May 2009

1 May 2009

In the last month we have launched an updated version of our website (with further improvements in development), and have also been pleased to announce the appointment of a new Chief Executive, Dr Mukesh Kapila CBE.

Genetic testing and databases

In the UK, the Government has announced proposals to bring the national DNA database in line with a recent European Court of Human Rights ruling against the current system (7 May), whilst a paper reports on the DECIPHER database of chromosomal abnormalities (28 April). A new public consultation by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics is looking at the ethics of direct-to-consumer healthcare including genetic testing and profiling (21 April), whilst new legislation in Germany has placed heavy restrictions on DTC genetic testing (28 April). The American College of Medical Genetics has released a statement on the retention of bloodspots used for newborn screening, and new reports consider the ethics of this practice (14 May).

Disease genetics

A new study has been launched in Australia to investigate the genetics of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (20 April), and a paper reports the association of a common genetic variant with increased susceptibility to autism spectrum disorder (30 April). Other studies have reported on the possible biological basis for increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in cognitively normal individuals with the APOE e4 allele (23 April) and the identification of rare genetic variants associated with X-linked mental retardation (6 May). In the US, a new funding programme for translational research into paediatric and obstetric pharmacogenomics (including genomic, proteomic and systems biology approaches) has been launched (17 April).

Genome sequencing and stem cell research governance

The impact of moves towards a more permissive stem cell research regime in the US have been echoed by developments in Asian countries (13 May), whilst scientists in Canada and the UK have sequenced the genome of H1N1 swine flu isolates from Mexican, Canadian and British patients (15 May). A paper compares three different next-generation sequencing platforms (11 May).

New reviews and commentaries

Our selection of recent articles of interest (1 May)

Other recent news and research

See also the Genomics & Health Weekly Update from the CDC Office of Public Health Genomics and the GenInfo Monthly Newsletter from HumGen.