.
CRISPR gene-editing tested in a person for the first timeby David CyranoskiNature NewsNovember 15th, 2016A clinical trial in China used cells edited with CRISPR-Cas9 to treat a patient with lung cancer. Spectators anticipate a biomedical duel with US.
San Diego Scientists Help Develop New Twist On In Vitro Fertilizationby David WagnerKPBSNovember 10th, 2016The patent holder for a related "3-person IVF" technique reports new work with "polar body genome transfer." Some experts say none of these approaches have been proven safe.
Why We Need to Rethink Ethnicity-Based Genetic Testingby Shivani NazarethUS News & World ReportNovember 7th, 2016The problem with genetic tests that assume people exist in neat race and ethnicity categories is that it simply is not an accurate reflection of their ancestry.
Sorry, that DNA test doesn't make you indigenousby The 180 with Jim BrownCBC RadioNovember 6th, 2016Belonging to a particular community can mean sharing beliefs, cultural practice, even official citizenship. But it's not decided by genetic material.
Where Traditional DNA Testing Fails, Algorithms Take Overby Lauren KirchnerProPublicaNovember 4th, 2016Various "probabilistic genotyping" programs undermine due process as defense attorneys, judges, and jurors can't access their proprietary inner workings.
America’s ambivalence about race is seeping into scienceby Taunya EnglishThe Pulse, NewsworksNovember 4th, 2016"Race has been used to oppress people, ... to kill people. Does science really want to be using a concept that is so historically loaded?"
Genetic test costs taxpayers $500 million a year, with little to show for itby Casey RossSTAT NewsNovember 2nd, 2016A new study shows that genetic testing can waste half a billion dollars a year, and lead to unclear results, anxiety, and more testing.
"Personalized nutrition" isn’t going to solve our diet problemsby Julia BelluzVoxNovember 2nd, 2016The trend of looking at DNA to "revolutionize" health lacks scientific backing and threatens to obscure environmental influences.
Genetics startup Genos wants to pay you for your DNA databy Sarah BuhrTech CrunchNovember 1st, 2016Company plans to pay participants for full genome sequencing, starting with exomes, to create a disease variant map.
Genetic testing fumbles, revealing 'dark side' of precision medicineby Sharon BegleySTATOctober 31st, 2016Inconsistency in DNA interpretation and in the algorithms used among databases, unregulated by the FDA, contributed to a fatal outcome for a 5-year-old boy.
Colin Kaepernick’s 'I Know My Rights Camp' cements his status as a cultural superhero in the black communityby Shaun KingNew York Daily News October 29th, 2016NFL player Colin Kaepernick distributed DNA ancestry tests at a "Know My Rights" youth camp in Oakland, citing their reconciliation value.
Fruity with a hint of double helix: A startup claims to tailor wine to your DNAby Rebecca RobbinsSTAT NewsOctober 27th, 2016Sequencing giant Illumina's new app store Helix is leading the charge of linking DNA analysis to lifestyle marketing.
23andMe Has Abandoned The Genetic Testing Tech Its Competition Is Banking Onby Stephanie M. LeeBuzzFeedOctober 26th, 2016Other companies are starting to sell next-generation sequencing-based tests to the public, but 23andMe has let go the team that had been working on its project.
There Is No Leadership Geneby Tracy StaedterSeekerOctober 25th, 2016As genetic testing becomes mainstream, some consider using it to screen job applicants. Besides being unlawful discrimination, the science is highly unreliable.
The controversial DNA search that helped nab the 'Grim Sleeper' is winning over skepticsby Marisa GerberLos Angeles TimesOctober 25th, 2016Use of familial DNA to solve crimes is growing in popularity, raising concerns of 4th Amendment unreasonable search and seizure violations.
Mail-Order Tests Check Cells for Signs of Early Agingby Melinda BeckWall Street JournalOctober 24th, 2016Personal genetic testing companies claim telomere length can signal disease risk, but top scientists say it all amounts to high-tech palm reading.
Just What We Need: Slicker Infertility Marketingby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorOctober 21st, 2016A serial tech entrepreneur launches a new start-up called Prelude with a hipster-chic website downplaying the many unknowns of egg freezing.
