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December 2, 2016

 

Welcome to the Genomics in Society Digest

Genomics in Society: Genomics and its related Ethical, Economic, Environmental, Legal and Social aspects.
This news digest is published by Genomics in Society at Genome Alberta. Feel free to forward to your colleagues.

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News

Buyer beware? Professor Timothy Caulfield to investigate misleading stem cell advertisements

Professor Timothy Caulfield and Assistant Professor Ubaka Ogbogu have each received $50,000 research grants from the Stem Cell Network. Prof. Caulfield’s project is titled Stem cells and misleading marketing claims and Prof. Ogbogu’s project is titled Regulating the future: model policies for emerging stem cell research activities, including research on gene-edited and reconstituted embryos.
Source: University of Alberta

LISTEN: Scientists to PM: limited, biased science threatens Canada

17-hundred early career scientists sent an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau calling for more scientific rigour to be part of environmental scientists. One of those researchers talked to CBC Radio’s Quirks & Quarks host Bob McDonald about those concerns.
Source: CBC Quirks & Quarks

Ginkgo 'living fossil' genome decoded

On of the best selling herbal supplements can now trace some of its genetic heritage. Sometimes called a living fossil because it has undergone few changes over millions of years, the Ginko Biloba tree has finally given up some of its secrets to researchers.
Source: BBC

Canadian researcher in legal battle to keep her interviews confidential

This isn’t really about ‘omics but there is no reason to think that the same kind of challenge won’t make its way into biorech research. Journalists have learned how to protect their sources, but now Canadian graduate student Marie-Ève ​​Maillé is fighting a similar battle and her colleagues are worried that the case will stifle participation in research.
Source: AAAS Science

How drug-resistant bacteria travel from the farm to your table

The agriculture industry says that fears of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from farm animals is exaggerated. Researchers aren’t so sure.
Source: Scientific American

Introducing genomics in healthcare

This video is a couple of years old but it will still give you a good overview of the impact of genomics on clinical practice. It will only take 8 minutes of your day!
Source: Health Education England

LISTEN: Visionaries: Harvard's George Church, a gene-era imagineer who 'tells the muggles'

Reuters latest short list of possible Nobel Prize winners includes George Church. This audio podcast is part of a series of stories which focus on visionaries and is produced by WBUR radio in Boston, a National Public Radio Station.
Source: WBUR

Post-truth: a guide for the perplexed

If politicians can lie without condemnation, what are scientists to do? Kathleen Higgins offers some explanation.
Source: Nature

The author of a book called 'Am I My Genes?' says anyone who tries a personal genetics test should know these 5 things first

Robert Klitzman, a bioethicist and psychiatry professor at Columbia University and the author "Am I My Genes?"
Apparently, genes and genetic test can get complicated.
Source: Business Insider

Fake science journals still catch the unwary — or desperate — in Canadian universities

They don’t conduct peer reviews, content is not edited, and the journals don’t count when it comes to a scientist’s publishing record. Nevertheless ‘fake’ science journals are alive and well in Canada. Thanks to improved algorithms and spam bots they may even be doing better than they were a few years ago.
Source: Ottawa Citizen

'We've been deceived': Many clinical trial results are never published

There is a new tool available to track the results of clinical trials and it turns out many results never see the light of day. According to the CBC, nine Canadian universities and institutions rank in the top 100 organizations with the greatest proportion of registered trials without results.
Source: CBC
Feature: Gene Editing News Up arrow

U.S. military preps for gene drives run amok

It isn’t the stuff of science fiction. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working on a genetic spill “clean-up crew”.
Source: Scientific American

DNA-editing breakthrough could fix 'broken genes' in the brain, delay ageing and cure incurable diseases

“We now have a technology that allows us to modify the DNA of non-dividing cells, to fix broken genes in the brain, heart and liver. It allows us for the first time to be able to dream of curing diseases that we couldn’t before, which is exciting.” Even if you know the story, visit the link and scroll down to the comments. And then maybe think about why science communication is important and can’t be reserved for behind-the-paywall publications, conferences, and traditional media.
Source: The Independent

CRISPR gene-editing tested in a person for the first time

A team led by oncologist Lu You at Sichuan University in Chengdu has injected a patient with aggressive lung cancer with CRISPR edited genes. The procedure took place in OCtober as part of a clinical trial at the West China Hospital in Chengdu. Will this spark a world-wide biotech race?
Source: Scientific American

New era of 'cut and paste' humans close as man injected with genetically-edited blood

A man in China was injected with modified immune cells which had been engineered to fight his lung cancer. Larger trials are scheduled to take place next year in the US and Beijing, which scientists say could open up a new era of genetic medicine.
Source: The Telegraph

Breakthrough as gene-editing technique restores sight to blind animals

Study first to show gene-editing tool CRISPR can replace faulty genes within adult cells - and in future could be applied to range of devastating genetic diseases
Source: The Guardian


Papers & Features Up arrow

The flip side of personal genomics: When a mutation doesn't spell disease

Hayden E. (2016) Nature doi:10.1038/nature.2016.20986

Let’s face it, telling the average person that they have a genetic mutation does not sound like good news. But not all mutations are fatal and we are still discovering more about exactly how mutations are expressed. Now consider how easy it is for people to buy their own genetic test off the internet and you can imagine where we could be headed.
Source: Nature

Public knowledge-making and the media: genes, genetics, cloning and mass observation

Haran, Joan and O'Riordan, Kate (2016) European Journal of Cultural Studies. ISSN 1367-5494 (Accepted)

This article takes a broader perspective to demonstrate that people engage with multiple media genres over an extensive time frame. It explores the findings of a Mass Observation directive looking at how people know about genes, genetics cloning.
Source: European Journal of Cultural Studies

Parents perspectives on whole genome sequencing for their children: qualified enthusiasm?

J A Anderson, M S Meyn, et al. (2016) J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2016-103564

To better understand the consequences of returning whole genome sequencing (WGS) results in paediatrics and facilitate its evidence-based clinical implementation, we studied parents' experiences with WGS and their preferences for the return of adult-onset secondary variants (SVs)—medically actionable genomic variants unrelated to their child's current medical condition that predict adult-onset disease.
Source: Journal of Medical Ethics

Events Up arrow

Visit Genome Alberta's extensive Events Calendar on our website at GenomeAlberta.ca. Connect With Us to sign up for our newsletters and see the Calendar of Events.


Communicating Public Health Information

Join Canada’s leading health practitioners, communicators, advocates, analysts, and researchers, as they share the latest intelligence and approaches that:
  • Demonstrate how risk prevention and harm reduction increases positive public health outcomes – and saves lives
  • Raise public awareness, stakeholder engagement and government support
  • Conserve scarce public service resources and decrease public expenditure on chronic public health issues and crises
  • Improve public safety and aid at-risk communities

When: December 7 - 8, 2016
Where: Mariott Bloor Yorkville, Toronto, Ontario

For full details of the two-day Agenda and how to register, click here. (pdf file)

Precision Medicine World Conference

Recognized as a vital cornerstone for all constituents of the health care and biotechnology community, PMWC provides an exceptional forum for the exchange of information about the latest advances in technology (e.g. DNA sequencing technology), in clinical implementation (e.g. cancer and beyond), research, and in all aspects related to the regulatory and reimbursement sectors.

When: January 23-25, 2017
Where: Computer History Museum, Silicon Valley California

Conference details and registration


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