The link between our genetics and how we behave is the topic of much speculation, some if it highly controversial. But there are some instances where scientists can say with certainty that a particular gene influences human behavior.
Personalized genomics offers the opportunity to revolutionize medical care and our understanding of disease. But many first adopters won’t wait for the medical community to start large-scale sequencing. Using personal genomics companies, more than 2 million people have already been sequenced and their results are are creating online connections.
Cheaper genomic sequencing will give more patients and their physicians access to genetics in the healthcare system. But will that lower costs? Not necessarily says Peter Ubel, especially if you consider what happened with gallbladders.
It’s not the use of recombinant technology, but rather capitalism and greed that has stigmatized genetic engineering in our culture. In order to save synthetic biology from the same fate, the field should be open source and DIY instead of rigorously patent protected.
Reports in the GLP and by Michael Specter have painted a devastating picture of Vandana Shiva as an extremist who has lost her moral bearings–one who puts crude ideology above empirical facts, hurting the very people she she claims to support. So why have so many reporters for so long conferred so much credibility on her obviously distorted world view?
Non GMO products are hot — reportedly a $7 billion a year business — but do consumers get what they think they’re getting with this label? Critics say the use of the label has spun out of control: companies label foods with no possible GMO ingredients as ‘GMO free” or want to give a product a false aura of healthiness. Two GLP contributors debate.
One of the most common criticisms of GMOs is that ‘almost all the research is industry funded’ and therefore cannot be trusted. Setting aside the issue of what research is trustworthy, the non-profit Biology Fortified examined hundreds of studies to determine if that allegation is credible. It’s not.
Anti-GMO leaders often claim that they are not against crop biotechnology; their only desire is a ‘right to know’ what’s in their food. The GLP examined their actual comments. It turns out that empowering consumers is far down on their agenda. Their only real goal is to ban a promising technology in all of its forms.
Richard Dawkins tweeted that abortion is the moral choice for a Down syndrome fetus. As usual, vilification ensued. But the data say most women agree with him.
Polls show that support for GMOs is weakest among those who call themselves liberals. But slowly that’s begun to change as the most prominent moderate and liberal publications embrace the technology and reject mandatory labeling as ‘anti-science.’