134 research outputs found

    Inappropriate flushing of menstrual sanitary products

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    This paper explores the disposal strategies of menstrual sanitary products through in-depth semi-structured interviews of women aged 18-30 years. There have been many educational campaigns to encourage solid stream waste disposal, however inappropriate disposal and blockages are still a major problem for the water industry. Whilst there have been quantitative studies exploring self-reporting of flushing norms, there is evidence to suggest these results may not take into account the complex set of socio-cultural factors associated with menstrual product disposal. Bridging this gap, our interviews found that although all participants had a desire to responsibly dispose, their ability to utilise solid waste streams or to minimise waste by using reusable products was not always possible because they felt, to some degree, restricted by the wider societal requirements for discretion and the design, accessibility and availability of bins and bathroom facilities. Based on these findings Industry recommendations are suggested

    Data sharing in genomics - re-shaping scientific practice

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    Author manuscript. Final version published by Nature. Available online at http://www.nature.com/Funding bodies have recently introduced a requirement that data sharing must be a consideration of all funding applications in genomics. As with all new developments this condition has had an impact on scientific practice, particularly in the area of publishing and in the conduct of research. We discuss the challenges that must be addressed if the full benefits of data sharing, as envisaged by funders, are to be realized

    Planning for translational research in genomics

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    Translation of research findings into clinical practice is an important aspect of medical progress. Even for the early stages of genomics, research aiming to deepen understandings of underlying mechanisms of disease, questions about the ways in which such research ultimately can be useful in medical treatment and public health are of key importance. Whilst some research data may not apparently lend themselves to immediate clinical benefit, being aware of the issues surrounding translation at an early stage can enhance the delivery of the research to the clinic if a medical application is later found. When simple steps are taken during initial project planning, the pathways towards the translation of genomic research findings can be managed to optimize long-term benefits to health. This piece discusses the key areas of collaboration agreements, distribution of revenues and recruitment and sample collection that are increasingly important to successful translational research in genomics

    Dimensions of responsibility in medical genetics: exploring the complexity of the “duty to recontact”

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    Discussion of a “duty to recontact” emerged as technological advances left professionals considering getting back in touch with patients they had seen in the past. While there has been much discussion of the duty to recontact as a matter of theory and ethics, there has been rather little empirically based analysis of what this “duty” consists of. Drawing on interviews with 34 professionals working in, or closely with, genetics services, this paper explores what the “duty to recontact” means for healthcare professionals involved in genetics. Using a discourse analytic framework, the paper identifies three system generated discourses on recontact (governance, legal and responsibilizing discourses) and three lifeworld discourses (situating recontact as a formal duty; more loosely as an obligation; and as a personal sense of responsibility). In summary, the paper shows that the “duty” to recontact involves a complex interplay of system responsibilities with professional duties, responsibilities and obligations

    Public Access to Genome-Wide Data: Five Views on Balancing Research with Privacy and Protection

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    Introductory paragraph: Just over twelve months ago, PLoS Genetics published a paper [1] demonstrating that, given genome-wide genotype data from an individual, it is, in principle, possible to ascertain whether that individual is a member of a larger group defined solely by aggregate genotype frequencies, such as a forensic sample or a cohort of participants in a genome-wide association study (GWAS). As a consequence, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Wellcome Trust agreed to shut down public access not just to individual genotype data but even to aggregate genotype frequency data from each study published using their funding. Reactions to this decision span the full breadth of opinion, from ‘‘too little, too late—the public trust has been breached’’ to ‘‘a heavy-handed bureaucratic response to a practically minimal risk that will unnecessarily inhibit scientific research.’’ Scientific concerns have also been raised over the conditions under which individual identity can truly be accurately determined from GWAS data. These concerns are addressed in two papers published in this month’s issue of PLoS Genetics [2,3]. We received several submissions on this topic and decided to assemble these viewpoints as a contribution to the debate and ask readers to contribute their thoughts through the PLoS online commentary features. Five viewpoints are included. The Public Population Project in Genomics (P3G) is calling for a universal researcher ID with an access permit mechanism for bona fide researchers. The contribution by Catherine Heeney, Naomi Hawkins, Jantina de Vries, Paula Boddington, and Jane Kaye of the University of Oxford Ethox Centre outlines some of the concerns over possible misuse of individual identification in conjunction with medical and family history data, and points out that if geneticists mishandle public trust, it will backfire on their ability to conduct further research. George Church posits that actions directed toward restricting data access are likely to exclude researchers who might provide the most novel insights into the data and instead makes the argument that full disclosure and consent to the release of genomic information should be sought from study participants, rather than making difficult-to-guarantee promises of anonymity. Martin Bobrow weighs the risks and benefits and proposes four steps that represent a middle ground: Retain restricted access for now, make malicious de-identification practices illegal, increase public awareness of the issues, and encourage recognition that scientists have a special professional relationship of trust with study participants. Finally, Bruce Weir provides a commentary on the contribution of the two research articles from Braun et al. [2] and Visscher and Hill [3]

