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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Paw Print Genetics wins patent suit

A federal judge in Minnesota ruled last week that routine genetic testing for dogs, like that for humans, can’t be patented. The ruling was celebrated by Spokane-based Paw Print Genetics, a laboratory that tests for genetic diseases in dogs.

The Rock Doc: Love of coffee might be genetic, research shows

Like millions of Americans, my day starts by plugging in the coffeepot. In my case, it’s an old-fashioned percolator. It clears its throat and brews my coffee while I rub sleep out of my eyes and brush my teeth. My habit of starting my day with coffee – and following that initial cup with doses of java in the mid-morning, the late morning and the early afternoon – may be at least partially grounded in my genes.

‘It was never never’

For many parents, the moments when a child reaches another milestone of development are notable but inevitable. For Michelle and Tim Nagle, those moments were massive. And until they happened – until their daughter Eden finally crawled at 2, walked on her own at 4 1/2 – the Coeur d’Alene parents weren’t sure they would. Whether Eden, now 6, would walk was just one unknown in a world of them after they learned she had a rare genetic condition. To share their joy in their daughter’s progress was one reason Michelle made a video documenting Eden’s milestones. Another was to offer encouragement to other people facing their own hurdles.

Dog DNA testing company settles lawsuit

A Spokane company that provides genetic testing of dogs has settled a lawsuit against a Michigan firm over DNA test services. The suit is one of three filed by Paw Print Genetics, each arguing that tests based on naturally occurring DNA linked to canine diseases cannot be patented and should remain in the public domain.

FDA weighs risks of 3-person embryo fertilization

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health regulators will consider this week whether to green light a provocative new fertilization technique that could eventually create babies from the DNA of three people, with the goal of preventing mothers from passing on debilitating genetic diseases to their children.

Genomics entrepreneur Lisa Shaffer opens DNA center for dogs

Someone starting a canine DNA diagnostic center in Spokane qualifies as news. That the co-founder is Lisa Shaffer makes it even more so. In 2003 Shaffer co-founded the successful Signature Genomics, a DNA diagnostic lab based in Spokane, primarily used by clinicians and doctors for parents addressing early-childhood diseases.

Medical examiner seeks genetic clues to shooter

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s chief medical examiner says he’s seeking genetic clues to help explain why a shooter killed 20 children and six adults in a Newtown elementary school.

Huge DNA code of the Christmas tree being revealed

NEW YORK (AP) — To millions of people, the Christmas tree is a cheerful sight. To scientists who decipher the DNA codes of plants and animals, it's a monster. We're talking about the conifer, the umbrella term for cone-bearing trees like the spruce, fir, pine, cypress and cedar. Apart from their Yuletide popularity, they play big roles in the lumber industry and in healthy forest ecosystems.

Gene-altered mosquitoes could be used vs. dengue

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Mosquito control officials in the Florida Keys are waiting for the federal government to sign off on an experiment that would release hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes to reduce the risk of dengue fever in the tourist town of Key West. If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it would be the first such experiment in the U.S. Some Key West residents worry, though, that not enough research has been done to determine the risks that releasing genetically modified mosquitoes might pose to the Keys' fragile ecosystem.

Fast-growing fish may never wind up on your plate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Salmon that's been genetically modified to grow twice as fast as normal could soon show up on your dinner plate. That is, if the company that makes the fish can stay afloat. After weathering concerns about everything from the safety of humans eating the salmon to their impact on the environment, Aquabounty was poised to become the world's first company to sell fish whose DNA has been altered to speed up growth.

Court to decide if human genes can be patented

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court announced Friday it will decide whether companies can patent human genes, a decision that could reshape medical research in the United States and the fight against diseases like breast and ovarian cancer. The justices' decision will likely resolve an ongoing battle between scientists who believe that genes carrying the secrets of life should not be exploited for commercial gain and companies that argue that a patent is a reward for years of expensive research that moves science forward.

Study: Aspirin may help treat some colon cancers

NEW YORK (AP) — Aspirin, one of the world's oldest and cheapest drugs, has shown remarkable promise in treating colon cancer in people with mutations in a gene that's thought to play a role in the disease. Among patients with the mutations, those who regularly took aspirin lived longer than those who didn't, a major study found. Five years after their cancers were diagnosed, 97 percent of the aspirin users were still alive versus 74 percent of those not taking the drug.

Groups win challenge to gene-altered crops

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge sided on Tuesday with environmental groups that challenged the planting of genetically-modified crops on National Wildlife Refuges in the South. U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg rejected the federal government's argument that the environmental groups' lawsuit was moot because the Fish and Wildlife Service had already agreed to stop the practice after this year.

Voice software helps study of rare Yosemite owls

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — In the bird world, they make endangered condors seem almost commonplace. The unique Great Gray Owls of Yosemite, left to evolve after glacial ice separated them from their plentiful Canadian brethren 30 millennia ago, are both a mystery and concern to the scientists charged with protecting them.

Calif. initiative will test appetite for GMO food

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Calories. Nutrients. Serving size. How about "produced with genetic engineering?" California voters will soon decide whether to require certain raw and processed foods to carry such a label.

Two-day test can spot gene diseases in newborns

WASHINGTON (AP) — Too often, newborns die of genetic diseases before doctors even know what's to blame. Now scientists have found a way to decode those babies' DNA in just days instead of weeks, moving gene-mapping closer to routine medical care. The idea: Combine faster gene-analyzing machinery with new computer software that, at the push of a few buttons, uses a baby's symptoms to zero in on the most suspicious mutations. The hope would be to start treatment earlier, or avoid futile care for lethal illnesses.

New breast cancer clues found in gene analysis

NEW YORK (AP) — Scientists reported Sunday that they have completed a major analysis of the genetics of breast cancer, finding four major classes of the disease. They hope their work will lead to more effective treatments, perhaps with some drugs already in use. The new finding offers hints that one type of breast cancer might be vulnerable to drugs that already work against ovarian cancer.