Surprisingly few new parents enlist in study to have baby's genome sequencedby Jocelyn KaiserScience MagazineOctober 19th, 2016The NIH-funded project, BabySeq, seeks to analyze protein-coding DNA for mutations in 7000 genes associated with childhood diseases.
Reports of ‘three-parent babies’ multiplyby Sara ReardonNature NewsOctober 19th, 2016Claims of infants created using mitochondrial manipulation techniques in Mexico and China, and two pregnancies in the Ukraine, stir scientific and ethical debate.
Can a DNA Test Really Predict Opiate Addiction?by Zachary SiegelThe Daily BeastOctober 15th, 2016A precision medicine company claims it can predict a patient’s risk of becoming addicted to opioids with 93% accuracy. But it has no peer-reviewed evidence.
DNA database could help predict your disease — then get you firedby David LazarusLos Angeles TimesOctober 14th, 2016Precision medicine raises the disturbing prospect of genetic haves and have-nots, and of discrimination based not on race, age or gender but on health.
Advocacy group anecdotes present one-sided picture of genetic testing for breast cancerby Mary Chris JaklevicHealth News ReviewOctober 13th, 2016The push to test for BRCA genes often glosses over the limited information it provides, advocates' corporate ties, and the lack of support for women who test positive.
Three-person baby 'race' dangerous[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by James GallagherBBCOctober 12th, 2016Scientists and ethicists warn of fertility doctors forum-shopping to perform dangerous mitochondrial manipulation experiments.
Writing the First Human Genome by 2026 Is Synthetic Biology’s Grand Challengeby Jason DorrierSingularity HubOctober 10th, 2016AutoDesk's Andrew Hessel promises a functional fully synthesized human genome by 2026, continuing the HGP-Write hype that began with a closed meeting at Harvard in May.
White Nonsense: Alt-right trolls are arguing over genetic tests they think “prove” their whitenessby Elspeth ReeveVICE NewsOctober 9th, 2016The pseudo-science of "biological race" is perpetuated by white nationalist online communities with "ancestral evidence" provided by 23andMe.
Don’t Miss This: The Story of CRISPR Told in a Comicby Kayla TolentinoOctober 6th, 2016Illustrator Andy Warner helps to break down the complexities of the still unraveling CRISPR gene editing story in his recent piece "Bad Blood."
What’s the Longest Humans Can Live? 115 Years, New Study Saysby Carl ZimmerThe New York TimesOctober 5th, 2016Despite improvements in modern life and medicine, researchers claim that humans have reached the upper limit of longevity.
The Promise of Indigenous Epigeneticsby Emma KowalDiscover SocietyOctober 4th, 2016Amid the hype surrounding the biological study of inter-generational trauma, we need to be aware that epigenetics could be used for racist agendas that work against Indigenous health and well-being.
Sally Phillips: Do We Really Want a World without Down’s Syndrome?by Viv GroskopThe Guardian October 1st, 2016The UK national health service will now cover new tests to screen fetuses for Down syndrome. A mother and actress notes the likely result: "It becomes ‘your fault’ if you choose to have the baby."
Meet the guy biohacking puppies to make them glow in the darkby Kristen V. BrownFusionSeptember 28th, 2016The goal isn’t just to make glowing Frankenpuppies. "I want to make perfect dogs...I don’t want slightly imperfect dogs."
Are Swedish Designer Babies Coming Soon?by Eric NiilerSeekerSeptember 23rd, 2016"What are the oversight and controls to prevent this technology from being misused and go to a stage that, for now, the scientific community has agreed is a no-go?"
As Kuwait imposes world’s first DNA collection law, attorney tries to fight itby Cyrus FarivarARS TechnicaSeptember 22nd, 2016"Compelling every citizen, resident, and visitor to submit a DNA sample to the government is similar to forcing house searches without a warrant."
White House science advisers urge Justice Dept., judges to raise forensic standardsby Spencer S. HsuWashington PostSeptember 20th, 2016A new report cautions that widely used methods to trace complex DNA samples to criminal defendants fall short of scientific standards.
