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Induced Progress

Stem cell mediaWhen James Thomson’s and Shinya Yamanaka’s research teams published their ground-breaking papers last year on induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, one of the major hurdles to clinical application was the propensity of the cells to cause cancer. Now, scientists from Harvard University have successfully introduced the pluripotency-inducing genes into mouse somatic cells by way of adenoviruses, which are less harmful than retroviruses.

Genetic Privacy in Practice

DNA under magnifying glassAt the beginning of the month, NIH pulled pooled GWAS data from its website and began encouraging other institutions to follow suit, because a team of scientists have figured out just how to identify a single person’s DNA from a sample of hundreds.

MO Woes

human embryonic stem cellsThe anti-science forces in Missouri don’t know when to call it quits. This week a state judge decided to hear a lawsuit from the Missouri Roundtable for Life that seeks to block $21 million of state funds from going to the state’s Life Sciences Research Board. The suit may tackle the definitions of reproductive and therapeutic cloning.

The Interpretation of Genes

chromosomesWhat do researchers and clinicians actually need to understand about a gene in order to diagnose and treat patients? Play-by-play from a lively discussion on the state of genetics at the World Science Festival.

GINA Passes House and is Ready for Signing

The Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (H.R. 493) moved another step closer to becoming law yesterday. Although the House passed the bill last year, a reconciled version had go through again, as the Senate added an amendment when it passed the bill last week.

NEUROETHICS

Neuroethics 101

New technologies enable scientists to understand, alter, and enhance our brains. These raise a host of policy-relevant questions about privacy, social and political coercion, access to technology and therapy.

GINA Passes!

The Senate just passed the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (H.R. 493) by a vote of 95-0 after two hours of debate consisting of mostly well-deserved self-congratulations. Senator Enzi (R-WY), a cosponsor of the bill, raised a very good point, saying about GINA that “If the publicity doesn’t go out on it, the people don’t know about it….we are interested in people knowing what this bill does that will help them and that will encourage them to use the genome.”

Senate May Consider GINA As Early As Tomorrow

The Senate is closing in on a deal for the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (HR 493), and a vote might come as early as Wednesday. According to Congress Daily, Senate Majority Leader Reid will “hotline” the bill to determine if any Senator objects to the legislation.

NSF Looks At STEM Education In Practice

Elementary school girls at a microscopeThe NSF has been making measurable headway in its efforts to improve STEM education from Kindergarten to Grad School and beyond, but it still has a long way to go. On Jan. 15th and 16th the NSF held a conference in DC entitled “Science Education and Workforce Development: Key Challenges for Innovation in the States,” focusing on progress an challenges in the overlapping fields.

National Academies Explore Interdisciplinary Research

NAS logoThe National Research Council of the National Academies convened a symposium Wednesday to explore approaches among “Future Directions in Research at the Intersection of the Physical and Life Sciences.” The intersections up for discussion ranged across the research spectrum: from synthetic biology to geoengineering to bioterrorism.

Genes, Depression, and Policy

Genetics and Public Policy Center logoHealthcare professionals helping patients with mental health problems have an increasing array of treatment and prevention tools at their disposal. But on the horizon is a preventative tool that poses challenging public policy questions about ethics and privacy: personal genomic sequencing.

Expanding the R&D Tax Credit

Presenting at a policy summit last Wednesday, Dr. Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, offered recommendations for tax policies that offer “enterprise-focused” tax credits for Research & Development.

Mapping the Terrain of the Nano Frontier

Nano crystalsAdvances in nanotechnology may yield myriad powerful technical applications. But to grapple with the gap between research and regulation, the Center on Nanotechnology and Society held its 2nd Annual Conference on Nanopolicy this past Friday.

Stem Cell News Roundup: Dec 3, 2007

Stem-cell-derived motor neuron“A new way to trick skin cells into acting like embryos changes both everything and nothing at all.” Alan I. Leshner and James A. Thomson on the new advances in stem cell research, and other news and commentary from the mainstream press.

Stem Progress

Cell logoResearchers working independently in Japan and the U.S. published papers this week announcing the creation of non-embryonic pluripotent stem cells. The method side-steps the ethical concerns over the destruction of embryos and could open the doors for federal funding of research on stem cells and the medical breakthroughs they promise.

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