July 5, 2012 |
How long will it be before prenatal care involves sequencing the genome of a fetus to detect genetic disorders before birth? Several recent reports have shown it can be done, based on the tiny bits of DNA that float around in the mother-to-be's blood plasma during pregnancy. Another such study came out this week in the journal Nature -- with some important advances. In the past, fetal-genome analyses have involved getting samples of DNA from three places: the woman's blood cells (to identify her genome)
September 6, 2012 |
A massive examination of the human genome has revealed that our DNA is jam-packed with “switches” that regulate the actions of genes -- turning them on, turning them off, et cetera. The volume of information produced from the effort (called ENCODE) was huge: Ewan Birney, the British scientist who coordinated analysis, estimated that it'd fill a poster 30 kilometers long and 16 meters high, as we note in our story . Birney told us he tried quite hard to get someone to produce the poster, but nobody bit. The idea somehow evolved into an event offered up by London's Science Museum in which sylph-like women in skin-tight catsuits perform the “Dance of DNA” with aerial silks that are printed with bits of the project's data.
November 8, 2012 |
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was covered in blood when he walked back to his base in southern Afghanistan after a nighttime attack that left 16 civilians dead, and samples from his clothing have been positively matched with blood found at the scene of the shootings, an Army investigator testified Thursday. Christine Trapolsi, a DNA analyst at the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Laboratory, said she identified the blood of four people on various parts of Bales' pants, shirt, boxer shorts, gloves, boots and weapons.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 22, 2013 |
Opening a new frontier for solving cold cases, California prosecutors are hunting for DNA from killers, rapists and other prison inmates who died before authorities obtained their genetic profiles. Prosecutors from Sacramento, Los Angeles and Orange counties are sifting through old court exhibits and examining long-since forgotten crime-scene evidence in search of blood, saliva and other material that can be tested for DNA. Once obtained, the DNA is compared with the genetic profiles from unsolved cases that have DNA from unidentified perpetrators.
April 29, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- The FBI has found female DNA on at least one of the two homemade bombs detonated during the Boston Marathon on April 15, according to a law enforcement official. The presence of genetic material does not necessarily mean a woman helped build the pressure-cooker bombs, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. The genetic material could have come from a woman who was in the room where the devices were built, or from a cashier at a store where one of the bomb parts was purchased, the official said.
May 26, 2012 |
Silicon-based computers are fine for typing term papers and surfing the Web, but scientists want to make devices that can work on a far smaller scale, recording data within individual cells. One way to do that is to create a microscopic hard drive out of DNA, the molecule that already stores the genetic blueprints of all living things. Stanford University bioengineer Drew Endy is a pioneer in the field of synthetic biology, which aims to turn the basic building blocks of nature into tools for designing living machines.
May 22, 2013 |
Researchers reported Wednesday that they had sequenced the genome of the Norway spruce, a giant evergreen native to Europe that has also been planted widely in parts of North America. Published in the journal Nature, the catalog of the tree's DNA was notable for its length. The human genome is made up of about 3 billion pairs of DNA base letters, which store all the genetic information needed to make a person. The Norway spruce genome was nearly seven times longer, at 20 billion base pairs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 23, 2009 |
Out of cash and understaffed, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has suspended its faltering effort to analyze DNA evidence from thousands of rape and sexual assault cases. The department halted shipments of the genetic evidence to private crime laboratories at the end of May after funds allotted for the testing ran dry, according to a report submitted by Sheriff Lee Baca to the county Board of Supervisors late last week.
June 1, 2012 |
Harvard biologists have brought new meaning to the term "fine print" by devising microscopic tiles made of DNA that self-assemble into letters, Chinese characters, emoticons and other shapes. More than mere doodling , their advance, detailed this week in the journal Nature, could make it easier and cheaper to build tiny DNA devices capable of delivering drugs or aiding the study of biochemistry, scientists said. "This technique will accelerate the research field of DNA nanotechnology," said Ebbe Sloth Andersen, a researcher at Aarhus University in Denmark who collaborated on an editorial that accompanied the report.
April 9, 2010 |
President Obama may have given credence to a relatively new but questionable law enforcement practice that the rest of the developed world is starting to shun: taking and retaining DNA samples from individuals arrested for a crime but not convicted. That is, putting innocent people's DNA in criminal databases. During an interview with the president last month on the television program "America's Most Wanted," host John Walsh enthusiastically supported the expansion of this practice in the United States, saying, "We now have 18 states who are taking DNA upon arrest.