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Clearing Things Up

Informed consent is no longer serving its purpose, and it's creating more confusion than it is clearing up, says Nature News' Erika Check Hayden. For example, when 23andMe announced it had patented a method to predict the risk of Parkinson's disease, many customers were unhappy, saying they didn't remember consenting to that. In fact, Hayden says, that is spelled out in the informed consent form and terms of service 23andMe sends to its customers, but "the example points to a broad problem in research on humans — that informed consent is often not very well informed."

There are, however, some solutions under consideration, Hayden adds. The BioVU databank at Vanderbilt University Medical Center allows patients to opt out of having their data used in research, rather than asking patients for permission to use their data, Hayden says. Other researchers have turned to very broad consent forms that ask for permission to use participants' data in a variety of studies. Yet another solution could be what the US project Consent to Research calls "radical honesty," which allows participants to upload their own data to a variety of researchers, strips their personal information out, and also requires them to go through a rigorous consent process, then allows for the data to be widely distributed, Hayden says.

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.