These Days It’s Easy To Share Your DNA Data Online — But Erasing It Is A Whole Lot Harder
Deleting your DNA footprint isn't as easy as just deleting your Ancestry.com account. In other public health news: HIV, suicide, bacteria and DNA, and the mysterious illness striking U.S. diplomats.
Deleting Your Online DNA Data Is Brutally Difficult
Your genetic code includes details about not only your own health and family, but also similarly intimate information about your relatives. When police recently used a genetic genealogy website to find a suspect in the case of the Golden State Killer, it illuminated the unexpected ways that your genetic data can be used by people you had no idea you were sharing it with. Recently, I started feeling uneasy about how freely my DNA data flowed. So I decided to try to erase my DNA data footprint from all the websites and databases and laboratories in which it was stored. It turns out that isn’t so easy. (Brown, 6/15)
Why Miami Is The Epicenter Of New HIV Cases In The U.S.
The tourist mecca of Miami is also a hotbed of HIV transmission. While city and state officials have launched an ambitious plan to tackle the crisis, William Brangham and Jason Kane join Jon Cohen of Science magazine to look at how and why it’s gotten so bad. (Brangham and Kane, 6/14)
Lawmakers Ask For Increase In Suicide Prevention Funding
Two House lawmakers are asking for more funds for suicide prevention efforts in the wake of a report that showed rising rates across the country. Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.), co-chairs of the bipartisan House Suicide Prevention Task Force, noted Wednesday that funding for suicide prevention programs has remained flat or decreased in recent years. (Hellmann, 6/14)
The New York Times:
Using Harpoon-Like Appendages, Bacteria ‘Fish’ For New DNA
Two bacteria are sitting near free-floating DNA. Suddenly, one bacterium shoots out a long appendage, latches onto a DNA fragment and reels in its catch. It happens fast, but it’s clear: this organism had just gone fishing. Biologists at Indiana University recently captured this maneuver on camera for the first time. (Yin, 6/14)
The Associated Press:
US Renews Call For Cuba To Probe Cause Of Health 'Attacks'
The United States on Thursday renewed calls for the Cuban government to determine the source of health "attacks" on U.S. diplomats in Cuba that have affected some two dozen people. Cuba again denied any involvement or knowledge of any such attacks. At a senior-level meeting with Cuban officials in Washington, the State Department said it had again raised the issue, which has prompted a significant reduction in staffing at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. It reiterated "the urgent need to identify the source of the attacks on U.S. diplomats and to ensure they cease." (6/14)