Why we need a law to prevent genetic discriminationby Yvonne Bombard, Ronald Cohn & Stephen SchererThe Globe and Mail [Canada]September 19th, 2016After unanimous passage through Canada's Senate, a bill on genetic discrimination is now before the House of Commons.
DNA Dragnet: In Some Cities, Police Go From Stop-and-Frisk to Stop-and-Spitby Lauren KirchnerProPublicaSeptember 12th, 2016Private police DNA databases are multiplying, and are subject to no state or federal regulation or oversight.
5 Reasons Why We Need People with Disabilities in the CRISPR Debatesby Emily Beitiks, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 8th, 2016“Why do I have to keep justifying my existence?” How gene editing policy discussions reproduce ableist assumptions and generate advocacy fatigue.
Passing My Disability On to My Childrenby Sheila BlackThe New York TimesSeptember 7th, 2016Drawing on hew own experience, the author challenges the logic of creating "designer babies" with screening or modifying technologies.
Two Women Pregnant after Having Ovarian Mitochondria Injected into EggsThe Japan TimesAugust 30th, 2016Some experts are calling for a careful response to the new procedure, as its safety and effects have not yet been scientifically verified.
Why Gene Tests for Cancer Don't Offer More Answersby Jessica WapnerScientific AmericanAugust 29th, 2016Genetic profiling of tumors has a long way to go. Many patients learn that their cancers have mutations for which no drug exists
Adopted Koreans, Stymied in Search of Birth Parents, Find Hope in a Cotton Swabby Marie Tae McDermottNew York TimesAugust 27th, 2016In search for birth family connections, South Korean adoptees turn to the personal genomics industry for answers.
FBI’s New DNA Process Produces More Matches in Suspect Databaseby Devlin BarrettWall Street JournalAugust 25th, 2016In May, the Bureau reduced the number of genetic locations required for a potential match (from 10-13 to 8-9 loci), resulting in thousands of new "hits."
Kuwait’s new DNA collection law is scarier than we ever imaginedby Daniel RiveroFusionAugust 24th, 2016National security policies require residents, citizens, and visitors to submit DNA samples, shaping new definitions of the country's citizenship.
Accessible Synthetic Biology Raises New Concerns for DIY Biological Warfareby Joseph NeighborVICE MotherboardAugust 23rd, 2016The monopoly on biology once held by governments and universities has been broken, posing significant challenges for the international community.
Experimental Cancer Therapy Holds Great Promise — But at Great Costby Meghana KeshavanSTATAugust 23rd, 2016Patients undergoing immunotherapy clinical trials with CAR-T cells are at risk for deadly cytokine release syndrome, but pharmaceutical companies are racing to get FDA approval.
Humans of the Future Could Be Much Faster Than Usain Bolt or Michael PhelpsSouth China Morning PostAugust 23rd, 2016We could be getting closer to the post-human era, where we modify our own genetics to the point that we're less recognisably "human" than ever before.
Gene Mapping May Not Be for Everyoneby Karen WeintraubUSA TodayAugust 22nd, 2016Genetic tests reveal variations in the genome that might not cause problems but could lead to unnecessary medical tests, anxiety and treatments.
These New Stem Cell Treatments Are Expensive — and Unprovenby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesAugust 19th, 2016"Stem cells have become a medical buzzword," Paul Knoepfler notes. "I see a lot of businesses using direct marketing to patients to take advantage of that."
ExAC Project Pins Down Rare Gene VariantsNature EditorialAugust 17th, 2016A new study found only 9 of 192 variants were actually linked to pathogenic disease despite ongoing use in diagnosis and treatment.
In the Fight for Our Genes, Could We Lose What Makes Us Human?by Ziyaad BhoratopenDemocracyAugust 17th, 2016When genetics become the next currency for corporations and governments we risk the commercialization and politicization of who we are on a level far deeper than our skin.
CRISPR patent fight: The legal bills are soaringby Sharon BegleySTATAugust 16th, 2016Editas has already spent $10.9 million in 2016. Many in the CRISPR field wonder privately why the Broad Institute and UC Berkeley have not reached a settlement.
