Genetic testing: a conceptual exploration.
This paper attempts to explore a number of conceptual issues surrounding genetic testing. It looks at the meaning of the terms, genetic information and genetic testing in relation to the definition set out by the Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing in the UK, and by the Task Force on Genetic Testing in the USA. It argues that the special arrangements that may be required for the regulation of genetic tests should not be determined by reference to the nature or technology of the test, but by considering those morally relevant features that justify regulation. Failure to do so will lead to the regulation of genetic tests that need not be regulated, and would fail to cover other tests which should be regulated. The paper also argues that there is little in the nature of the properties of gene tests, using DNA or chromosomes, that in itself justifies a special approach. (+info)
Indigenous peoples and the morality of the Human Genome Diversity Project.
In addition to the aim of mapping and sequencing one human's genome, the Human Genome Project also intends to characterise the genetic diversity of the world's peoples. The Human Genome Diversity Project raises political, economic and ethical issues. These intersect clearly when the genomes under study are those of indigenous peoples who are already subject to serious economic, legal and/or social disadvantage and discrimination. The fact that some individuals associated with the project have made dismissive comments about indigenous peoples has confused rather than illuminated the deeper issues involved, as well as causing much antagonism among indigenous peoples. There are more serious ethical issues raised by the project for all geneticists, including those who are sympathetic to the problems of indigenous peoples. With particular attention to the history and attitudes of Australian indigenous peoples, we argue that the Human Genome Diversity Project can only proceed if those who further its objectives simultaneously: respect the cultural beliefs of indigenous peoples; publicly support the efforts of indigenous peoples to achieve respect and equality; express respect by a rigorous understanding of the meaning of equitable negotiation of consent, and ensure that both immediate and long term economic benefits from the research flow back to the groups taking part. (+info)
Ethics in the laboratory examination of patients.
Various value problems are connected with the clinical examination of patients. The purpose of this literature review is to clarify: 1) in which patient examinations ethical problems are generally found; 2) what kind of ethical problems are found in the different phases of the examination process, and 3) what kind of ethical problems are found in connection with the use of examination results. Genetic testing, autopsy, prenatal and HIV examinations were ethically the most problematic laboratory examinations. The most problematic phase in the laboratory examination process proved to be the pre-analytic phase. At present the results of laboratory examination are used more and more often for the prediction of diseases. The problems appear when the examination results are used for discrimination and stigmatization. Because of the lack of empirical ethical research, it is important to chart empirical knowledge about present value conflict situations involved in the laboratory examination process. (+info)
Ethical-legal problems of DNA databases in criminal investigation.
Advances in DNA technology and the discovery of DNA polymorphisms have permitted the creation of DNA databases of individuals for the purpose of criminal investigation. Many ethical and legal problems arise in the preparation of a DNA database, and these problems are especially important when one analyses the legal regulations on the subject. In this paper three main groups of possibilities, three systems, are analysed in relation to databases. The first system is based on a general analysis of the population; the second one is based on the taking of samples for a particular list of crimes, and a third is based only on the specific analysis of each case. The advantages and disadvantages of each system are compared and controversial issues are then examined. We found the second system to be the best choice for Spain and other European countries with a similar tradition when we weighed the rights of an individual against the public's interest in the prosecution of a crime. (+info)
Separating real motifs from their artifacts.
The typical output of many computational methods to identify binding sites is a long list of motifs containing some real motifs (those most likely to correspond to the actual binding sites) along with a large number of random variations of these. We present a statistical method to separate real motifs from their artifacts. This produces a short list of high quality motifs that is sufficient to explain the over-representation of all motifs in the given sequences. Using synthetic data sets, we show that the output of our method is very accurate. On various sets of upstream sequences in S. cerevisiae, our program identifies several known binding sites, as well as a number of significant novel motifs. (+info)
Gene recognition based on DAG shortest paths.
We describe DAGGER, an ab initio gene recognition program which combines the output of high dimensional signal sensors in an intuitive gene model based on directed acyclic graphs. In the first stage, candidate start, donor, acceptor, and stop sites are scored using the SNoW learning architecture. These sites are then used to generate a directed acyclic graph in which each source-sink path represents a possible gene structure. Training sequences are used to optimize an edge weighting function so that the shortest source-sink path maximizes exon-level prediction accuracy. Experimental evaluation of prediction accuracy on two benchmark data sets demonstrates that DAGGERis competitive with ab initio gene finding programs based on Hidden Markov Models. (+info)
Design of a compartmentalized shotgun assembler for the human genome.
Two different strategies for determining the human genome are currently being pursued: one is the "clone-by-clone" approach, employed by the publicly funded project, and the other is the "whole genome shotgun assembler" approach, favored by researchers at Celera Genomics. An interim strategy employed at Celera, called compartmentalized shotgun assembly, makes use of preliminary data produced by both approaches. In this paper we describe the design, implementation and operation of the "compartmentalized shotgun assembler". (+info)
Joint modeling of DNA sequence and physical properties to improve eukaryotic promoter recognition.
We present an approach to integrate physical properties of DNA, such as DNA bendability or GC content, into our probabilistic promoter recognition system McPROMOTER. In the new model, a promoter is represented as a sequence of consecutive segments represented by joint likelihoods for DNA sequence and profiles of physical properties. Sequence likelihoods are modeled with interpolated Markov chains, physical properties with Gaussian distributions. The background uses two joint sequence/profile models for coding and non-coding sequences, each consisting of a mixture of a sense and an anti-sense submodel. On a large Drosophila test set, we achieved a reduction of about 30% of false positives when compared with a model solely based on sequence likelihoods. (+info)