by Sue Friedman
Information about genetics is exploding in more ways than one. Let me explain: almost daily we are bombarded with new articles about discoveries in the field of genetics. Many of these discoveries are exciting and relevant for our community. But other discoveries (although groundbreaking) may have little significance for us or others in our community. Sometimes the media treats all new information equally. It can be difficult to tease out what is of immediate importance and what is many years away from actual application that will improve our lives. Our newsletter addresses some of these new topics but it’s hard to keep up with the pace of new information in a quarterly print newsletter.
Along with the explosion in information comes the inevitable explosion of opinions about some of the topics that involve genetics. The media loves to polarize the issues, leading to public debates on message boards tied to newspaper articles, letters to editors, etc. where people who may or may not have an understanding of the issues present opinions that are sometimes dismissive, insulting, or miss the boat. For example, recently the headlines touted the birth of a baby in the United Kingdom whose parents used Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to select and implant an embryo that was free of the BRCA 1 mutation which the father carried. The headlines which heralded “Designer Baby” and “Cancer-free Baby” simplify and controversialize this complicated topic.
Our plan is to use this blog to provide personal input, advisory board input, and personal impressions on late-breaking information; research and articles that involve our community. As much as possible I will try to take into account the diverse nature of our community. In addition I will try to add articles about projects and programs that FORCE is involved in. I welcome input, feedback, and suggestions by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check back often for updates.Tags: brca, facingourrisk, genetics, hereditary cancer