Illumina Would Like You to Sequence More DNA, Pleaseby Sarah ZhangWIREDAugust 15th, 2016The leader of the DNA sequencing market has a start-up accelerator program to find new applications for its technology.
Athletes are keeping their distance from a genetic test for concussion risksby Rebecca RobbinsSTATAugust 15th, 2016Sports competitors, insurers, and researchers are cautious about the privacy and geneticization issues behind testing for "athletic" genes.
Ethical questions raised in search for Sardinian centenarians' secretsby Stephanie KirchgaessnerThe GuardianAugust 12th, 2016Samples from residents of Sardinia’s "Blue Zone," who are famed for longevity, have been sold to a for-profit British research firm.
Scientists break 13-year silence to insist 'three-parent baby' technique is safeby Ian JohnstonThe IndependentAugust 11th, 2016The researchers conclude the technique "can produce a viable pregnancy." But the pregnancy they established resulted in miscarriage.
Diversity, disability and eugenics: An interview with Rob Sparrowby Xavier SymonsBioEdgeAugust 11th, 2016Philosophers and the medical profession have been way too swift to make judgments about other people’s quality of life. We're not as far from the bad old eugenics as many think.
The Human Genome Is Having Its Facebook Momentby Whet MoserChicago MagazineAugust 9th, 2016In less than a decade, as many people could have their genomes sequenced as use the social networking site (~1.7 billion monthly users).
Mind your genes! The dark legacy of eugenics lives onby Natasha MillerABC [Australia]August 8th, 2016The misguided science of behavioral genetics and the social engineering potential of CRISPR show we have much to remember about the history of eugenics.
Do Olympians Have Better Genes Than You And Me?by Christina FarrFast CompanyAugust 6th, 2016Genetic tests aimed at discerning the genetic basis for athletic ability could be used coercively, and are undermined by important environmental factors.
Silicon Valley was going to disrupt capitalism. Now it’s just enhancing itby Evgeny MorozovThe GuardianAugust 6th, 2016Tech giants thought they would beat old businesses but the guardians of capitalism are using data troves to become more, not less, resilient.
The surprisingly small benefit of some very (expensive) Big Ideasby Joe GibesBioethics @ TIUAugust 5th, 2016A new article in JAMA looks at the unfulfilled hype that has become entrenched in the fields of stem cells, genetics, and electronic health records.
Questions about Deaths in Cancer Trials using Gene-Altered Cellsby Katherine DrabiakBiopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 5th, 2016Excitement about immunotherapy and gene therapy approaches to cancer has eclipsed ethical questions about seven recent deaths in clinical trials.
Why gene-therapy drugs are so expensiveby N.L.The EconomistAugust 3rd, 2016British pharmaceutical company GSK announced it will charge US$665,000 for a gene therapy for ADA-SCID (aka "bubble boy disease").
The Case Against Public Investment in Reproductive Genetic Modificationby Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 3rd, 2016Philosopher Tina Rulli argues that three-person IVF germline modification is not a “life-saving” medical therapy.
23andMe data points to genes affecting depression riskby Malcolm RitterAssociated PressAugust 1st, 2016But hundreds of genes may be at play, and environmental risk factors likely overwhelm genetics.
How Your Health Data Lead A Not-So-Secret Life Onlineby Angus ChenNPRJuly 30th, 2016The vast majority of mobile health apps on the marketplace aren't covered by the federal law protecting health data, HIPAA.
How British are you? Mapped: DNA testing shows the most Anglo-Saxon regions in UK by Hannah FurnessThe Telegraph [UK]July 28th, 2016AncestryDNA reveals British people's genealogies vary by region and are less clearly defined than people tend to think.
THE HACKS WE CAN'T SEE: What Can a Hacker Do with Your Genetic Information?by Kaleigh RogersVICE MotherboardJuly 26th, 2016People might become vulnerable if hackers access genetic information through genetic testing databases.
Can genes really predict how well you’ll do academically?by Daphne MartschenkoThe ConversationJuly 26th, 2016Genetic intelligence research has eugenic histories and may minimize the role of social and political environments.
