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About Human Germline Gene Editing

by Center for Genetics and Society

Untitled Document

"Human germline gene editing" or "human germline modification" means deliberately changing the genes passed on to children and future generations – in other words, creating genetically modified people. Human germline modification has for many years been widely considered off-limits, for both safety and social reasons. It is formally prohibited in more than 40 countries.

In recent years, the new generation of genetic engineering techniques known as "gene editing" or "genome editing" has prompted speculation about their use in human embryos or gametes. In 2014, rumors intensified about researchers in the US and China working on human embryos with the inexpensive, easy-to-use gene editing tool CRISPR. In April 2015, a research team at Sun Yat-sen University in China published a report of an experiment in which CRISPR was used to edit a gene associated with the blood disease beta- thalassemia in non-viable human embryos. A second experiment was reported in April 2016, with a different research group in China using CRISPR in non-viable human embryos to alter a gene associated with resistance to the HIV virus.

The experiments were largely unsuccessful. But as gene editing tools are refined in labs around the world, they are expected to allow easier, cheaper, and more accurate insertion or deletion of genes than ever before.

This controversy marks a new chapter of a profoundly consequential debate about the future of gene editing in humans. If perfected, somatic gene editing (or "gene therapy") holds promise for helping people who are sick, affecting only an individual consenting patient.

But editing the genes of human embryos in order to create genetically modified people is very different, and raises grave safety, social, and ethical concerns. These range from the prospect of irreversible harms to the health of future children and generations, to concerns about opening the door to new forms of social inequality, discrimination, and conflict, and new era of eugenics.

The following selections provide an overview of the key issues, developments and commentary in 2015–2016.


  1. Key CGS Documents

  2. Notable Developments: 2015 & 2016

  3. Opinion Polls

  4. Key Articles: 2015 & 2016

  5. Center for Genetics and Society Press Releases

  6. Biopolitical Times Blog Posts: 2015 & 2016

Key CGS Documents

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Notable Developments in 2015

March-April – Statements by university-based and industry-based researchers and bioethicists in Nature (March 12, 2015) and Science (April 3, 2015) warn of rumored human germline modification and make recommendations about how to respond, proposing different kinds of moratoria.

April 18 – Researchers from Sun Yat-sen University report editing the genomes of non-viable human embryos in the online journal Protein & Cell.

April 29 – Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, releases Statement on NIH funding of research using gene-editing technologies in human embryos.

May 18 – National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine Announce Initiative on Human Gene Editing. [Initiative homepage

May 26 – White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issues A Note on Genome Editing.

June 16 – U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology's Subcommittee on Research and Technology holds first congressional hearing on genetically engineered human DNA.

September 14 – The U.S. National Academies of Sciences and Medicine announce two international co-hosts for the International Summit on Human Gene Editing in Washington D.C. on December 1–3: The Royal Society (UK) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

October 2 – The International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO updated their Report on the Human Genome recommending a "moratorium on genome editing of the human germline."

December 1-3 – The International Summit on Human Gene Editing co-organized by the US National Academies, the UK Royal Society, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences is held in D.C., attended by some 500 invitees and press. On the last day of the Summit, the organizing committee releases a statement arguing that it would be "irresponsible to proceed" with human germline gene editing in the absence of "broad societal consensus. "

December 18 – The U.S. Federal Omnibus Bill is signed into law by President Barack Obama, with a provision (Sec. 745) barring the FDA from using any funds to consider research applications that involve modifying human embryos [NPR].

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Notable Developments in 2016

Feb. 1 – British fertility regulator HFEA licenses Kathy Niakan at the Francis Crick Institute in London to use CRISPR in leftover human embryos from IVF for basic non-clinical research investigating embryo development and miscarriages [CGS release].

Feb. 9 – James Clapper, Director of U.S. National Intelligence, adds genome editing to the list of "weapons of mass destruction and proliferation, " but notes that germline modification still faces technical limitations (Statement of Record; MIT Technology Review, Nature Ed. Bd.).

