Genomics

Genomics is a branch of biology focused on the structure, function, evolution, and mapping of genomes, the complete set of DNA in the single cell of an organism. Sequencing a genome means determining the order of its chemical sub-units. Scientists use these sequences to map and catalog human genetic variation to improve our understanding of human biology, disease susceptibility, and drug response. 

As the cost of genetic sequencing has fallen rapidly in recent years, concerns have increased about inaccurate or misunderstood results, violations of genetic privacy, and misuse of genetic databases. Though direct-to-consumer genetic testing has become a highly publicized industry, many experts express considerable skepticism about its usefulness, either for health conditions or ancestry information. Genetic sequencing is also increasingly used in police work, since DNA in even small amounts of blood, saliva, or other biological materials left at a crime scene can identify or exonerate a suspect. However, police DNA databases, which in many jurisdictions include people who have been arrested for but never convicted of a crime, raise concerns about privacy, potential civil liberties violations, and racial discrimination.


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Seventeen people employed by Orig3n as managers, lab technicians, software engineers, marketers, and salespeople from summer 2015 to fall 2018 say the company habitually cut corners, tampered with or fabricated results, and failed to meet basic scientific standards.

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As applications of advancing DNA forensics continue to become more accessible, some worry that police may misuse this technology.

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It's a scene straight out of Gattaca — the 1997 futuristic film in which eugenics is used to breed and...

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Call it the “ick” factor.

Stories like the 2018 bombshell out of China, of a scientist manipulating embryonic DNA...

biology classroom with a microscope and synthetic human brain and heart

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Two police officers in China patrol a city square

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swab used in a home DNA test

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A row of babies in hospital cots swaddled in pink and blue blankets

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Office building with 23andMe logo

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Fingerprints and data code on a blue background

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Rainbow double helix

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young man of color wearing a hoodie behind a cyclone fence

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