by Aparna Nathan figures by Abagail Burrus Superheroes aren’t the only ones with riveting origin stories. As humans, where did we come from? How did we populate six continents? For hundreds of years, archaeology has tried to provide the answers by digging up artifacts and piecing together their histories. However, shovels and brushes are now joining forces with test tubes and lab coats. Within the … Continue reading Digging for DNA: Ancient genomes can illuminate the past and reframe the present
by Layla Siraj figures by Rebecca Senft Imagine if you could tell, through some combination of your environment and your genetics, what illnesses you might develop. This could give you the ability to either prevent these illnesses before they even happen or catch and treat the illnesses early enough to prevent long-lasting effects. This reality is one step closer with the release of the UK … Continue reading From Genes to Disease: the release of the UK Biobank
by Julian Segert figures by Aparna Nathan In Mountain View, California, near the headquarters of Facebook and Google, lies 23andMe, a company that set out to make genetic testing approachable and affordable for the general public. The company started with the goal of providing risk assessments for genetic diseases, but has recently gained more popularity by offering insights into geographical ancestry. 23andMe is unique among … Continue reading Understanding Ownership and Privacy of Genetic Data
by Raehoon Jeong figures by Jovana Andrejevic Like fingerprints, each person’s DNA, or genetic code, is unique. Therefore, DNA evidence from traces like hair or blood found at crime scenes can be used to exonerate or incriminate suspects. However, DNA evidence is generally only helpful when it matches the DNA of a suspect or of someone in the FBI’s criminal database. Oftentimes, this is not … Continue reading How Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing Services Led to the Capture of the Golden State Killer
by Alyson Warr figures by Olivia Foster One in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. This statistic makes breast cancer the leading cancer diagnosis for women in the US. With such staggering numbers, a focus on prevention is key: how can we stop breast cancer before it starts? One way is to develop fast and convenient methods of … Continue reading Using Genetics to Fight Cancer: The pros and cons of direct-to-consumer testing
by Catherine Weiner figures by Michael Gerhardt A decade ago, the idea of analyzing your DNA from the comfort of your own home seemed like science fiction. Tests required several weeks, thousands if not millions of dollars, and a lab of highly specialized PhDs. Today, thanks to technical advances and companies like 23andMe, you can perform this analysis for $199. The U.S. Food and Drug … Continue reading What’s in Your Genes: Newly approved genetic testing for disease risks
by Vivian Chou figures by Daniel Utter Donald Trump’s election as the 45th President of the United States has been marked by the brewing storms of racial conflicts. A rise in racial incidents ensued in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s victory in November 2016. Since the beginning of 2017, over 100 bomb threats have been made against Jewish community centers and schools. Trump’s travel ban, signed in … Continue reading How Science and Genetics are Reshaping the Race Debate of the 21st Century
Spitting into a plastic tube normally doesn’t cost $199, but the personal genomics company 23andMe has recently won FDA approval to turn that saliva into a DNA fingerprint. By identifying common variants in our genetic code, 23andMe’s DNA-testing service originally supplied personalized insights into disease predisposition, drug sensitivity, and other health-related traits. In 2013, however, the FDA demanded that 23andMe shutter the health-related aspect of … Continue reading 23andMe wins approval from FDA: What does your DNA say about you?