Category Archives: Genetics

Your DNA is valuable, why give it away?

THE announcement by 23andMe, a company that sells home DNA testing kits, that it has sold the rights to a promising new anti-inflammatory drug to a Spanish pharmaceutical company is cause for celebration. The collected health data of 23andMe’s millions of customers have potentially produced a medical advance – the first of its kind. But a few weeks later the same company announced that it was laying off workers amid a shrinking market that its CEO put down to the public’s concerns about privacy…

This article first appeared in The Guardian on 16 February 2020. To continue reading, click here.

 

The 2010s: what just happened?

THE 2010s were the decade in which we were reminded that science is just a method, like the rhythm method. And just like the rhythm method, it can be more or less rigorously applied, sabotaged, overrated, underrated and ignored. If you don’t treat it with respect, you may not get the optimal result, but that’s not the method’s fault…

Ice mountains on Pluto

This article was first published in The Guardian on 26 December 2019. To continue reading, click here.

 

Who owns life?

NEXT week, delegates will gather in Rome to discuss a question that could have profound implications for global biodiversity, food security and public health. Stripped of technical language, it boils down to this: who owns life? …

Josie Ford for New Scientist

This article was first published in New Scientist on 6 November 2019. To continue reading, click here (paywall).

 

 

Right to know v. right not to know

IN THIS information-saturated age, what happens when the right to know comes up against the right not to know? The ease of genetic testing has brought this question to the fore. Genes, some of which contain disease-causing mutations, are shared within families, meaning the results of a test for a genetic condition inevitably affect more people than the one who consented to be tested. Two contrasting legal cases pitting these rights against each other – one in Britain, the other in Germany – stand to extend the idea of who, exactly, is a patient and to alter the way in which medicine is practised…

This article first appeared in The Economist on 28 September 2019. To continue reading, click here (paywall).