Taking Genomic Data Globalby Elizabeth WoykeMIT Technology ReviewJuly 25th, 2016Precision medicine startups are now focusing on Asia.
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.
Uncle Sam Wants You — Or at Least Your Genetic and Lifestyle Informationby Robert PearThe New York TimesJuly 23rd, 2016The Precision Medicine Initiative will seek participants from various geographies and socioeconomic statuses across the country.
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.
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.
Considering Gene Editingby Jef AkstThe ScientistJuly 12th, 2016"Given the world as we know it, germline genetic enhancement could exacerbate the already obscene gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots.'"
Sustainable Week: Fixing Our Broken Moral Compass[citing CGS’ Elliot Hosman]by Chuck SternBTRtoday July 8th, 2016Who decides what is good and bad, what is that person or entity's agenda?
President Obama’s 1-million-person health study kicks off with five recruitment centersby Jocelyn KaiserScience MagazineJuly 7th, 2016The early stages of the biobank are set in motion.
Sweden’s national DNA database could be released to private firmsby Tom MendelsohnARS TechnicaJuly 6th, 2016The country has a closely guarded registry of every citizen under the age of 43.
Growing Pains for Field of Epigenetics as Some Call for Overhaulby Carl ZimmerThe New York TimesJuly 1st, 2016Epigenetic marks have been thought to cause illness but that causal relationship has been greatly exaggerated.
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.
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.
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.
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.
FDA chief aims to recruit 100 million Americans for precision medicine researchby Meghana KeshavanSTAT NewsJune 7th, 2016President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative set a goal of recruiting a million volunteers to hand over their genetic and health data. The new head of FDA thinks that’s far too modest.
Biden unveils launch of major, open-access database to advance cancer researchby Laurie McGinleyThe Washington PostJune 6th, 2016The Vice President says the Genomic Data Commons will encourage collaboration among scientists, and will protect patient privacy.
On Cyborgs and Gene Editing: Lessons from Orphan Blackby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical Times guest contributorJune 1st, 2016The television show takes a cue from science fiction author Donna Haraway and engages the dangers of human genetic modification.
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.
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.
Gene Therapy’s First Out-and-Out Cure Is Hereby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewMay 6th, 2016A genetic therapy treatment for severe combined immune deficiency, also known as "bubble boy" disease, is now pending approval in Europe.
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.
Google's DeepMind shouldn't suck up our NHS records in secretby Randeep RameshThe Guardian [US]May 4th, 2016The revelation that 1.6 million patients’ records are being used by the company’s artificial intelligence arm rings alarm bells.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
Jeremy Kyle DNA testing firm sees its £4.99 paternity testing kits flying off the shelvesby Tony McDonoughLiverpool EchoMarch 28th, 2016A company in the UK has begun selling paternity testing kits in discount chain stores -- and they are flying off the shelves.
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."
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
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."
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
DNA Under the Scope, and a Forensic Tool Under a Cloudby Carl ZimmerThe New York TimesFebruary 26th, 2016Cutting-edge technology has enabled analysis of ever-tinier genetic samples. But as the science pushes boundaries, some experts are raising reliability questions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Debating UK approval of gene editing in human embryos
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[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.
Take an online DNA test and you could be revealing far more than you realiseby Andelka Phillips The ConversationJanuary 12th, 2016Consumers shouldn't rely on the terms of personal genomics companies' contracts to protect their privacy or rights.
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.
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.
Biopolitical News of 2015by Elliot Hosman, Pete Shanks & Marcy Darnovsky, Biopolitical TimesDecember 22nd, 2015We highlight 2015’s breaking news stories about human biotech developments.
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.
F.D.A. Attention to Inaccurate Lab Tests Defers Hopes of “Precision Medicine”by Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical TimesDecember 9th, 2015If we lose trust in medical tests, the foundation of “precision medicine” could fall apart.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Genetic tests for sports performance 'virtually meaningless,' experts sayCBC News [Canada]November 16th, 2015Direct-to-consumer genetic tests for athletic ability can be aimed at coaches, parents, and sports teams, but the information they provide is highly misleading.
