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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Twenty years ago, Dr. Francis Collins, who was then director of the National Center for Human Genome Research, made rosy predictions in his Shattuck Lecture about the health benefits sure to flow from the Human Genome Project. His paper on...

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Police departments around the country are getting increasingly comfortable using DNA from non-criminal databases in the pursuit of criminal cases. On Tuesday, investigators in North and South Carolina announced that a public genealogy website had helped them identify two bodies found decades...

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Tracing genealogies has become immensely popular of late, and numerous companies offer to help you search through historical records or...

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In Shenzhen, even kindergartners have homework. You can see it in the workbook-laden backpacks weighing them down as they waddle...

Two 23andMe at-home DNA testing kits

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Mother with three children--kissing one on the cheek and holding one

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Biopolitical Times
Biopolitical Times
Several fingerprints stamped on a white background

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Gel DNA plate with UV illumination

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Padlock attached to a DNA strand on a blue background.

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