Genetic screening: Every newborn a patient

ISG faculty Dr. Stefan Timmermans describes how “giving parents a torrent of information about a child’s genetic disease risk will profoundly change the experience of bringing a new life into the world”.   He writes, “Opening up newborn screening for genetics has mostly been viewed as an issue of technological capacity: Is the technology sufficiently fast and reliable to make…

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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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Artist Uses Found DNA Data to Generate Photo-realistic Portraits

Artist and Phd student, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, finds and photographs DNA samples out in public, collecting everything from hair to chewed gum and cigarettes. She then sequences the DNA, extracting information about certain traits related to outward appearance (e.g. gender, eye-color, ancestry).  Dewey-Hagborg then feeds this information into a computer program that uses the details to create a 3D model of…

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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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