Putting Genetic Studies into Perspective

The genetics field has grown dramatically in recent years as we look to our DNA to explain our health and predict future diseases and disorders. At-home genetic testing kits are readily available and relatively affordable these days, though the tests may not live up to the hype and raise some ethical questions.

Beyond pursuing answers about our health, researchers, funders, and the public have grown increasingly interested in behavioral genetics, as we seek insight into cognition, intelligence, and personality. But don’t be too quick to buy into simple causal explanations about why you may have certain traits. For example, scientists argued in a New York Magazine article last year that Catechol-O-methyl transference may cause certain people to handle stress better than others. In our new briefing paper, “How Should We Be Thinking About Genetic Studies?” a number of experts note that the science is not that clear-cut:

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Putting “Brains on Trial”–A New PBS Series

Guest post by Kayt Sukel

How might the field of neuroscience change the U.S. legal system? It’s a broad question; as technology advances, neuroscientific study has the potential to alter all aspects of a legal case, starting from how we determine a perpetrator’s true intent to helping judges hand down appropriate and just sentences. But the key word here is potential, and in a new two-part PBS series, Brains in Trial, actor and science enthusiast Alan Alda explores just what that potential may be.

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World Science Festival in NYC

WSF2 Logo

Tickets for the World Science Festival in New York City go on sale to the general public today. The series of events will take place May 29-June 2, and will cover topics from many scientific fields. Of the neuroscience offerings, be sure to check out Dana grantee Nicholas Schiff and others in a discussion about consciousness, Nita Farahany’s talk about neuroscience and the law, and Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives member James Watson’s lecture about his work on DNA and beyond.

For a complete list of events and to purchase tickets online, visit the World Science Festival’s website.

– Ann L. Whitman

International Neuroethics Society 2012 Annual Meeting

Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D., is the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics and the director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University. He is also the program committee chair of the International Neuroethics Society.

It is my great pleasure to invite you to join us at the 2012 International Neuroethics Society (INS) Annual Meeting in New Orleans, October 11th and 12th, right before the Society for Neuroscience Meeting. The INS is a society dedicated to exploring the ethical, social, and legal implications of neurotechnology and clinical neuroscience. Our website can tell you more about the society, and about the agenda of our program and how to register.

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