1. Freedom

    Gene Tests Likely to Spread

    A Chinese worker shows testing reagents for the H7N9 avian flu virus in the lab of the Hunan provincial center for disease control and prevention in Changsha city, central Chinas Hunan province, 7 April 2013.

China is confident it can control an outbreak of a new strain of bird flu, a senior Chinese health official said on Sunday (7 April 2013) as the World Health Organization (WHO) said there had now been 21 human cases of the H7N9 flu with six deaths. China has said it is mobilizing resources nationwide to combat the new strain, monitoring hundreds of close contacts of confirmed cases and culling tens of thousands of birds where traces of the virus were found.

    Zi xin/AP

    Immediately after the Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday against the patenting of genes, several laboratories said they would begin genetic testing for breast cancer, an early sign of the likelihood that the tests will become more widely available and affordable. “It levels the playing field; we can all go out and compete,” the head of one testing company said. The ruling broke a nearly two-decade monopoly by Myriad Genetics on testing for mutations of the BRCA genes that indicate breast cancer. It will not, however, have much effect on the pharmaceutical or genetically engineered agriculture industries, both of which more often use synthetic DNA that is not covered by the decision.

    Read it at The New York Times