Feb. 11 – The US National Academies’ Human Gene Editing Initiative holds the second meeting of its consensus study committee in D.C., focused on patient advocacy groups and public engagement [agenda, Public Meetings videos, livetweets via #GeneEditStudy].

Apr. 8 – Researchers at Guangzhou University in China publish the second report of CRISPR editing nonviable human embryos in an American Society of Reproductive Medicine journal, attempting germline modifications to improve HIV resistance [research].

Apr. 28-29 – The US National Academies’ Human Gene Editing Initiative holds the third meeting of its consensus study committee in Paris, focused on international governance and potential applications [agenda; The Niche report, media coverage of missing disability voices].

May 23 – The head of the UK's Royal Society advocates for human germline engineering.

May 24 – A far-right social campaign in France launches a Stop Bébé OGM campaign, opposing any use of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing in human embryos [CGS coverage].

July 12 – The US National Academies’ Human Gene Editing Initiative holds the fourth meeting of its consensus study committee in D.C., focused on race and genetics, and morality and religion in public policy. [agenda, Livetweets slideshow]

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Opinion Polls

STAT-Harvard poll: Americans say no to ‘designer babies’, Sharon Begley, STAT (February 11th, 2016)
Most Americans oppose using powerful new technology to "alter the genes of unborn babies," according to a new poll, even to prevent serious inherited diseases.

The Public and the Gene-Editing Revolution, Robert J. Blendon, Mary T. Gorski & John M. Benson, New England Journal of Medicine, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1602010 (April 14, 2016)
Analysis of a selection of 17 studies over 30 years leads the authors to argue that a majority of Americans approve of gene editing aimed at preventing one’s children from inheriting certain diseases.

U.S. Public Wary of Biomedical Technologies to 'Enhance' Human Abilities, Cary Funk, Brian Kennedy & Elizabeth Podrebarac Sciupac, Pew Research Center (July 26, 2016)
A new survey suggests Americans are more worried than enthusiastic about using gene editing, brain chip implants and synthetic blood to change human capabilities. Focus groups talked about unequal access and social inequality. An accompanying article discussed the movement pushing for human enhancement.

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Key Articles in 2015

Engineering the Perfect Baby, Antonio Regalado, MIT Technology Review (March 5, 2015)
Scientists are developing ways to edit the DNA of tomorrow’s children. Should they stop before it’s too late?

Don't Edit the Human Germ Line, Edward Lanphier, Fyodor Urnov, Sarah Ehlen Haecker, Michael Werner & Joanna Smolenski, Nature (March 12, 2015)
Heritable human genetic modifications pose serious risks, and the therapeutic benefits are tenuous.

Human Germline Genetic Modification, Lisa Ikemoto and Paul Knoepfler, Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell Blog (March 23, 2015)
"The call for a moratorium" is "a game changer" that creates an opportunity for research transparency and open exchange between the scientific community and the lay public" to discuss our "long, bad history of mis-using human genetic selection" and how germline engineering "can, and probably will, expand the list of conditions and traits considered undesirable."

A Prudent Path Forward for Genomic Engineering and Germline Gene Modification, David Baltimore et. al., Science (April 3, 2015)
Recommendations include discouraging "clinical applications in humans" of germline gene editing "while societal, environmental, and ethical implications of such activity are discussed among scientific and governmental organizations" and encouraging "research to evaluate the efficacy and specificity of CRISPR-Cas9 genome engineering technology in human and nonhuman model systems relevant to its potential applications for germline gene therapy."

Who's Getting Rich Off Your Genes?, Patricia J. Williams, The Nation (April 3, 2015)
The post-war aversion to eugenics — the understanding that despite great variability from one human to another, no one life is worth more than another — has eroded.

Human Genetic Engineering Demands More Than a Moratorium, Sheila Jasanoff, J. Benjamin Hurlbut and Krishanu Saha, The Guardian (April 7, 2015)
Expert calls for a moratorium on germline gene engineering are not a substitute for richer public debate on the ethics and politics of our biotechnological futures.

