Scientists Push Back Against Booming Genetics Pseudoscience

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Scientists Push Back Against Booming Genetics Pseudoscience

Postby BioWizard on July 15th, 2017, 9:15 am 

http://gizmodo.com/scientists-push-back ... 1796923059

"Montgomery is one of a growing number of scientists pushing back against wild claims in the consumer genetics market, which is flush with tests promising to plumb the secrets of our DNA for answers to everything from what kind of wine we’ll enjoy to what diseases we’re at risk of developing. These tests vary wildly in levels of absurdity. One test that recently earned eye-rolls promises to improve a child’s soccer abilities with a personalized, genetics-based training regimen. In case it’s not clear, there is still no way to decode from DNA the perfect plan to turn your 7-year-old into a soccer star."
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Re: Scientists Push Back Against Booming Genetics Pseudoscie

Postby Athena on July 15th, 2017, 9:22 am 

A neighbor works for a clinic that is doing test to determine what drugs might be best for a person with mental problems. Is that a reasonable test?
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Re: Scientists Push Back Against Booming Genetics Pseudoscie

Postby BioWizard on July 15th, 2017, 9:43 am 

Without more information, it's hard for me to make a reasoned guess.
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Re: Scientists Push Back Against Booming Genetics Pseudoscie

Postby wolfhnd on July 15th, 2017, 10:07 pm 

Another example of excessive expectations from a population that takes flying at thirty thousand feet and talking on the phone for granted. Most people never stop and think about how complex the world around them is.
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Re: Scientists Push Back Against Booming Genetics Pseudoscie

Postby zetreque on July 16th, 2017, 2:37 am 

wolfhnd » Sat Jul 15, 2017 6:07 pm wrote:Another example of excessive expectations from a population that takes flying at thirty thousand feet and talking on the phone for granted. Most people never stop and think about how complex the world around them is.


"I was on an airplane.. at 2 minutes in... Did you partake in the miracle of flight"



Well a lot of this is just lazy suckers thinking in too simple of terms that taking a magic pill can solve their problems. Looking for the cure all.
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Re: Scientists Push Back Against Booming Genetics Pseudoscie

Postby BioWizard on July 16th, 2017, 10:31 am 

Ha, LCK is my favorite standup comedian by far.

I put a lot of blame on the scientists who continued to push this approach after it had failed for a very, very long time. People did some functional genomics in bacteria and yeast and it worked great there. They assumed it would be directly translatable to more complex organisms - which isn't an unreasonable assumption. However, three decades of data should be enough to convince us that it's not directly applicable to human biology - which appears to be too complex to allow this kind of linear correlation analyses. Fortunately, gene association studies are now getting phased out of serious biomedical research, at least as a standalone approach for understanding biological/disease processes. Unfortunately, however, it is moving over to the fringe and becoming a very lucrative business model for morally challenged people. A 21st century high tech snake oil.

I don't know if I would put much/any blame on the consumers yet.
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Re: Scientists Push Back Against Booming Genetics Pseudoscie

Postby wolfhnd on July 16th, 2017, 11:53 am 

I find it hard to believe that my reading and comprehension is better than average. People can read about the science if they would take the time. As to the "scientists" it is hard to drop what you are doing and go in a different direction. The system has momentum. All systems are also at least a little corrupted by the need to find funding.

In the long run improvements in the free press and public education seem more appropriate than some sort of draconian control of markets. There is however a rule for scientists to play as the peer system should not just review research but actively engage in the marketplace of ideas. The internet is a new medium that gives everyone a voice they can use for good or ill. Social censure is an important part of a democracy if used wisely. Open "debate" may seem like more trouble than it is worth but is likely better than the alternatives.
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Re: Scientists Push Back Against Booming Genetics Pseudoscie

Postby Sivad on July 17th, 2017, 1:16 am 

BioWizard » July 16th, 2017, 7:31 am wrote:Ha, LCK is my favorite standup comedian by far.

