August 2011

1 August 2011

Genomics and health services

In the same week that the first clinical use of whole genome sequencing in the UK was announced, the head of the UK government advisory Human Genomics Strategy Group has said the National Health Service is ‘completely unprepared’ for genomics, whilst research has shown that US doctors don’t feel ready to meet the challenges of personalised medicine.

Legal developments

Landmark rulings from US courts have affirmed federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research and ownership of BRCA gene patents by the company Myriad; concerns over the impact of DNA patenting have been raised in the UK. The German Bundestag has voted to permit pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for serious diseases. 

Policy and regulation

The UK government has unveiled a new strategy for the development of regenerative medicine, and proposals for the regulation of research using animals containing human material have been published. A new regulatory framework for DNA sequencing technologies has been proposed in the US, as have policy changes to reduce birth defects in Europe.

Research news

A controversial paper reporting links between genetic variants and long lifespans has been withdrawn from the journal Science, whilst non-invasive prenatal diagnosis of fetal sexhas been reported as reliable from the seventh week of pregnancy.

Genetics and disease

Research has identified new genetic variants associated with susceptibility to prostate cancer, two studies have linked spontaneous mutations with schizophrenia, and genetic data support an autoimmune basis for multiple sclerosis.

New reviews and commentaries

Other recent news and research