Genetically Modified Humans? Seven Reasons to Say "No", Center for Genetics and Society (May 2015)
The United States does not currently have any legal prohibitions against the creation of genetically modified humans in place. Here are seven reasons why it is time for that to change.

Eugenics Lurk in the Shadow of CRISPR, Robert Pollack, Science (May 22, 2015)
This opening to germline modification is, simply put, the opening of a return to the agenda of eugenics: the positive selection of "good" versions of the human genome and the weeding out of "bad" versions.

Let’s talk about the ethics of germline modification, Gregor Wolbring, Impact Ethics (May 27, 2015)
We need clarity about where the public discussion should take place, what exactly it should focus on, and who should participate.

The Lessons of Asilomar for Today's Science, Alexander Capron, The New York Times (May 28, 2015)
Attempts to use new gene editing techniques to "improve" our descendants raises profound ethical and social issues, and a group dominated by scientists is too self-interested and unrepresentative to take them on.

Brave New Genome, Eric S. Lander, New England Journal of Medicine (June 3, 2015)
It has been only about a decade since we first read the human genome. We should exercise great caution before we begin to rewrite it.

CRISPR, the Disruptor, Heidi Ledford, Nature News (June 3, 2015)
A powerful gene-editing technology is the biggest game changer to hit biology since PCR. But with its huge potential come pressing concerns. (Includes multiple infographics and visual timelines.)

CRISPR: Science Can't Solve It, Daniel Sarewitz, Nature (June 23, 2015)
The idea that the risks, benefits and ethical challenges of these emerging technologies are something to be decided by experts is wrong- headed, futile and self-defeating. It seriously underestimates the democratic sources of science's vitality and the capacities of democratic deliberation. And it will further delegitimize and politicize science in modern societies.

CRISPR: Move Beyond Differences, Charis Thompson, Nature (June 24, 2015)
When scientific developments throw up difficult choices, scientists, social scientists and others need to stop positioning other people as being for or against science, or for or against ethics. The National Academy should establish working groups to study and document at regular intervals the wide range of phenomena that will shape and be shaped by gene-editing research – from scientific breakthroughs to health disparities and disability justice.

Can We Cure Genetic Diseases Without Slipping Into Eugenics?, Nathaniel Comfort, Nation (July 16, 2015)
CRISPR gene editing could correct genetic mutations for serious illnesses. Will it also create a new eugenics of personal choice? A rich historical examination of eugenics in the United States and the social and political context of this ground-breaking biotechnology.

CRISPR: The Latest Biotech Hype, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Boston Review (August 24, 2015)
What began with an attempt to build a better yogurt now has journalists speculating about Brave New World scenarios, but the bio-hype relies on a false model of genetic determinism.

British scientists seek to edit the genes of embryos; bioethicists warn of potential dangers, Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post (September 18, 2015) [quoting Marcy Darnovsky]
A "troubling and provocative move," the Francis Crick Institute applies to HFEA to proceed with CRISPR research in human germ cells, short-circuiting nascent international conversation.

CRISPR Democracy: Gene Editing and the Need for Inclusive Deliberation, J. Benjamin Hurlbut, Krishanu Saha, Sheila Jasanoff, Issues (September 21, 2015)
CRISPR raises basic questions about the rightful place of science in governing the future in democratic societies; benevolent references to Asilomar as a model for public risk assessment obscure the role that science plays in shaping public understanding of risky behavior.

Where in the world could the first CRISPR baby be born?, Heidi Ledford, Nature News (October 13, 2015)
Nature surveys the legal landscape of 12 countries with well-funded biological research and finds variety of bans on human genome editing in research or reproduction.

After Asilomar, Editorial, Nature News (October 14, 2015)
Scientist-led conferences are no longer the best way to resolve debates on controversial research, and scientists who wish to self-regulate ignore public outcry at their peril.

Better Babies, Nathaniel Comfort, Aeon (November 17, 2015)
The long and peculiar history of the designer human, from Plato’s citizen breeders to Nobel sperm banks, and the latest iteration of human genetic perfectability: CRISPR gene editing.