I put a lot of blame on the scientists who continued to push this approach after it had failed for a very, very long time. People did some functional genomics in bacteria and yeast and it worked great there. They assumed it would be directly translatable to more complex organisms - which isn't an unreasonable assumption. However, three decades of data should be enough to convince us that it's not directly applicable to human biology - which appears to be too complex to allow this kind of linear correlation analyses. Fortunately, gene association studies are now getting phased out of serious biomedical research, at least as a standalone approach for understanding biological/disease processes. Unfortunately, however, it is moving over to the fringe and becoming a very lucrative business model for morally challenged people. A 21st century high tech snake oil.


I'm sort of conflicted on this one, it seems like science is seriously underfunded and there's a big failure to recognize the potential payoff. I commend the integrity of the scientists who are pushing back against the nonsense, but maybe a little bit of hype isn't such a bad thing if it means greater investment in science. If I ruled the world science would be funded to the level of the military-industrial and the MIC would get what we're now giving to science. If we'd been doing that for that last 70 years we'd have fusion reactors, colonies on Mars, and a life expectancy of 120.
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Re: Scientists Push Back Against Booming Genetics Pseudoscie

Postby BioWizard on July 17th, 2017, 6:25 am 

Hype is one thing. False premises/promises is another. Stupidity/stubborness yet another.
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Re: Scientists Push Back Against Booming Genetics Pseudoscie

Postby BioWizard on July 17th, 2017, 6:42 am 

I don't accept scarcity of funding as an excuse for doing sloppy or bad science. If one isn't good enough to compete and do good science, then they should do something else. Don't ruin it for everyone.

Now, I understand that you didn't advocate or excuse sloppy science Sivad. But the line gets fuzzed out quickly if one isn't careful. Maybe funding is scarce and the system is broken and needs reform. But maybe also there's way too many scientists.

And it gets worse when someone sets up a business around their bad science and starts asking for investor and consumer money. That's not going to bode well for public trust in science in the long run. And the huge investment bubble that the genomics craze has created is going to pop at some point and that'll probably hurt private investment in science as well.

This shouldn't take away from the amazing good science that is churning out therapies and biologics faster than ever before in human history. But unless people who know the difference push back against the bad parts, the population at large is likely to treat them all the same. We're not short on people waiting to generalize the tiniest mistake to all of science and scientists and discredit them wholesale.

There should be no conflict here. If the promises these companies are making are baseless, then it's fraud and it's our job as scientists to call it out as such.
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Re: Scientists Push Back Against Booming Genetics Pseudoscie

Postby wolfhnd on July 17th, 2017, 12:58 pm 

BioWizard » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:42 am wrote:I don't accept scarcity of funding as an excuse for doing sloppy or bad science. If one isn't good enough to compete and do good science, then they should do something else. Don't ruin it for everyone.

Now, I understand that you didn't advocate or excuse sloppy science Sivad. But the line gets fuzzed out quickly if one isn't careful. Maybe funding is scarce and the system is broken and needs reform. But maybe also there's way too many scientists.

And it gets worse when someone sets up a business around their bad science and starts asking for investor and consumer money. That's not going to bode well for public trust in science in the long run. And the huge investment bubble that the genomics craze has created is going to pop at some point and that'll probably hurt private investment in science as well.

This shouldn't take away from the amazing good science that is churning out therapies and biologics faster than ever before in human history. But unless people who know the difference push back against the bad parts, the population at large is likely to treat them all the same. We're not short on people waiting to generalize the tiniest mistake to all of science and scientists and discredit them wholesale.

There should be no conflict here. If the promises these companies are making are baseless, then it's fraud and it's our job as scientists to call it out as such.


I agree bio but as the resent housing bubble shows ponzi schemes draw in even the well informed. The education that is needed must address the psychological issues as well as the fact that bad science can be capitalized.
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Re: Scientists Push Back Against Booming Genetics Pseudoscie

Postby zetreque on August 13th, 2017, 10:59 pm 

Please don't shoot the messenger. :D

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http://geneticssummit.com/?idev_id=21767&idev_username=markhymanmd&utm_source=21767

Your host, James Maskell, has gathered world-renowned leaders from genetics, genomics and functional medicine. These pioneering experts are on the front lines interpreting data to create improved health in patients around the globe. It’s time to join the movement to know who you are, and use that information to improve your health!
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