August 2008

1 August 2008

Please note that our news service will be temporarily suspended over the main holiday period, but will return in September.

Genetics and genomics

A set of new research publications have reported the identification of genetic factors associated with schizophrenia (1 August), and other research has identified a genetic basis for increased susceptibility to HIV-1 infection among African Americans (25 July). A promising new technique for the introduction of targeted genetic modifications has been made available to researchers, along with access to resources needed to put the method into practice (29 July), which should benefit all sorts of research and development, including gene therapy.

New initiatives reported in the last month include funding for research into genetic influences on the risk of common diseases (24 July) and the genetic basis of ageing (21 July) in the US, and for a combined birth cohort facility in the UK to assist in the study of genetic and environmental factors in health and development (7 August). A publication discusses the critical importance of test evaluation in the effective translation of genomic knowledge into healthcare, and reports on a programme to boost translational genomics research (31 July).

Legal and regulatory developments

The UK Human Tissue Authority (HTA) has launched a public consultation on revised and new codes of practice (6 August), which runs until November, whilst the ethics task force of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) is to assess the use of DNA chip (microarray) technology for pre-implantation genetic screening of embryos (16 July). A multidisciplinary group of researchers have published an open letter in which they propose a set of principles to guide the use of racial or ethnic categories in human genetics research (18 July), and a decision by the UK High Court to revoke a patent granted to company Human Genome Sciences has effectively raised the minimum threshold for intellectual property protection for biotechnological claims (5 August).

Selected new reviews and commentaries

Our selection of recent articles of interest (5 August)

Other recent news and research

See also the Genomics & Health Weekly Update from the CDC Office of Public Health Genomics.