US scientists urge ban on human genetic modification [cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks], Ryan Rifai, Al Jazeera (November 30, 2015)
A new report and sign-on statement argue that genetic modification of children and future generations could have irreversible effects on humanity.

We Need a Moratorium on Genetically Modifying Humans, Paul Knoepfler, Slate (November 30, 2015)
The technology for potentially creating designer babies has progressed much faster than the deliberation of societal implications and permissible uses.

Genetically engineered children?, Marcy Darnovsky, The Hill (December 1, 2015)
The powerful new gene editing tools now under consideration in D.C. could be used for scientific and medical breakthroughs, or misused to undermine human rights and human equality.

“Editing” Genes: A Case Study About How Language Matters in Bioethics
Meaghan O'Keefe, Sarah Perrault, Jodi Halpern, Lisa Ikemoto, Mark Yarborough & UC North Bioethics Collaboratory for Life & Health Sciences, American Journal of Bioethics (December 2, 2015)
Metaphors used to describe new technologies like CRISPR-Cas9 mediate public understanding of the innovations, and should encompass the ethical complexity, an accurate description, and the known and unknown consequences.

The major concern about a powerful new gene-editing technique that most people don't want to talk about, Tanya Lewis, Business Insider (December 2, 2015)
There's a dark side to manipulating our genetics that few want to discuss: Eugenics, the racist practice of trying to "improve" the human race by controlling genetics and reproduction.

Human gene editing is a social and political matter, not just a scientific one, Marcy Darnovsky, The Guardian (December 4, 2015)
The organizing committee kicked the can down the road, leaving the door open for gene editing for human reproduction.

The Human Germline Genome Editing Debate, Charis Thompson, Impact Ethics (December 4, 2015)
The range of views expressed at the International Summit on Human Gene Editing underscores the need for broader and more inclusive public discussion.

Should We Genetically Modify Our Children?, Jessica Cussins, Kennedy School Review (December 7, 2015)
We need the wisdom of historical, global, and social perspectives to help shape a world that is not merely concerned with what is possible, but also with what is beneficial.

Gene Editing: Hope, Hype, and Caution, Daniel Callahan, The Hastings Center Bioethics Forum (December 8, 2015)
In the debate on germline gene editing, speculative harms are treated as fear mongering while speculative benefits are allowed to run wild.

About Us, Without Us: Inclusion in the Threat of Eradication, Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Impact Ethics (December 8, 2015)
Disability rights advocates are still excluded from conversations (such as the International Summit on Human Gene Editing) that involve the survival of our communities.

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Key Articles in 2016

Creativity Week: Playing God with CRISPR [interview with CGS staffer], Aubrey Sanders, BreakThru Radio (January 16, 2016)
Elliot Hosman discusses one of the most profoundly consequential debates modern science has ever faced.

The Battle Over CRISPR Could Make Or Break Some Biotech Companies [cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky], Farai Chideya, FiveThirtyEight (January 25, 2016)
CRISPR is caught up in public offerings and a patent dispute. If used to "edit" heritable traits, it could lead us into a world of genetic haves and have-nots.

This CRISPR Moment
, Françoise Baylis & Janet Rossant, The Walrus (February 12, 2016)
Editing human DNA the way we edit text—are we ready?

Patients Unsure about the Value of Cutting-Edge Gene-Editing Technology, Dina Fine Maron, Scientific American (February 12, 2016)
Some affected groups are still weighing the potential benefits and threats of deploying such interventions for medical care.

Cautious approach warranted for new gene-editing technique, Paul Knoepfler, The Sacramento Bee (February 13, 2016)
We urgently need a moratorium on using CRISPR technology on future people, and a full public debate while we learn more about its potential positive and negative effects.

Should you edit your children’s genes?, Erika Check Hayden, Nature News (February 23, 2016)
In the fierce debate about CRISPR gene editing, it’s time to give patients a voice.