    Ethical implications of the use of whole genome methods in medical research

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    The use of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in medical research and the increased ability to share data give a new twist to some of the perennial ethical issues associated with genomic research. GWAS create particular challenges because they produce fine, detailed, genotype information at high resolution, and the results of more focused studies can potentially be used to determine genetic variation for a wide range of conditions and traits. The information from a GWA scan is derived from DNA that is a powerful personal identifier, and can provide information not just on the individual, but also on the individual's relatives, related groups, and populations. Furthermore, it creates large amounts of individual-specific digital information that is easy to share across international borders. This paper provides an overview of some of the key ethical issues around GWAS: consent, feedback of results, privacy, and the governance of research. Many of the questions that lie ahead of us in terms of the next generation sequencing methods will have been foreshadowed by GWAS and the debates around ethical and policy issues that these have created

    No Origin, No Problem for Yeast DNA Replication

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    Eukaryotic DNA replication initiates from multiple sites on each chromosome called replication origins (origins). In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, origins are defined at discrete sites. Regular spacing and diverse firing characteristics of origins are thought to be required for efficient completion of replication, especially in the presence of replication stress. However, a S. cerevisiae chromosome III harboring multiple origin deletions has been reported to replicate relatively normally, and yet how an origin-deficient chromosome could accomplish successful replication remains unknown. To address this issue, we deleted seven well-characterized origins from chromosome VI, and found that these deletions do not cause gross growth defects even in the presence of replication inhibitors. We demonstrated that the origin deletions do cause a strong decrease in the binding of the origin recognition complex. Unexpectedly, replication profiling of this chromosome showed that DNA replication initiates from non-canonical loci around deleted origins in yeast. These results suggest that replication initiation can be unexpectedly flexible in this organism

    Provincial Data-linkage to Address Complex Policy Challenges

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    Introduction The Province of British Columbia, Canada has established a Data Innovation Program (DI Program) and a Data Science Partnerships Program (DSP Program) to use integrated public-sector data to drive insights into complex policy challenges and support the public good. These programs are a part of the province's new Integrated Data. Objectives and Approach The DI Program was built to enable policy decisions based on a more complete picture of the citizen journey across and throughout government programs. It provides a privacy and security framework for corporate data analytics and a cross-government secure research environment. The DSP Program provides analytics and/or project support for high-priority cross-government projects. The opportunity afforded by this approach to policy decision-making is that valuable data and evidence from multiple sectors can be utilized to make positive changes in the lives of citizens. Results The IDO has partnered with cross government experts on a series of pilot projects that used linked data spanning social services, families and households, education, and health and clinical records. Research topics ranged from the prediction of risk of long-term unemployment, to the impact of the foreign home buyers tax, to the effectiveness of labour market programs. Throughout our presentation we will use these projects as case examples to address the benefits and opportunities provided through our citizen-centred, integrated approach. Conclusion/Implications The future of policy decision-making in terms of service delivery relies on mutually beneficial collaboration and the evidence-based insight available through integrated data. Moving forward, it is essential that researchers across government make the most out of integrated population-level data to solve pressing issues affecting the lives of citizens

    A global phylogeny of butterflies reveals their evolutionary history, ancestral hosts and biogeographic origins

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    Butterflies are a diverse and charismatic insect group that are thought to have evolved with plants and dispersed throughout the world in response to key geological events. However, these hypotheses have not been extensively tested because a comprehensive phylogenetic framework and datasets for butterfly larval hosts and global distributions are lacking. We sequenced 391 genes from nearly 2,300 butterfly species, sampled from 90 countries and 28 specimen collections, to reconstruct a new phylogenomic tree of butterflies representing 92% of all genera. Our phylogeny has strong support for nearly all nodes and demonstrates that at least 36 butterfly tribes require reclassification. Divergence time analyses imply an origin similar to 100 million years ago for butterflies and indicate that all but one family were present before the K/Pg extinction event. We aggregated larval host datasets and global distribution records and found that butterflies are likely to have first fed on Fabaceae and originated in what is now the Americas. Soon after the Cretaceous Thermal Maximum, butterflies crossed Beringia and diversified in the Palaeotropics. Our results also reveal that most butterfly species are specialists that feed on only one larval host plant family. However, generalist butterflies that consume two or more plant families usually feed on closely related plants
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