Hot Topics: Genetics
The new indie movie William explores the question, What would what it be like if a Neanderthal were born and raised in a modern, industrialized society today?Full Article
By Jon Holmlund This week’s news is that a group of Chinese researchers have birthed and studied a small number of rhesus monkeys that were “transgenic” for a human gene associated with brain development. In this work, monkey eggs (oocytes) were altered by adding the human form of a gene that is believed important to …Full Article
By Jon Holmlund Last week’s New England Journal of Medicine (subscription required) included four articles addressing heritable human gene editing (HHGE, if you’ll allow the acronym). All assumed that it would or should go forward, under oversight, rather than seeking a moratorium. One took the position that a moratorium is a bad idea, because the …Full Article
By Steve Phillips I have said this before (see post on 12/5/18), but since otherwise intelligent people continue to say that we should pursue human germline gene editing because it can be used as a means of eliminating the transmission of genetic diseases to future generations, I need to say it one more time. There …Full Article
The current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (subscription required) includes four new articles addressing heritable human gene editing. George Daley (who was also discussed in a post on this blog last December 6) argues that work must proceed to find a responsible way of editing the human germline for people with genetic …Full Article
By Jon Holmlund The World Health Organization (WHO) has empaneled an expert advisory committee to propose standards for governance and oversight of human gene editing. This group is to meet in Geneva on March 18 and 19 to review the state of the field, broadly, and formulate a plan for its work, over the ensuing …Full Article
By Jon Holmlund A brief recap of reasons why we should not pursue heritable human gene editing: It seems unlikely that risks to immediately-treated generations can be predicted with the accuracy we currently and reasonably expect from human subject research and medical practice. Risks to later generations, that is, to the descendants of edited people, …Full Article
Through special arrangement with Taylor & Francis, AJOB posts its editorials on bioethics.net. This essay and the articles it references are also available on the publisher website.…Full Article
by Dani Shapiro
Two and a half years ago, after whimsically submitting my DNA to Ancestry.com for analysis, I made the discovery that the father who raised me – the long-dead father I adored – had not been my biological father.…Full Article
Written by César Palacios-González It has been recently reported (link in Spanish) that a 32 year old Greek woman is 27 weeks pregnant with a child who was conceived after a mitochondrial replacement technique (MRT) – in this case Maternal Spindle Transfer (MST). If true this is really big news in terms of reproductive medicine and […]Full Article
The DNA Test Results That Uncovered a Family Secret
Should Researchers Offer Results to Family Members of Cancer Biobank Participants? A Mixed-Methods Study of Proband and Family Preferences
What to Expect When Expecting CRISPR Baby Number Four
Ethical Guidelines for DNA Testing in Migrant Family Reunification
“I want us to be a normal family”: Toward an understanding of the functions of anonymity among U.S. oocyte donors and recipients
A content analysis of the views of genetics professionals on race, ancestry, and genetics
Genes wide open: Data sharing and the social gradient of genomic privacy
Genomic Contextualism: Shifting the Rhetoric of Genetic Exceptionalism
Is Genetic Exceptionalism Past Its Sell-By Date? On Genomic Diaries, Context, and Content
Patenting Foundational Technologies: Lessons From CRISPR and Other Core Biotechnologies
We call for a global moratorium on all clinical uses of human germline editing — that is, changing heritable DNA (in sperm, eggs or embryos) to make genetically modified children.
By ‘global moratorium’, we do not mean a permanent ban. Rather, we call for the establishment of an international framework in which nations, while retaining the right to make their own decisions, voluntarily commit to not approve any use of clinical germline editing unless certain conditions are met.Full Article
When and where should scientists report controversial research ideas that colleagues share with them in confidence? Have scientists acted inappropriately if they provide conventional research advice to someone conducting an unorthodox experiment?Full Article
Much appears to be at stake, and it all centers on cell-free DNA testing, a type of technology that has already been at the crux of numerous lawsuits and looks poised to play center stage again in future corporate battles.Full Article
An influential committee of the World Health Organization said on Tuesday that it would be “irresponsible” to try to create babies from gene-edited human embryos. The panel called for an international registry to track all research into editing the human genome.Full Article
At-home DNA testing site FamilyTreeDNA — which was widely criticized for working with the FBI without telling its customers — will now offer users the option to prevent law enforcement from accessing their data.Full Article
More than 300 health-care experts told the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday that the agency’s landmark guidelines for the use of opioids against chronic pain are harming patients who suffer from long-term pain and benefit from the prescription narcotics.
The health-care providers, including three former U.S. drug czars, said the CDC recommendation of a daily numerical threshold for opioid use has led insurers to refuse reimbursement, pharmacies to erect obstacles to obtaining drugs and risks for doctors who want to give out more.Full Article
One night in November 1999, a 26-year-old woman was raped in a parking lot in Grand Rapids, Mich. Police officers managed to get the perpetrator’s DNA from a semen sample, but it matched no one in their databases.
Detectives found no fingerprints at the scene and located no witnesses. The woman, who had been attacked from behind, could not offer a description. It looked like the rapist would never be found.
Five years later, there was a break in the case. A man serving time for another sexual offense submitted a DNA sample with his parole application. The sample matched DNA from the rape scene.
There was just one catch: The parolee had an identical twin, and standard DNA tests can’t distinguish between identical twins. Prosecutors had no additional evidence to rule out one or the other. Because they couldn’t press charges against either of the men, the case remains open nearly 20 years later.Full Article
OF ALL THE big, world-remaking bets on the genome-editing tool known as Crispr, perhaps none is more tantalizing than its potential to edit some of humanity’s worst diseases right out of the history books. Just this week, Crispr Therapeutics announcedit had begun treating patients with an inherited blood disorder called beta thalassemia, in the Western drug industry’s first test of the technology for genetic disease. But despite the progress, there remain a host of unknowns standing in the way of Crispr-based medicines going mainstream, chief among them safety.
That’s because the classic, most widely used version of Crisprworks by slicing open a strand of DNA in a specific spot in the genome and letting the cell stitch it back together. The major concern is that an army of DNA-breaking enzymes might sometimes wander astray and cause unintended mutations in places it shouldn’t.Full Article
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. said it will no longer be selling or servicing genetic sequencers in China’s Xinjiang region, following mounting criticism that its products were used for state surveillance of citizens there that enabled human rights abuses.Full Article