October 2012

1 October 2012

Top stories this month

Genomics policy and legislation in the US have been in the news as the bioethics panel that advises the President publishes its report recommending adoption of policies to protect individuals’ genomic privacy, while the Supreme Court has been asked to rule once again on human gene patents. 

Opinion: ENCODE’s functional analysis of the human genome

Dr Anna Pokorska-Bocci examines what the ENCODE consortium’s recent functional analysis of the human genome means for genomic science and the future of health care. 

Genomic medicine

Gene expression patterns can predict chemotherapy response for patients with ovarian cancer, and survival time for those with advanced prostate cancer. A streamlined approach to genome sequencing and analysis could diagnose disease in newborns within hours. 

Genetic science and disease

An atlas of gene expression in the human brain should prove a valuable new resource for studying brain function, while the latest release from the Cancer Genome Atlas project gives new insight into the genomics of breast cancer. A genetic study of children and their parents finds that most intellectual disability is not inherited but is the result of newly-arising mutations. 

Specialist services

A Department of Health advisory body recommends which specialist services should be commissioned at a national level, while a think tank says that both policy makers and doctors in the UK tend to overlook rare diseases. 

Policy and regulation

Proposed changes to medical device regulations in the EU will affect diagnostic genetic tests, a sperm donor who passed the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis on to children he fathered has prompted regulatory changes in Denmark, and a US policy think tank finds that science advisory panels are not transparent enough. 

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