Theranos isn’t the only diagnostics company exploiting regulatory loopholesby Arielle Duhaime-RossThe VergeNovember 11th, 2015Startups are taking advantage of an FDA exception to offer diagnostic health tests to consumers without peer review or verification of health claims.
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.
US FDA sends letter to DNA4Life over consumer gene testsby Julie SteenhuysenReutersNovember 9th, 2015Direct-to-consumer tests to predict drug response could be risky if consumers use them to make decisions about the drugs or dosages they are taking.
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.
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?
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.
No, Scientists Have Not Found the 'Gay Gene'by Ed YongThe AtlanticOctober 10th, 2015A widely reported study purporting to find epigenetic marks associated with sexual orientation in men is an underpowered fishing expedition that used inappropriate statistics.
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.
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.
New Psychiatric DNA Testing Is Unproven Groundby Susan Donaldson JamesNBC NewsOctober 4th, 2015Using genetic testing to determine the best course of psychiatric medications is an unproven proposition that may pose risks to patients' health.
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.
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?
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.
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.
We Might Not Want to Know the Dark Secrets Lurking in Our Genesby Kevin LoriaTech InsiderAugust 17th, 2015Once we're good enough at reading a DNA sequence to really interpret all the results — rather than just glean a few hints here and there — we may not want to know the answers.
‘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.
Public Health in the Precision-Medicine Eraby Ronald Bayer, Ph.D. & Sandro Galea, M.D., Dr.P.H.New England Journal of MedicineAugust 6th, 2015"In many ways the American health care system is the most advanced in the world. But whiz-bang technology just cannot fix what ails us.”
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.
Drifting Away from Informed Consent in the Era of Personalized Medicineby Erik ParensThe Hastings Center ReportJuly 23rd, 2015In our excitement about the technological capacity to gather genomic data at an ever-lower cost, we are drifting away from what has long been a basic ethical commitment.
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.
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.
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.
Crime-Scene DNA Errors Spark Complex Legal Questionsby Megan CassidyThe Arizona RepublicJune 22nd, 2015Prosecutors and bureau officials say the mistakes will have a minimal effect on criminal cases, but the real impact of the revelations in courtrooms across the country remains to be seen.
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.
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?
Bill to Protect the Genetic Profiles of Californians Clears Assembly Floor – AB 170by Christopher SimmonsCalifornia NewswireJune 3rd, 2015The legislation will will allow parents to make informed decisions about allowing their newborn’s blood sample to be retained and leased to researchers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Genome Editing Poses Ethical Problems that we Cannot Ignoreby Anthony Wrigley and Ainsley NewsonThe ConversationMarch 31st, 2015With great power comes great responsibility – and few subjects elicit such heated debates about moral rights and wrongs.
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.
Astronaut Twins Study Raises Questions About Genetic Privacyby Alexandra WitzeNatureMarch 26th, 2015Researchers will gather reams of genomic and other data on astronaut Scott Kelly and compare it to his Earth-dwelling twin, but the results may never be published if they discover sensitive medical information.
Gene Counsellors Expect Resurgence of 'Jolie Effect'by Erika Check HaydenNatureMarch 26th, 2015Misinterpreted results of tests for cancer risk can result in unnecessary surgery.
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.
165,000 Engagements End Due to ‘Genetic Incompatibilities’by Hussain Hazzazi and Ayman Al-SaidalaniSaudi GazetteMarch 24th, 2015In Saudi Arabia, health checkups are mandatory for engaged couples before they get married. The program aims to reduce the risk of having children with any blood or gastronomical diseases.
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.
Public interest group condemns human germline modification efforts, supports research moratorium, calls for US prohibition[Press Statement]March 19th, 2015We're at a watershed moment in determining whether human genetic technologies will be used in the public interest and for the common good, or in ways that are dangerous and socially pernicious.
Universal Newborn Genome Sequencing and Generation Alphaby Ricki Lewis, Biopolitical Times guest contributorMarch 16th, 2015What might the future look like, as whole-genome sequencing of newborns ramps up?
