A New DNA Test Can ID a Suspect's Race, But Police Won't Touch
the complete story in Wired
has been used nationally in nearly 200 criminal investigations.
In several, the science played a crucial role in narrowing the suspect
field, ultimately leading to an arrest. But its success hasn't made
the technology popular with law enforcement. DNAPrint,
the company behind the test, has yet to turn a profit.
DNAWitness examines DNA from 176 locations along the genome. Particular
sequences at these points are found primarily in people of African
heritage, others mainly in people of Indo-European, Native American,
or South Asian descent. No one sequence can perfectly identify a
person's origin, but by looking at scores of markers, ancestry can
be determined with a tiny margin of error.
Geneticists have identified a gene which causes breast
cancer to metastasise, the deadly process by which the disease
spreads to other organs. The SATB1 gene alters the behavior of at
least 1,000 other genes within tumor cells and makes cancer cells
proliferate. The findings could pave the way to diagnostic tools
that show the likelihood of the disease spreading and to drugs that
prevent or treat metastasis in breast cancer as well.
US Researchers Sequence the Genome of Corn
Researchers have sequenced the genome of corn. Scientists now will
be able to accurately and efficiently probe the corn genome to find
ways to increase crop yields and resistance to drought and disease.
The genome will help unravel the basic biology of corn, and that
information can be used to look for genes that make corn more nutritious
or more efficient for ethanol production. The only other crop plant
to have its genome sequenced is rice.
The sequence information is freely available online at maizesequence.org
President Bush Signs Genetic Information Nondiscrimination
Act of 2008
Wed., May 21 2008 — The President has signed into law the
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) that will protect
Americans against discrimination based on their genetic information
when it comes to health insurance and employment. The bill had passed
the Senate unanimously and the House by a vote of 414 to 1. The
long-awaited measure, which has been debated in Congress for 13
years, will pave the way for people to take full advantage of the
promise of personalized medicine without fear of discrimination.
diseases show specific microRNA profiles in the blood
Scientists at Nanjing University in China found that patients with
lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and diabetes had characteristic
patterns of microRNA circulating in their blood. Each disease was
associated with a unique pattern that differed from those seen in
healthy people. The findings provide the basis for a type of diagnostic
test that could be more accurate than those currently available.