controversy

Supreme Court Rules DNA Can be Taken After Arrest

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that police can routinely take DNA samples from people who are arrested but not yet convicted of a crime, and see if the DNA matches any samples from unsolved crimes in a national database. The 5-to-4 decision split the court’s conservative and liberal blocs, with conservative Justice Antonin Scalia authoring a fiery dissent. Twenty-eight…

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Chinese project probes the genetics of genius

The US adolescents who signed up for the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) in the 1970s were the smartest of the smart, with mathematical and verbal-reasoning skills within the top 1% of the population. Now, researchers at BGI (formerly the Beijing Genomics Institute) in Shenzhen, China, the largest gene-sequencing facility in the world, are searching for the quirks of…

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European Society of Human Genetics Urges Caution Over Use of New Genetic Sequencing Techniques

The use of genome-wide analysis (GWA), where the entirety of an individual’s DNA is examined to look for the genomic mutations or variants which can cause health problems is a massively useful technology for diagnosing disease. However, it can also pose major ethical problems if used incorrectly, say new recommendations from the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) published on…

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Can We Patent Life?

Michael Specter writes for the New Yorker and discusses the question: Can we patent life? Excerpt: The intellectual and commercial bounty from that research has already been enormous, and it increases nearly every day, as we learn ways in which specific genes are associated with diseases—or with mechanisms that can prevent them. It took thousands of scientists and technicians more…

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A Genetic Code for Genius?

A 20-year-old Chinese geneticist who has been dubbed the nation’s “Bill Gates” is three months away from releasing the results of a groundbreaking but controversial study to identify the genetics behind high IQ in humans. The Wall Street Journal reports on the fascinating career of Zhao Bowen, a child prodigy in charge of the cognitive genetics lab at BGI, a private company…

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