California and your DNA: Is it a healthy relationship? by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 16th, 2015While every state across the country takes part in newborn screening, each state differs in how it handles the blood cards and the genetic information they hold. In California, those cards are stored indefinitely and potentially rented out for a broad array of uses.
How Identity Evolves in the Age of Genetic Imperialismby Eleonore Pauwels and Jim DratwaScientific AmericanMarch 13th, 2015The Silicon Valley brand of genetic determinism tells us there is a gene-hack to solve every “problem” — that DNA is just a code to personalize at will.
Get Genetic Testing and Cheat the System?by Robert KlitzmanCNNMarch 13th, 2015Many people undergo genetic testing on their own and pay out of pocket, allowing them to keep the result to themselves.
23andMe Adds On: More About The Gene-Test Maker’s Drug R&D Ambitionsby Alex LashXconomyMarch 12th, 2015"We definitely think genetics should be married with all the other info being tracked. That will come in time."
23andMe to Use Genetic Database for Drug Discoveryby Ron WinslowWall Street JournalMarch 12th, 201523andMe's new therapeutics group, led by a star drug developer, will have "the opportunity to look broadly through the database and not have a particular restriction to what we’re looking for."
Privacy and the 100,000 Genome Projectby Edward Hockings and Lewis CoyneThe GuardianMarch 10th, 2015As the Department of Health starts to draw a map of thousands of genomes, will it keep its promise to anonymize our data?
Genetic Testing Ads Not Telling the Whole Story, Study Saysby Sabriya RiceModern HealthcareMarch 6th, 2015"There are very important limitations...but they are not widely reported on websites that market personalized cancer care."
Pregnant Women Are Finding Out They Have Cancer From A Genetic Test Of Their Babiesby Virginia HughesBuzzFeedMarch 5th, 2015When it comes to prenatal tests, it’s not clear whether incidental findings have clear-cut diagnostic value. And false positives might spur a pregnant woman to go through unnecessary medical procedures.
Supreme Court Gives Tacit Approval for Government to Take Anybody’s DNAby David KravetsArs TechnicaMarch 2nd, 2015The Supreme Court has let stand the conviction of a rapist whose prosecution rested on DNA swiped from the armrests of an interrogation-room chair.
23andMe’s Dangerous Business Modelby Marcy DarnovskyThe New York TimesMarch 2nd, 2015Handing over reams of our genetic, health and personal information to companies like 23andMe – and paying them for the privilege – is far from the only path to scientific advance.
Anne Wojcicki’s Quest to Put People in Charge of Their Own Health[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Stephanie LeeSan Francisco ChronicleFebruary 28th, 201523andMe has attracted nearly a million customers and more than $126 million in venture capital, but not everyone thinks it should be the one to collect their data.
Building a Face, and a Case, on DNAby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesFebruary 23rd, 2015Rather than an artist’s rendering based on witness descriptions, the face was generated by a computer relying solely on DNA found at the scene of the crime.
The 23andMe Experience - A Lot of Knowledge is of Little Help?by Alison LashwoodBioNewsFebruary 23rd, 2015Those in favour see direct-to-consumer genetic tests as a way of engaging the public with science and making it fun, but there are problematic aspects, too.
US Regulators Try to Tame 'Wild West' of DNA Testingby Erika Check HaydenNature NewsFebruary 20th, 2015A particular sticking point is who decides what the genetic read-outs mean in terms of health and disease.
FDA Clearance of DTC Genetic Test Gets Mixed Reviewsby Ricki LewisMedscsape February 20th, 2015The FDA has authorized 23andMe to market a direct-to-consumer carrier test for Bloom syndrome.
Reading Our Genome is Tough, But Epigenetics is Giving Us Valuable Cluesby Marcus WooWiredFebruary 19th, 2015If the genome is a book, then the epigenome is like the post-it notes, dog-ears, and highlights that help you make sense of a particularly dense text.
Internet of DNAby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewFebruary 19th, 2015A global network of millions of genomes could be medicine’s next great advance, but important challenges remain.
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