Hot Topics: Genetics

Blog Posts (139)

April 10, 2018

DNA Testing for Baby’s IQ

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In the 1997 film GATTACA, when a child is born, a reading of their DNA is done within minutes.…

April 6, 2018

Ethics and Society Newsfeed – April 6, 2018

Image via Bioethics/Medical Ethics/Animal Ethics The Human Thing: When It’s Not About “Bioethics” “In the place of narcissistic and subjective dignity wrongly invoked by procreation militants, we need a return to the transcendent and objective dignity of human nature.” A Global Observatory for Gene Editing “Sheila Jasanoff and J. Benjamin Hurlbut call for an international […]
April 5, 2018

New short videos on genetic topics

This week, an email from the Hastings Center promoted The Code, a series of 3 short documentaries on the internet about the origins of genetic medicine.  The three are being released one week at a time.  The first, released this week, briefly (12 minutes) reviews the determination, or sequencing, of the entire human genome, a project conducted in the 1990’s, and completed in 2000, by... // Read More »
March 29, 2018

Toward true public engagement about gene editing

The March 22, 2018 edition of Nature includes two thoughtful, helpful commentaries about improving the public dialogue around “bleeding edge” biotechnologies.  In this case, the example is gene editing, of which one commentator, Simon Burall from the U.K., says, “Like artificial intelligence, gene editing could radically alter almost every domain of life.”  Burall’s piece, “Don’t wait for an outcry about gene editing,” can be found... // Read More »
March 23, 2018

Resources regarding ethics of gene editing

Recently, two resources have become available regarding gene editing and the issues raised by it. First, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine have made available an archive of its February 22 webinar about human gene editing.  The home page for the Academies’ human gene-editing initiative is here.  A link to the archived webinar is here.  The slides can also just be viewed here.... // Read More »
February 20, 2018

DIY CRISPR Kits – Gene Editing for the Rest of Us

One might think with the amazing advance of technology and easy access to nearly infinite data via the Internet that we, as a society, would see a reduction in false claims of benefit for novel medical procedures and untested medications. Sadly, it seems to be just the opposite. I seem to be spending gradually more time with my patients reviewing the results of their internet... // Read More »
February 6, 2018

Citizenship, Surrogacy and the Power of ART

A recent LA Times article by Alene Tchekmedyian explores a complicated case involving birthright citizenship, surrogacy and same-sex marriage. Briefly, a California man, Andrew Banks, married an Israeli man, Elad Dvash, in 2010. At the time, same-sex marriage was not legal in the US leaving Elad unable to acquire a green card for residency (via the marriage) so the couple moved to Canada where Andrew... // Read More »
January 24, 2018

Update on clinical studies of human gene editing

The January 22 edition of The Wall Street Journal carried an article the essential message of which was, “the Chinese are ahead of us in gene editing.”  Specifically, more human clinical trials are active in China than in the US using gene editing in some form to treat people with specific diseases.  Some of these trials use the “hot, new” CRISPR-Cas9 approach to gene editing. ... // Read More »
November 21, 2017

Is Your Polygenic Risk Score a Good Thing?

Back in October, Jon Holmlund wrote a blog entry regarding the popular company 23andMe and their collection of your health-related information along with your genetic material. I missed the significance of that relationship at the time. It took a recent article in Technology Review by my favorite technology writer Antonio Regalado to raise my ethical antennae. In his article, he explains the nexus of big... // Read More »
November 16, 2017

More about gene therapy and human gene editing

To my post of last week, add the case of a 44 year-old man who has received gene therapy for an inherited metabolic disease called Hunter’s syndrome. This is another example of a form of gene editing as true therapy.  That is, an existing individual is given a construct intended to edit his genes to introduce a gene that makes an enzyme that is lacking... // Read More »

View More Blog Entries

Published Articles (65)

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 18 Issue 4 - Apr 2018

Beyond Consent: Building Trusting Relationships With Diverse Populations in Precision Medicine Research Stephanie A. Kraft, Mildred K. Cho, Katherine Gillespie, Meghan Halley, Nina Varsava, Kelly E. Ormond, Harold S. Luft, Benjamin S. Wilfond & Sandra Soo-Jin Lee

AJOB Primary Research: Volume 8 Issue 1 - Mar 2018

Understanding variations in secondary findings reporting practices across U.S. genome sequencing laboratories Sara L. Ackerman PhD, MPH & Barbara A. Koenig

AJOB Primary Research: Volume 8 Issue 4 - Dec 2017

“Will they be good enough parents?”: Ethical dilemmas, views, and decisions among assisted reproductive technology (ART) providers Robert Klitzman

AJOB Primary Research: Volume 8 Issue 4 - Dec 2017

How should we deal with misattributed paternity? A survey of lay public attitudes Georgia Lowe, Jonathan Pugh, Guy Kahane, Louise Corben, Sharon Lewis, Martin Delatycki & Julian Savulescu

