Archives For Newspaper

by Eleonore Pauwels and Jim Dratwa

Published in Scientific American, December 10, 2015,

Kannapolis, North Carolina, is a desolate town, plagued by unemployment since the main employer, a textile mill, suddenly closed its doors eleven years ago. In the aftermath of this shutdown, an elderly billionaire, David Murdock, who is curious about longevity and its genetic secrets, turned an enormous piece of land into a lucrative biotech complex. Not so bad, you might think, to revive the local economy, but the new campus mostly employed highly skilled scientists from renowned universities, not Kannapolis.

To the Kannapolites, Murdock offered a deal: let me extract your DNA for research on personalized diagnostics and treatments and you will get a $10 Walmart gift card. Many residents took the deal, and handed over their biological materials for an unlimited time. Without the resources to pay for the expensive treatments and cutting-edge medicine that could come from their genetic material, ordinary residents of the town are unlikely ever to reap the benefits of supplying their blood, urine and personal information… Read More

 

 

by Eleonore Pauwels and Patrick Skerrett

Published in STAT, November 17, 2015,

For the public to fully understand the potential of germline gene editing — and the risks it poses — scientists, writers, and policymakers must change how they talk about this new technology.

Metaphors saturate scientific conversations. They can simplify or confuse new technologies like gene editing. Gene editing opponents offer up dystopian nightmare scenarios, such as wealthy parents choosing attributes for their “designer” babies. Some turn a complex biological procedure into a sci-fi story, as seen in references about “editing humanity.”… Read More

 

By Eleonore Pauwels

Published in the New York Times June 18, 2013

WASHINGTON — THE Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling last Thursday, barring patents on human genes, was a wise and balanced decision that clears away a major barrier to innovation in the areas of biotechnology, drug development and medical diagnostics. But the decision is just a first step toward finding the right balance between protecting legitimate intellectual property and securing an open future for personalized medicine…Read More

By Eleonore Pauwels

Published in Guardian, June 1, 2013

Your DNA is as personal as you can get. It has information about you, your family and your future. Now, imagine it is used – without your consent – to create a mask of your face. Working with the DNA bits left behind by strangers, a Brooklyn artist makes us think about issues of privacy and genetic surveillance.

Heather Dewey-Hagborg, a 30-year-old PhD student studying electronic arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has the weird habit of gathering the DNA people leave behind, from cigarette butts and fingernails to used coffee cups and chewing gum. She goes to Genspace (New York City’s Community Biolab) to extract DNA from the detritus she collects and sequence specific genomic regions from her samples. The data are then fed into a computer program, which churns out a facial model of the person who left the hair, fingernail, cigarette or gum behind. Using a 3D printer, she creates life-sized masks – some of which are coming to a gallery wall near you…Read more