Should Police Detectives Have Total Access to Public Genetic Databases?

Should Police Detectives Have Total Access to Public Genetic Databases?

A crime scene photograph.

(© prathaan/Fotolia)


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Stephanie Fullerton And Rori Rohlfs
Stephanie Fullerton (left) is Associate Professor of Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Washington in Seattle. She received a DPhil in Human Population Genetics from the University of Oxford and later re-trained in Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) research with a fellowship from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Fullerton’s work focuses on the ethical and societal implications of genomic research and its equitable and safe translation for clinical and public health benefit. // RORI ROHLFS: With her background in statistical genetics and molecular evolution, Rori Rohlfs is currently an Assistant Professor of Biology at San Francisco State University. In addition to researching the evolution of gene expression, and women’s contribution to science, some of Rori’s work focuses on forensic genetics: estimating error rates of familial searching, and investigating how well statistical frameworks used in forensic genetics describe human genetic variation.
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The Friday Five: Soon Band-Aids Could Be AIs

In this week's Friday Five, research on a "smart" bandage for wounds, a breakthrough in fighting inflammation, the pros and cons of a new drug for Alzheimer's, benefits of the Mediterranean diet with a twist, and we've learned to recycle a plastic that was un-recyclable.

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The Friday Five covers five stories in research that you may have missed this week. There are plenty of controversies and troubling ethical issues in science – and we get into many of them in our online magazine – but this news roundup focuses on scientific creativity and progress to give you a therapeutic dose of inspiration headed into the weekend.

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Matt Fuchs

Matt Fuchs is the editor-in-chief of Leaps.org. He is also a contributing reporter to the Washington Post and has written for the New York Times, Time Magazine, WIRED and the Washington Post Magazine, among other outlets. Follow him on Twitter @fuchswriter.

Sexually Transmitted Infections are on the rise. This drug could stop them.

Cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis soared last year, but researchers are finding that a drug known as doxy seems to reduce the number of infections.

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Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are surging across the U.S. to 2.5 million cases in 2021 according to preliminary data from the CDC. A new prevention and treatment strategy now in clinical trials may provide a way to get a handle on them.

It's easy to overlook the soaring rates of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis because most of those infections have few or no symptoms and can be identified only through testing. But left untreated, they can lead to serious damage to nerves and tissue, resulting in infertility, blindness, and dementia. Infants developing in utero are particularly vulnerable.

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Bob Roehr
Bob Roehr is a biomedical journalist based in Washington, DC. Over the last twenty-five years he has written extensively for The BMJ, Scientific American, PNAS, Proto, and myriad other publications. He is primarily interested in HIV, infectious disease, immunology, and how growing knowledge of the microbiome is changing our understanding of health and disease. He is working on a book about the ways the body can at least partially control HIV and how that has influenced (or not) the search for a treatment and cure.