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.

Biopolitical Times

Many scientists seem to think that heritable human genetic modification is too far off to worry about. Others suggest it’s a mere decade or two away. Meanwhile, hopes that we’ll soon treat a range of diseases with gene therapies – non-heritable genetic alterations – are currently running high, notwithstanding recent unsettling developments and concerns about prices.

All in all, we’re still on the enthusiasm upswing in terms of expectations about human gene editing.  But several recent plant and...

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People will be able to earn cryptocurrency in exchange for letting pharma companies use their data.

Cryptocurrency in exchange for your genetic data! Sounds a bit like a scam, but it’s the premise behind a new company founded by a...

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Genomics is cheaper and more available then ever, but its usefulness for parents has yet to be proven

Before Cheryl...

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Ever since DNA was first used in 1986 to catch a killer, it's swashbuckled its way through society as an almost infallible...

A spotlight illuminates a puzzle of a double helix that is being assembled, but with missing pieces that are staggered around its border.

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Three stacks of coins are resting on top of paper that has small font. Blue and black pens are stacked between the coin piles.

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Someone in a laboratory wears gloves on their hands, as they place a test tube filled with liquid into a centrifuge machine. Other laboratory equipment surrounds the room.

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