The Return of Eugenics, Fraser Nelson, The Spectator [UK] (April 2, 2016)
Emerging prenatal genetic screening technologies are creating a "new" eugenics not so ideologically different from that of the past.

CRISPR dispute raises bigger patent issues that we’re not talking about, Shobita Parthasarathy, The Conversation (April 4, 2016)
CRISPR patents will confer enormous control over how the controversial technology develops, and what kinds of human genetic engineering might become commercially available.

Interrogating Equity: A Disability Justice Approach to Genetic Engineering [PDF]
Ruha Benjamin, Issues in Science and Technology (April 2016)
Gene editing techniques are seeded with values and interests—economic as well as social—and without careful examination, they will easily reproduce existing hierarchies, including assumptions about which lives are worth living and which are worth “editing” out of existence.

Will Modern Genetics Turn Us Into Gene “Genies”?, by Marcy Darnovsky, Dan Sarewitz, Samuel Weiss Evans, Arvis Sulovari, Eric A. Widra, Zócalo Public Square (May 24, 2016)
Contributors discuss their stances on the dangers and potential benefits of gene manipulation.

Considering Gene Editing, Jef Akst, The Scientist (July 12, 2016)
"Given the world as we know it, germline genetic enhancement could exacerbate the already obscene gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots.'"  

Pro and Con: Should Gene Editing Be Performed on Human Embryos?, John Harris (Pro); Marcy Darnovsky (Con), National Geographic (July 15, 2016)
Harris: "Research on Gene Editing in Humans Must Continue." Darnovsky: "Do Not Open the Door to Editing Genes in Future Humans."

Breaking Taboo, Swedish Scientist Seeks To Edit DNA Of Healthy Human Embryos, by Rob Stein, NPR Morning Edition (September 22, 2016)
Using CRISPR gene editing on human embryos is a step toward attempts at producing genetically modified humans. It's not a step to be taken lightly.   

Breaking the Wall between Gene Science and Ethics: How Philosophy Can Provide Frameworks for a Global Biotech Revolution, Françoise Baylis, Falling Walls (December 2, 2016)
A talk at Falling Walls, an annual science event in Berlin, reflects on the immense opportunities and threats posed by next-generation biotechnologies.

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Center for Genetics and Society Press Releases

  1. Public Interest Group Calls for Strengthening Global Policies Against Human Germline Modification (April 22, 2015)
    "No researcher has the moral warrant to flout the globally widespread policy agreement against altering the human germline."

  2. NIH Statement on Gene Editing Highlights Need for Stronger US Stance on Genetically Modified Humans, Says Public Interest Group (April 29, 2015)
    CGS welcomes NIH Director Francis Collins' unambiguous statement that "altering the human germline in embryos for clinical purposes … has been viewed almost universally as a line that should not be crossed."

  3. Center for Genetics and Society Comments on White House and National Academies Approaches to Altering the Human Germline (May 27, 2015)
    "The endorsement of a pause by the White House is an important first step."

  4. Center for Genetics and Society Comments on First Application to Pursue Genome Editing in Human Embryos (September 18, 2015)
    "If scientists and the regulatory agency in the UK are serious about responsible use of powerful new gene altering technologies, they won't be rushing ahead in ways that could open the door to genetically modified humans."

  5. Center for Genetics and Society releases open letter and report calling for prohibitions on human germline engineering (November 29, 2015)
    Scholars, health practitioners, scientists, public interest advocates, and others have signed a CGS-organized open letter calling for strengthened prohibitions against heritable human genetic modification.

  6. Center for Genetics and Society Statement on UK Approval of Gene Editing Research Using Human Embryos (February 1, 2016)
    “Is today's decision part of a strategy to overturn the widespread agreement that puts genetically modified humans off limits?”

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Biopolitical Times Blog Posts in 2015


Human Germline Hype Pings around the Globe, Pete Shanks (November 20, 2013)
Crispr gene-editing technology gets a publicity push from a failing British newspaper.

