Of cabbages and kings

While I wasn’t looking, some stuff happened:

  • 23andMe announced it would offer free genotyping to 10,000 African Americans. Daniel MacArthur has your cogent analysis. IMHO, this is long overdue and if it’s done right, can be the start of something that will ultimately pay public health dividends. I hope.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit undid most of Judge Robert Sweet’s (U.S. Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York) decision from March of last year and ruled that isolated DNA is indeed patentable subject matter (big ol’ pdf). The only significant bit the CAFC affirmed was “…the [lower] court’s decision that Myriad’s method claims directed to ‘comparing’ or ‘analyzing’ DNA sequences are patent ineligible; such claims include no transformative steps and cover only patent ineligible abstract, mental steps.” So, uh…boo ya!…We now return you to your regularly scheduled taxpayer-funded biotech monopoly. Dan Vorhaus has real-time thoughts on his twitter page.
  • The US Department of Health and Human Services has announced plans to revamp its “system” for protecting human participants in research. It’s about frickin time, yo. I will have more to say about this once I have slogged through this 92-page cure for insomnia carefully and thoughtfully studied the request for comment in detail.

Have a nice, air-conditioned weekend…

(hat tip)

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2 Responses to Of cabbages and kings

  1. Jeff says:

    Regarding the recent pledge of 23andme to genotype 10,000 Africans. Isn’t it interesting that they currently have just over 100,000 people in their database (that is incredibly skewed toward whites of European decent) and suddenly they want to help the less fortunate world by adding 10,000 Africans? No… there is a definite bottom line here. As it turns out African blacks make up a little over 12% of the U.S. population. 10,000 Africans is the ~10% they need in their database. —there database now looks more like the actual U.S. population.
    FYI: They are selling the data out the back door for BIG bucks.

    It always helps to sell under a great cause doesn’t it.

  2. Misha says:

    I don’t deny the bottom-line considerations. But I am still glad it is happening: minority representation in genomic databases–whether commercial or academic–is pathetic. See, for example:

    Nature. 2011 Jul 13;475(7355):163-5. doi: 10.1038/475163a.
    Genomics for the world.
    Bustamante CD, Burchard EG, De la Vega FM.

    Trends Genet. 2009 Nov;25(11):489-94.
    Next generation disparities in human genomics: concerns and remedies.
    Need AC, Goldstein DB.