1 April 2012
Newborn screening is an area of interest this month, as new practice guidelines for screening for metabolic disorders in the US were issued and an expanded screening programme is announced for more than half of all babies born in the UK.
Public health expert Dr Louise Aston examines the implications of recent research on the effects of genetic changes on obesity in mice.
A paper that criticises genomic sequencing for disease prediction attracts criticism, whilst reports from the US call for more oversight to ensure effective clinical translation of genomic and related forms of testing, and set out professional guidelines for such testing.
Commercial development has been boosted by £7.5 million new funding from the UK government, but in the US the Supreme Court has rejected a patent and ordered a review of the Myriad gene patent case in the light of this decision, causing industry concern.
As the UK Biobank opens to researchers for the first time, data from the 1000 Genomes Project has been made available via Amazon, and a new DNA database dedicated to cleft lip and palate has been launched. New guidance on incidental findings and a generic legal consent framework for genomic research have been released, whilst a new online game called Phylo is helping researchers identify key DNA sequences.
As the UK sets out ambitious plans to boost regenerative medicine, experts in the US call for changes to the current regulatory structure for gene therapy trials.
Recent research throws light on genetic influences that affect the risk of autism, risk of severe complications from influenza infections and the weight of newborn babies, as well as epigenetic mediators of environmental factors that influence schizophrenia risk.