A Tipping Point on Human Germline Modification?, Jessica Cussins (March 19, 2015)
Amidst reports that human embryos have been modified using the gene editing technique CRISPR, several groups of scientists have issued statements proposing moratoria on human germline genome editing.

Incurious about Ethics?, Marcy Darnovsky (April 9, 2015)
An Institute of Medicine committee is studying the "ethical and social policy" implications of germline mitochondrial manipulation. Why do most of its members seem uninterested in social or policy questions.

Calling for "More than a Moratorium" on Human Germline Modification, Jessica Cussins (April 9, 2015)
A broader array of critical responses and policy suggestions follows recent reports that the gene-editing technique CRISPR has been used to genetically modify human sperm, eggs or embryos.

DARPA, Synthetic Biology and Human Germline Engineering, Pete Shanks (April 9, 2015)
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is committed to synthetic biology as one of its four main project areas, and may be involved in human germline experiments.

Stopping or Selling Human Germline Modification?, Pete Shanks (May 7, 2015)
Debate about human germline engineering has taken off since publication of a paper describing failed attempts to genetically modify a human embryo.

Tired Tropes and New Twists in the Debate about Human Germline Modification, Marcy Darnovsky (May 28, 2015)
Techno-enthusiasts now argue that as we think about the human future, we should rule out considering what we might learn from works of literature and film, as well as those aspects of myth, policy and history they don’t like.

Talking About the Germline, Pete Shanks (July 8, 2015)
The debate about heritable human genetic modification continues, with opinions ranging from enthusiasm to dismay, and strong arguments for political as well as scientific involvement.

The Facts Behind #CRISPRfacts and the Hype Behind CRISPR, Jonathan Chernoguz (July 28, 2015)
WIRED's hyped magazine cover story on CRISPR entitled "The Genesis Engine" triggers a wave of tweets and criticism.

Putting Ourselves in Harm's Way: Thoughts on Pinker and the Role of Bioethics, Nathaniel Comfort (guest contributor) (August 12, 2015)
Confronting Steven Pinker and the legacy of biomedicine, ethicists and historians need to "get in harm's way to spare harm to others."

The Rhetorical Two-Step: Steven Pinker, CRISPR, and Disability, George Estreich (guest contributor) (September 4, 2015)
Steven Pinker’s invitation for bioethics to “get out of the way” of the CRISPR revolution typifies a rhetorical pattern: uncritical support for human-focused biotech is paired with a negative view of disability.

Pinker's Damn: A Naive Rejection of Controls Over Genetic Engineering, Stuart Newman (guest contributor) (September 4, 2015)
Steven Pinker's credulous optimism concerning human germline modification ignores a record of complicity by some scientists, and appropriation of the work of others, in abuses by industry and government.

Fast Forward-Pause-Stop: The 3-Speed Human Germline Debate, Lisa C. Ikemoto (guest contributor) (September 10, 2015)
CRISPR’s rapid uptake has spurred proposals from moratoria to get-out-of-the-way optimism, but ad hoc responses aren’t enough when there is so much at stake.

Considering CRISPR: Putting a thumb on the scale?, Pete Shanks (September 24, 2015)
The National Academies have announced the date for their International Summit on Human Gene Editing. Are some of the organizers trying to predetermine the outcome?

CRISPR-Cpf1: Hype by Association, Elliot Hosman (October 2, 2015)
Amid Nobel Prize predictions for CRISPR-Cas9 research, a new CRISPR associated protein takes the media and science community by storm, even as its utility remains unclear.

The CRISPR Germline Debate: Closed to the Public?, Elliot Hosman (October 15, 2015)
Recent CRISPR media coverage focuses on hype rather than engaging the ethical and social implications of the groundbreaking technology—even as many call for the public's inclusion in the genome editing debate.

Gene Editing and Eugenics (Opinions Vary), Pete Shanks (October 29, 2015)
A recent commentary on the UK law allowing clinical use of mitochondrial replacement celebrates it as a benign form of eugenics. Is there such a thing?

