Posts Tagged ‘dna samples’

New York State Passes DNA Requirement For Almost All Convicted Criminals

March 16th, 2012 03:39 admin View Comments


New submitter greatgreygreengreasy writes “According to NPR, ‘Lawmakers in New York approved a bill that will make the state the first to require DNA samples from almost all convicted criminals. Most states, including New York, already collect DNA samples from felons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. What’s remarkable about the New York bill is that it would expand the state’s database to include DNA from people convicted of almost any crime, even misdemeanors as minor as jumping over a subway turnstile.’ Gattaca seems closer than we may have thought. Richard Aborn, one of the bill’s backers, said, ‘We know from lots of studies and lots of data now that violent criminals very often begin their careers as nonviolent criminals. And the earlier you can get a nonviolent criminal’s DNA in the data bank, the higher your chances are of apprehending the right person.’”

Source: New York State Passes DNA Requirement For Almost All Convicted Criminals

Genes About a Quarter of the Secret To Staying Smart

January 19th, 2012 01:42 admin View Comments


ananyo writes “A Scottish intelligence study that began 80 years ago has borne new fruit. Researchers have tracked down the study’s surviving participants — who joined the study when they were 11 years old — to estimate the role that our genes have in maintaining intelligence through to old age. After conducting fresh intelligence tests on the surviving participants, the researchers tested the DNA samples they had collected for the presence of more than half a million common genetic variants, each affecting only a single letter in the DNA sequence of the genome. The team then calculated whether these variants were associated with cognitive stability — how well intelligence had been maintained over time. The sample size of 2,000 people was too small to grant the statistical power needed to track down individual genetic signatures associated with cognitive stability. But it was enough to estimate how much genetics contributes to cognitive ageing. The team found that these variants accounted for nearly one-quarter of the differences in cognitive stability.”

Source: Genes About a Quarter of the Secret To Staying Smart

App Uses Facial Profiling To Identify Perps

July 14th, 2011 07:09 admin View Comments


Hugh Pickens writes writes “Emily Steel writes that a new iPhone accessory that uses a picture of the person’s face or iris to identify them will help police units identify suspects and look up their criminal record. To scan a person’s iris, police officers can hold the special iris-scanning camera on device, called MORIS, about 5 to 6 inches away from an individual’s irises. After snapping a high resolution photo, the MORIS system analyzes 235 unique features in each iris and uses an algorithm to match that person with their identity if they are in the database. To use the facial recognition system an officer takes a photo of a person at a distance of about 2 feet to 5 feet that analyzes about 130 distinguishing points on the face (video), such as the distance between a person’s eye and nose, then scans the database for likely matches. Bernard Melekian says challenges remain in developing guidelines for the proper use of the mobile recognition technology for police work. ‘If the purpose is to determine instantly an individual’s identity and determine whether they are wanted or have serious criminal history, that is not only a desirable use, it is an important use,’ says Melekian. ‘To simply collect information on individuals to add to the database would not in my opinion be a desirable use of the technology.’” The range of offenses for which conviction (and sometimes mere arrest) now triggers the collection of DNA samples is expanding; I suspect that iris information, seemingly less intrusive to collect, will soon enough become part of applications for passports, driver’s licenses, and concealed carry permits.

Source: App Uses Facial Profiling To Identify Perps

DNA Testing Proposed For All Felony Arrests In New Mexico

March 10th, 2011 03:06 admin View Comments


Hugh Pickens writes writes “The AP reports that a proposal to expand DNA testing to anyone arrested for a felony in New Mexico has passed the state House, expanding a 2006 state law requiring DNA samples of those arrested of certain violent felonies, such as murder, kidnapping and sex offenses. ‘We must give law enforcement the best possible tools to prevent crime and convict criminals, and requiring DNA samples from those arrested for felonies is simply the modern-day equivalent of fingerprinting,’ says Governor Susana Martinez. Under the measure, already enacted in a dozen states, suspects 18 and older will have to provide DNA samples — from a cheek swab, for example — when they’re booked at jails for any felony, as supporters says the expanded testing can help prevent crimes. But opponents contend the testing violates a person’s right to privacy and could cause police to make arrests on a pretext to obtain a DNA sample.”

Source: DNA Testing Proposed For All Felony Arrests In New Mexico

Government Sting Operation Finds Problems With Personal Genetics Tests

July 23rd, 2010 07:31 admin View Comments

23andmeThe summer of our government’s discontent (with personal genetics tests) continues. Yesterday an investigator with the Government Accountability Office reported back to Congress on its undercover investigation of the tests on the market, saying that testing the DNA of GAO staffers returned frequently contradictory and confusing answers.

“Consumers need to know that today, genetic testing for certain diseases appears to be more of an art than a science,” said GAO investigator Gregory Kutz [CBS News].

Here at 80beats, we’ve gone over some of the potential problems with these tests. DISCOVER blogger Ed Yong covers them in great detail in a post he wrote this week after getting his genes tested by 23andMe, including the dearth of data appropriate for interpreting results if you’re of Asian rather than European descent, and deciding whether to peek into the data that says whether you have a much higher than average risk for Parkinson’s disease.

