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News, literature, and events in the ethical, social, and legal implications of psychiatric, neurologic, and behavioral genetics. 
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Braingenethics 

Update 

   No.3            April 2014

                                             

In the Literature 

Mind the Gap: Why Many Geneticists and Psychological Scientists Have Discrepant Views about Gene-Environment Interaction Research
By Laramie Duncan, Alisha Pollastri, and Jordan Smoller
This article offers a meta-analysis of 103 gene-environment interaction studies from the first decade of this century, and envisions geneticists and psychologists moving forward together in the future to make progress in studying such interactions. 

Commentary

A Decade’s Worth of Gene-Environment Interaction Studies, in Hindsight
By: Erik Parens
Parens offers a franker title for the piece (above) by Duncan, Pollastri, and Smoller:"Psychologists (and Everybody Else) Need to Get Up to Speed on What Psychiatric Geneticists Already Know: Gene-Environment Interaction Research Hasn't Panned Out Yet."
Social Disadvantage, Genetic Sensitivity, and Children's Telomere Length.
By: Colter Mitchell, John Hobcraft, Sara S. McLanahan et al.
Exposure to disadvantaged environments is associated with reduced telomere length (TL) by age 9. There are significant associations between low income, low maternal education, unstable family structure, harsh parenting and reduced TL.

Ethical Issues in the Use of Genetic Testing of Patients with Schizophrenia and Their Families
By Lynn E. DeLisi
This review outlines the positive and negative aspects of DNA testing and provides an account of the issues particularly relevant to schizophrenia.
 
Arguments for the Sake of Endophenotypes: Examining Common Misconceptions About the Use of Endophenotypes in Psychiatric Genetics
By: David C. Glahn, Emma E.M. Knowles, D. Reese McKay et al.
This review addresses and clarifies some of the common issues associated with the use of endophenotypes,  measurable biomarkers that are correlated with an illness, in the study of psychiatric disorders.
 
Reviewing Self-Injuries in Macaques: The Role of Early Experience and Genetics in an Integrated Non-Human Model
By: Juan D. Molina, Mario de la Calle Real, Alfonso Ramos Ruiz et al. 
Vulnerability and risk for socially reared macaques of developing self-injurious behavior increased when they experienced early adverse events and suffered from consequent stress. 
 
Genetic Relations Among Procrastination, Impulsivity, and Goal-Management Ability Implications for the Evolutionary Origin of Procrastination
By: Daniel E. Gustavson, Akira Miyake, John K. Hewitt, and Naomi P. Friedman
This study uses behavioral genetics to test three predictions derived from an evolutionary account that postulates that procrastination arose as a by-product of impulsivity.

Public Understandings of Addiction: Where do Neurobiological Explanations Fit?
By: Carla Meurk, Adrian Carter, Wayne Hall, Jayne Lucke
Drawing on 55 qualitative interviews conducted with members of the Australian public in the Greater Brisbane area, this paper challenges both the ‘expectational discourses’ of neuroscientists and the criticisms of its detractors. 
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In the News

Stress Alters Children’s Genomes
Growing up in a stressful social environment leaves lasting marks on young chromosomes, a study of African American boys has revealed.

Psychiatric Genetics Hold Great Promise
While clinical applications of genetic findings relevant to psychiatric disorders are still in their infancy, the field abounds with possibilities. 
 
Traces of Trauma in Sperm RNA
The offspring of mice that suffered early-life stress show signs of the disturbance their parent experienced, pointing to a potential RNA-based mechanism by which trauma may be epigenetically inherited.

Epigenomics Starts to Make its Mark
Analysis of chemical patterns on DNA shows promise for explaining disease, but few results have yet been replicated.
 
Trisomy 21 Effects Seen Genome-wide
The extra chromosome behind Down’s syndrome can impact transcriptional regulation beyond chromosome 21, a study finds.

Getting Down to Business
Some people seem to be born entrepreneurs with an intuitive savvy for business, but is there a genetic component? 

Who’s Afraid of Math? Study Finds Some Genetic Factors
A new study of math anxiety suggests that some people may be at greater risk to fear math not only because of negative experiences, but also because of genetic risks related to both general anxiety and math skills. 

Commentary

Genetic Testing in Torts Litigation – Justice or Injustice?
By: Maya Sabatello
Sabatello examines the ethical dilemmas present in a recent Canadian court case wherein a judge ordered a plaintiff to have a genetic test for Huntington's disease.
To contribute a news item, an academic article, or an event on the ethical, legal, and social implications of psychiatric, neurological, and behavioral genetics research please email us.

Events

Braingenethics Seminar:
Columbia University
June 23, 2014 4PM

Hank Greely, JD
Stanford Law School 

Braingenethics CEER Conference
Genetic Testing in Neurologic Disorders 2014: Developments & Dilemmas


Full conference schedule.  
In the swiftly changing world of genetic testing, neurological disorders pose their own specific risks and dilemmas. This conference brings together the latest developments in genetic testing for neurologic disorders, viewed through the perspectives of physicians, researchers, people at risk, ethicists, and community-based groups. 

June 6, 2014 2:00PM-6:00PM
Columbia University Faculty House
64 Morningside Drive NY, NY
Seminar locations:
PH10-405 at CUMC

Register by emailing here
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