News and Events: Controversial GMO study retracted, 23andMe must stop selling until FDA approval, and Seattle Mag’s 2013 Most Influential People

Posted: December 1, 2013 in Ethics, Events, Funding, Life as a post-doc, Policy, Science

“The journal Food and Chemical Toxicology has retracted a much-criticized paper that links a strain of genetically modified (GM) maize with severe diseases in rats. The paper’s author, French biologist Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen, slammed the decision which he said is an attempt by the GM crop industry to muzzle scientists who put into question the safety of its products.”

You know its bad when even the Doonesbury comic strip is commenting on sequestration and its harmful effects on postdoctoral fellows (thanks NEWScience Policy for the heads up).

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on DNA testing company 23andMe for the marketing of its Personal Genome Service (PGS). In a 22 November warning letter addressed to CEO Ann Wojcicki, FDA demanded that the Mountain View, California-based company stop selling its $99 testing kit, which uses a sample of a buyer’s saliva to identify genetic variants linked to more than 240 “health conditions and traits,” until it receives FDA authorization.”

Seattle Magazine has released their list of 2013’s most influential people. I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few scientists on the list (and rightfully so considering UW (and others) is a research powerhouse and Seattle a huge biotech market).

“Big research collaborations have become common—think Human Genome Project, Mars rovers, the new BRAIN Initiative—but they are almost unknown in psychology. Most psychological experiments are carried out by a single lab group, often just a few researchers. But several collaborations that span dozens of psychology laboratories around the world have recently formed. Their goal is nothing short of testing the reproducibility of psychological science. The first significant result from one of those alliances was released this week, and psychologists are breathing a sigh of relief that their field came through with relatively minor blemishes—10 of 13 experimental results were replicated.”

“Leaked documents suggest that the UK research budget may be cut by 2%, or around £200 million, over two years.”

“If ever there were a case study in the messy uncertainties of drug development, the diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone) would be a prime candidate. On 25 November, US regulators removed safety restrictions that had been pasted on the drug in 2010 following concerns about heart risks. After years of debate and deliberation, Avandia can be marketed and prescribed freely again, even though, by now, sales of the drug have plummeted as people with diabetes turn to other options.”

Francesca Grifo of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has been hired to oversee the US EPA’s new science integrity policy.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s