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Society and Biotechnology

Articles discussing the regulatory concerns, ethical issues, and benefits of new biotechnology developments.

The Big Biotech Stories of 2013
What were the biggest and most exciting happening in biotechnology and biomedicine over the past year? Check out these six developments that shook up bioscience and biomedical research.

The Battle against Death
Biomedical research is continually pushing back the boundaries of death. How far could this research eventually go? Immortality? Bringing back the dead? (Posted: Oct. 23,2013)

Biomedicine During the Revolutionary War
What was medicine like during the time of the Founding Fathers? Did you know many people infected themselves with smallpox on purpose? Thomas Jefferson was sure a lot of medicine during his time was not based on sound principles. He was right.

The 2013 Rally for Medical Research in Washington D.C.
Researchers and patients gathered to protest the declining level of funding going to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for biomedical research to cure disease and improve healthcare. (Published: April 8, 2013)

Providing Patient Care that Incorporates the Latest Biomedical Research
Advances in molecular analysis will revolutionize medicine, but research is advancing faster than clinics can use the information. Will patients be able to reap the benefit of new discoveries in a timely manner?

Tracking the Spread of Bacteria Around the Globe with DNA Sequencing
DNA analysis has become accessible enough to enable convenient genetic characterization of large numbers of pathogen samples collected from patients around the world. As a result, they can track how new strains of virulent bacteria have evolved into global pandemics. The article discusses two examples of this sort of analysis, and what the findings suggest about how bacteria continues to adapt and thrive in the modern world.

Gene Patents: Can a Company Really Own Your DNA?
How can companies patent human genes? As the Supreme Court prepares to take up the issue of gene patents with its review of the Myriad case, this article explores the details of how genes can be patented why the Court needs to weigh in on what they really cover.

The Supreme Court Reviews Myriad's Gene Patents
The Supreme Court will consider limitations on the rights of companies to patent human genes with its upcoming decision in the case challenging Myriad Genetics claims to the BRCA cancer genes. Find out about the details of this case.

Six Biotech Developments in 2012 and Predictions for Next Year
Here's an overview of some of the biotech highlights of 2012 and thoughts on what's coming up for 2013.

Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Analysis and FDA Regulation
Several companies provide services for personal genetic analysis and some of the information you can get relates to health dispositions and disease risks. Is this providing medical advice? Who is interpreting the data? The FDA is looking into how to regulate this complex and evolving DNA analysis market.

Has Biomedical Research Become Less Reliable?
There seem to be problems with most published biomedical studies. How reliable are published results?

The Fight to Use Maternal Blood for Prenatal Testing
A simple blood test of a pregnant woman can now identify fetal genetic abnormalities that can produce conditions such as Down's Syndrome. How was this approach developed and who are the companies involved in developing the technology?

Can Government Programs Fix the Drug Development Pipeline?
As drug discovery and development slows down to a trickle, publicly funded government initiatives try to take up the slack. Can the new NIH and Euro big government programs prime the drug discovery pipeline?

In Vitro Fertilization and Genetic Screening
How would you feel if you knew you were conceived with genetic screening? Has this happened to you? Share your story.

The Xenotransplantation Debate
A discussion of the ethical and practical issues surrounding the use of animal organs for human transplants (xenotransplantation).

Patenting Life Forms
Users answer whether they would donate cells for a patented cell line, for money.

Should GM Foods Be Labeled?
The question of labeling food containing GMOs is not the same as the question of whether there are risks associated with genetically modified food. It is easy to think that GM food is fine and also believe it should be labeled. But, does it really make sense? Is there a reason to specifically label GM food? For some thoughts about the debate,...

Can Genetically Modified Food Feed the World?
Advocates for genetic engineering of crops used for food point to benefits such as providing better and more nutritious, potentially solving world hunger by increasing crop yields, fortifying foods to ensure the poor are getting proper nutrition. However, genetically modified (GM) foods have been available since the mid-nineties. Has their...

Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Research
A discussion of the pros and cons in the ethical debate over stem cell research.

Are Nanoparticles Safe?
An outline of what nanoparticles are, how they are applied in biotechnolgy and safety issues surrounding their use.

Comments on Myriad Gene Patent Case
Reader comments on Myriad gene patent case

Comments on Six Biotech Developments in 2012 and Predictions for Next Year
Six Biotech Developments in 2012 and Predictions for Next Year article comment forum

Will a Computer Replace Your Oncologist?
IBM and MSKCC collaborate to use Watson, an advanced supercomputer that can interpret and respond to natural language input, to help doctors and patients make better use of the latest research findings for medical treatment. (Posted: June 12, 2013)

Researchers Clone a Human Embryo, Finally!
Researchers in Oregon cloned the first human embryo. Is it a scientific breakthrough or ominous development? (Published: May 21, 2013)

The Significance of the Myriad Gene Patent Decision
While much has been made about how the decision in the Myriad Gene Patenting lawsuit will affect the biotech industry and biomedical research, how much impact will it actually have? (Published: April 30, 2013)

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