March 2011

1 March 2011

Policy and regulation

In the US, strict regulation of direct-to-consumer genetic testing and close supervision by health professionals has been recommended by the AMA (6 March) and an FDA advisory panel (10 March), provoking criticism from some quarters (15 March). The French government has made moves towards a more permissive regulatory environment for genetic testing, embryo and stem cell research (3 March), whilst the UK has requested expert recommendations on mitchondrial transfer to prevent serious diseases (11 March). Funding for the US Office of Public Health Genomics has been significantly reduced (16 February).

Genomics and medicine

A review from the major UK biomedical research charity the Wellcome Trust has set out progress and challenges for human genomics (21 February). Different methods of whole genome sequencing have been used in research to define what constitutes a ‘healthy’ genome (26 February), as well as to track an outbreak of TB (3 March) and select the best treatment for a cancer patient (20 February).

Rare diseases

Rare diseases have also featured in the news with last month’s global Rare Disease Day; restrictive licensing practices are said to be stifling research into rare diseases (24 February), and a UK report has found a lack of medical support for patients with such conditions (28 February).

Genetics research

A new international study into the genetics of prostate cancer has been announced (7 March), along with a novel UK tissue bank for breast cancer research (16 March). Newly published research has reported genetic insights into progression of prostate cancer (16 February) and bowel cancer (16 March), and implicated genes in type 2 diabetes (11 March) and schizophrenia (1 March).

New reviews and commentaries

Our selection of interesting recent articles, including many on the future of genomics following the tenth anniversary of the human genome sequence (2 March)

Other recent news and research