The Department of Justice has just filed an amicus brief supporting the upholding of the US Federal District Court’s opinion that genes by themselves are not patentable. This is huge. The patenting of sequences of DNA has always been controversial. Opponents fall mainly in two camps. The first argues that there are those that say DNA, as a defining element of life, should be held by a private company as a patent. I don’t agree with this viewpoint. There is nothing extrinsically different about DNA from other materials that should differentiate it by this argument. The second camp makes a much stronger argument, and is the reason cited by the DOJ’s amicus brief, and is also the reason I am [more . . .]
Harnessing the millions of easily distractable minds worldwide, groundbreaking science is being done. Rosetta@Home, the software that is modeled after Stanford’s Folding@Home and designed for distributed calculation and prediction for 3D protein shapes on millions of computers worldwide, now has a new feature. As the Economist article describes, the new Rosetta@Home software contains a game in which users (players) can manipulate the 3D protein structure according to basic laws of chemistry and physics in order to minimize energy. This was created due to the fact that 3D protein alignments and folding are still hugely computationally intensive, and often, the best 3D structures are found by molecular biologists working by hand rather than a computer using a heuristic algorithm. Moreover, humans [more . . .]
The genetic revolution may soon yield one more life-saving product, an effective therapy for cystic fibrosis in the form of, surprisingly, a drug already on the market that is currently used to treat depression. See this abstract from Science.
An interesting article in the NYT about genetic discrimination: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/business/23gene.html?_r=1&ref=health&oref=slogin Gattica, anyone?