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 7 - Jul 2017

Modernizing Research Regulations Is Not Enough: It's Time to Think Outside the Regulatory Box Suzanne M. Rivera, Kyle B. Brothers, R. Jean Cadigan, Heather L. Harrell, Mark A. Rothstein, Richard R. Sharp & Aaron J. Goldenberg

AJOB Primary Research: Volume 8 Issue 2 - Apr 2017

When bins blur: Patient perspectives on categories of results from clinical whole genome sequencing Leila Jamal, Jill O. Robinson, Kurt D. Christensen, Jennifer Blumenthal-Barby, Melody J. Slashinski, Denise Lautenbach Perry, Jason L. Vassy, Julia Wycliff, Robert C. Green & Amy L. McGuire

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 5 - May 2017

Genetic Fingerprints and National Security Beau P. Sperry, Megan Allyse & Richard R. Sharp

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 4 - Apr 2017

Psychiatric Genomics and Mental Health Treatment: Setting the Ethical Agenda Camillia Kong, Michael Dunn & Michael Parker

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 4 - Apr 2017

Psychiatric Genetics in a Risk Society Nicole Martinez-Martin

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 1 - Jan 2017

A Framework for Unrestricted Prenatal Whole-Genome Sequencing: Respecting and Enhancing the Autonomy of Prospective Parents Stephanie C. Chen & David T. Wasserman

View More Articles

News (906)

April 16, 2018 3:59 pm

Employees Jump at Genetic Testing. Is That a Good Thing? (The New York Times)

Genetic disease risk screening is becoming a popular employee benefit. But the tests may not be all that beneficial for the general population, experts say.

March 12, 2018 9:00 am

Fast genome tests are diagnosing some of the sickest babies in time to save them (MIT Technology Review)

Genetic diseases are the leading cause of death for infants in North America, affecting an estimated 4 percent of newborns. So while the work at Rady is still in the research stage, costing the hospital about $6,000 per baby, the hope is that it could lead to a standard medical test with the potential to save thousands of lives.

March 5, 2018 9:00 am

Genome editor gets more versatile and precise (Science)

Harvard University chemist David Liu and colleagues, as they report online in the 28 February issue of Nature, have engineered a new version of Cas9 that has a more commonly found DNA sequence and can land in four times as many places.

February 15, 2018 9:00 am

Gene therapy field hit by fresh safety concern (Science)

A virus that buoyed the gene therapy field when it led to dramatic benefits in babies born with a fatal neuromuscular condition is under scrutiny. A small animal study suggests that high doses of the virus, called adeno-associated virus 9, can cause severe liver and neuron damage in young monkeys and pigs. The results drew attention in part because they come from the lab of James Wilson at the University of Pennsylvania, who led a 1999 trial in which a teenager died from an immune reaction to a different gene therapy vector.

December 25, 2017 9:00 am

The uncharted emotional territory of gifting DNA tests to family (NBC News)

The family that spits together might not want to receive their health results together. In the new era of DNA testing, there can be tricky family dynamics.

November 13, 2017 9:00 am

Scientists save a kid by growing a whole new skin for him (Wired)

In October, the Italians sent the new skin back to Germany, and the boy’s doctors carefully laid them into areas they’d scoured of any dead or infected flesh, first to his arms and legs. When another batch arrived in November they did his chest and back. In January they touched up any spots they’d missed. Seven and a half months after he was admitted, the boy walked out the hospital doors, wound-free—the recipient of the largest-ever infusion of transgenic stem cells.

November 3, 2017 9:00 am

‘Base editors’ open new way to fix mutations (Science)

CRISPR has vastly simplified the ability to edit DNA, but there’s one thing this new technology is not particularly good at: fixing what are known as point mutations, the cause of many human genetic diseases. Now, two new papers, one in Science and the other in Nature, describe a tool called base editing that borrows heavily from CRISPR and excels at correcting the point mutations.

October 25, 2017 9:00 am

These gene-edited pigs are hearty and lean—but how will they taste? (Science)

“Lean” may not be the term you associate with a good bacon strip or pork chop. But these leaner, cold-hardier piglets, created through CRISPR gene editing, could be a hit with the pork industry.

October 19, 2017 9:00 am

The future of DNA sequencing (Nature)

What will the next 40 years bring? Prognosticators are typically wrong about which technologies — or, more importantly, which applications — will be the most disruptive. We would probably fare no better in predicting the future of DNA sequencing. So instead, we offer a framework for thinking about it. Our central message is that trends in DNA sequencing will be driven by killer applications, not by killer technologies.

October 13, 2017 9:00 am

Navajo Nation reconsiders ban on genetic research (Nature)

When the Navajo Nation opens its first oncology centre next year in Tuba City, Arizona, clinicians there may be able to offer a service that has been banned on tribal lands for 15 years: analyzing the DNA of Navajo tribe members to guide treatments and study the genetic roots of disease.

View More News Items