The federal government began to worry about the same things this summer after Walgreens announced plans to sell tests by Pathway Genomics in its drug stores. Then, last month, the FDA announced that it intended to regulate these tests, whereas before they existed in a cloud of regulatory uncertainty—Pathway had told Walgreens the tests didn’t require the government’s OK. Congress got in on personal genomics, too, which led to this GAO investigation.

The GAO report suggests the companies still have a long way to go in drawing accurate conclusions. The agency submitted DNA samples from five staffers to four different genetic testing companies. When considering the same disease, the companies’ results contradicted each other nearly 70 percent of the time, according to GAO. In response to the same patient’s DNA, one company claimed he was at above-average risk for prostate cancer, a second said he was below average and two others said his risks were average [AP].

The FDA is holding meetings this week, trying to decide how it will regulate the tests.

Image: flickr / nosha

Source: Government Sting Operation Finds Problems With Personal Genetics Tests

NYC Governor Wants To Expand DNA Database

June 23rd, 2010 06:53 admin View Comments

crimeandpunishment writes “If Governor David Paterson has his way, New York would take DNA samples from even the lowest level of criminal….doubling the state’s DNA database. He says it would help to both solve crimes and clear people who were wrongly convicted. New York would become the first state in the country to do this. Currently DNA isn’t collected in most misdemeanors. The plan is getting lots of support among law enforcement, but the New York Civil Liberties Union says there are questions about privacy.”

Source: NYC Governor Wants To Expand DNA Database

House Votes To Expand National DNA Arrest Database

May 20th, 2010 05:19 admin View Comments

suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from CNET: “Millions of Americans arrested for but not convicted of crimes will likely have their DNA forcibly extracted and added to a national database, according to a bill approved by the US House of Representatives on Tuesday. By a 357 to 32 vote, the House approved legislation that will pay state governments to require DNA samples, which could mean drawing blood with a needle, from adults ‘arrested for’ certain serious crimes. Not one Democrat voted against the database measure, which would hand out about $75 million to states that agree to make such testing mandatory. … But civil libertarians say DNA samples should be required only from people who have been convicted of crimes, and argue that if there is probable cause to believe that someone is involved in a crime, a judge can sign a warrant allowing a blood sample or cheek swab to be forcibly extracted.”

Source: House Votes To Expand National DNA Arrest Database

Writer Peter Watts Sentenced; No Jail Time

April 30th, 2010 04:30 admin View Comments

shadowbearer writes “SF writer Peter Watts, a Canadian citizen, whose story we have read about before in these pages, was sentenced three days ago in a Port Huron, MI court. There’s not a lot of detail in the story, and although he is still being treated like a terrorist (cannot enter or pass through the US, DNA samples) he was not ordered to do any time in jail, and is free and has returned home to his family. The judge in the case was, I believe, as sympathetic as the legal system would allow him to be.”

Source: Writer Peter Watts Sentenced; No Jail Time

After DNA Misuse, Researchers Banished From Havasupai Reservation

April 22nd, 2010 04:31 admin View Comments

bbsguru writes “A court settlement has ended a controversial case of medical privacy abuse. From the NYTimes: ‘Seven years ago, the Havasupai Indians, who live in the deepest part of the Grand Canyon, issued a ‘banishment order’ to keep Arizona State University employees from setting foot on their reservation, an ancient punishment for what they regarded as a genetic-era betrayal. Members of the tiny tribe had given DNA samples to university researchers starting in 1990, hoping they might provide genetic clues to the tribe’s high rate of diabetes. But members learned their blood samples also had been used to study many other things, including mental illness and theories of the tribe’s geographical origins that contradict their traditional stories.’”

Source: After DNA Misuse, Researchers Banished From Havasupai Reservation

Yale Law Student Wants Government To Have Everybody’s DNA

March 15th, 2010 03:06 admin View Comments

An anonymous reader writes “Michael Seringhaus, a Yale Law School student, writes in the NY Times, ‘To Stop Crime, Share Your Genes.’ In order to prevent discrimination when it comes to collecting DNA samples from criminals (and even people who are simply arrested), he proposes that the government collect a DNA profile from everybody, perhaps at birth (yes, you heard that right).”
Regarding the obvious issue of genetic privacy, Seringhaus makes this argument: “Your sensitive genetic information would be safe. A DNA profile distills a person’s complex genomic information down to a set of 26 numerical values, each characterizing the length of a certain repeated sequence of ‘junk’ DNA that differs from person to person. Although these genetic differences are biologically meaningless — they don’t correlate with any observable characteristics — tabulating the number of repeats creates a unique identifier, a DNA ‘fingerprint.’ The genetic privacy risk from such profiling is virtually nil, because these records include none of the health and biological data present in one’s genome as a whole.”

Source: Yale Law Student Wants Government To Have Everybody’s DNA