Wetmachine Blog: General

Items that do not fit in other categories

The human genome sequence’s 10th anniversary collided with the invalidation of a major DNA patent

The US patent office has made it very clear that purified DNA is not the same, in their view, as the DNA in each of our cells. Myriad Genetics used this ruling to put a choke hold on medical tests for BRCA1, which was first identified not as a gene, but as a region of Chromosome 7 associated with susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer (review, 1993). The gene was later cloned, a patent issued, and the patent rights ended up licensed from, near as I can tell without going into it deeply, the University of Utah to Myriad Genetics. Knowing whether a patient has BRCA1 has strong implications in deciding the right course of patient care for breast cancer, both in treatment of the disease and in screening. It’s one small example of the potential for personalized medicine, and it was in the hands of one company.

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Also posted in Wetware and Hard Science | Tagged , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

quantum theory and relativity finally wed

“Is causality an inherent and necessary characteristic of the Universe, or just an illusion produced by the way our brains interpret the world?”

That’s the opening line of an article in Nature news titled How to Build the Universe

After a long estrangment, quantum views of small-scale interactions and relativistic views of large-scale interaction have been married to reveal how quantum mechanics brings about the fuzzy, four-dimentional universe in which we live.

Also posted in Wetware and Hard Science | Tagged | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

Nature's take on Bush V. Kerry

By Nature, of course, I mean the the magazine. In a (mostly) free area the position of the candidates on various scientific issues is discussed, from stem cells to climate change to nuclear waste and weapons. Also, they rehearse the Bush administration’s apparent manipulation of science for its own ends.

Those needing additional grist for the mill can find it in the specials – us election page.

Also posted in Wetware and Hard Science | Tagged , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)
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