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Roundtable: Tuite Not Guilty; Genetic Testing Shutdown; Drones Coming To San Diego?

KPBS Roundtable

KPBS Roundtable


Aired 12/6/13


Mark Sauer


Amita Sharma, KPBS News

David Wagner, KPBS News

JW August, 10News


San Diego: America's Drone City?

If the Federal Aviation Administration designates San Diego as one of six U.S. test sites for unmanned aerial systems, or drones, will the region reap an economic bonanza?

Or will it simply give the government a place from which to spy on local citizens?

Later this month, the FAA will decide whether San Diego County will join five other winners in the drone test-site sweepstakes. A public meeting in Julian on the topic Wednesday night was expected to provide at least some answers.

Because of the three major universities located here, as well as tech companies like General Atomics and Northrop Grumman, San Diego may have an advantage over other competitors with an abundance of wide-open spaces, like South Dakota and Wyoming.

Many uses have been developed for drones other than surveillance and waging war, including fighting wildfires and most recently, the potential home delivery of packages.

Genetic Testing Firm Ordered to Stop Selling Kits

San Diegans wanting to know if they or members of their family are at risk for certain diseases and conditions will have to look elsewhere than the Silicon Valley company 23andMe.

After months of trying, the Food and Drug Administration gave up this week and decided it would get no answers from 23andMe and would be unable to test its direct-to-consumer genetic testing products.

Until this week, the company promoted its direct-to-consumers, inexpensive test as a vehicle to provide customers with a detailed genetic history along with a list of predispositions to some conditions. Such claims, which can lead to medical decisions, must be tested and verified by the FDA.

23andMe had ignored the FDA’s repeated inquiries so this month, the federal agency ordered the company to stop selling its $99 “spit kits.” Days later, a San Diego resident, Lisa Casey, filed a class-action lawsuit against the company.

Tuite Found Not Guilty In Retrial

Closing arguments in the retrial of Richard Tuite for the 1998 stabbing death of Stephanie Crowe 15 years ago began on Wednesday. By Friday there was a verdict.

Tuite was convicted of Crowe's murder in 2004. But his arrest and conviction came after the Escondido police had arrested her 15-year-old brother Michael and two of his friends for the crime and interrogated them for many hours over two days. They confessed.

The prosecution, led by the state attorney general’s office, again presented evidence that blood found on Tuite’s clothing was Crowe’s. The defense presented an alternative theory or two about how it got there, and played video of Michael Crowe confessing to the crime. Both Michael Crowe and his parents testified in the retrial.

The fact that a San Diego Superior Court judge declared Michael Crowe and his friends "factually innocent" of the crime — a relatively rare court finding — was not allowed in evidence during Tuite's retrial.

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Avatar for user 'willedchilled'

willedchilled | December 8, 2013 at 6:59 a.m. ― 3 years, 3 months ago

About 23 and Me: Though I can't speak to the aggressive marketing of 23 and Me, I would like to mention that they have also used their service to gather data about diseases. Even when the cost was $400, if you had Parkinson's disease, you could get the test for free, because they were trying to build a database of Parkinson's patients, since no one has really found predisposing genetic factors for Parkinson's, or any links to any particular genes. Of course this would benefit them if they could find such a link, but it would also be useful to the entire scientific community, since Parkinson's treatments are not very effective. The company is uniquely placed to examine connections like this as more and more people submit samples. Yes, would even be more powerful with full genome, but lots of people do the 23 and Me test out of ancestral lineage curiosity, not medical interest, and aren't going to pay more for that.

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