Gene Therapy: Comeback? Cost-Prohibitive?, Elliot Hosman (November 19, 2015)
Recent CRISPR news sometimes confuses germline modification - which should be put off limits - and gene therapy, which presents its own set of social and ethical risks to resolve before rushing to market.

CRISPR Gene Editing: Proofreaders and Undo Buttons, but Ever "Safe" Enough?, Elliot Hosman (November 19, 2015)
Recent research suggests that CRISPR gene editing has putative spellcheck and undo functions, but a number of stakeholders are cautious about a future filled with GM humans.

Weak Arguments For Modifying the Human Germline, Pete Shanks (December 10, 2015)
At the International Summit on Human Gene Editing, philosopher John Harris engaged in tired and absurd attempts to justify engineering future humans.

Livetweeting #GeneEditSummit: Democratized Debate or Segregated Conversations?, Elliot Hosman (December 10, 2015)
Though #GeneEditSummit was trending on Twitter, inclusive public debate must be more robust than the livetweeting of insular stakeholder meetings.

Stem Cell Researcher to Reddit: "Ask Me Anything" on Human Genetic Modification, Elliot Hosman (December 10, 2015)
UC Davis researcher Paul Knoepfler fielded 100s of questions on the social and technical implications of genetically modifying human cells.

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Biopolitical Times Blog Posts in 2016

False Inevitabilities and Irrational Exuberance, Gina Maranto (January 8, 2016)
In the aftermath on December’s gene editing summit, disquieting themes have emerged in some mainstream media and science blogs.

The Third Rail of the CRISPR Moonshot: Minding the Germline, Elliot Hosman (January 13, 2016)
Millions of dollars are flowing to biotech companies developing gene-editing therapies. Fortunately, most are publicly denouncing germline applications.

Who's Looking to Profit from Human Germline Changes?, Pete Shanks (January 28, 2016)
Billionaire Randal Kirk has assembled the components to commercialize heritable human genetic modification.

California’s Stem Cell Agency Considers “Editing” Human Embryos, Marcy Darnovsky (February 9, 2016)
Three takeaway points from CIRM’s recent meeting on human gene editing.

CRISPR Eugenics in The X Files, Elliot Hosman (March 10, 2016)
In the comeback season finale, the show explores the use of human gene editing to combat global warming and overpopulation.

Public Opposes Human Germline “Enhancement” by Overwhelming Majority, Pete Shanks (May 5, 2016)
New polls confirm that the public remains opposed to "enhancement" and is still not convinced about other proposed genetic interventions.

Hacking CRISPR: Patents, Gene Therapy & Embryos, Elliot Hosman (May 5, 2016)
The socially dangerous prospect of using genome editing tools for human reproduction underlies the need for caution in modifying embryos in basic research.

On Cyborgs and Gene Editing: Lessons from Orphan Black, Jessica Cussins (guest contributor) (June 1, 2016)
The television show takes a cue from science fiction author Donna Haraway and engages the dangers of human genetic modification.

Unheard Publics in the Human Genome Editing Policy Debate, Elliot Hosman (June 8, 2016)
The socially dangerous prospect of using genome editing tools for human reproduction underlies the need for caution in modifying embryos in basic research.

Hateful politics infiltrate human genome editing debate in France, Elliot Hosman (June 29, 2016)
New campaign calling for an international moratorium on CRISPR embryos experiments launched by prominent anti-abortion, anti-LGBT French group.

Editorial Precision? Snapshot of CRISPR germline in the news, Hasmik Djoulakian (August 1, 2016)
Five questions about how the media talks about germline editing.

To Err is Biotechnological: Reflections on Pew’s Human Enhancement Survey, Gina Maranto (guest contributor) (August 9, 2016)
Biotechnologies aimed at human enhancement come with a guaranteed set of deficits, inadequacies, inconveniences, and risks.

Will Genetic Engineering Really Change Everything Forever? [Video Review], Elliot Hosman (September 8, 2016)
The hype surrounding CRISPR gene editing and a future of designer babies is on playback with a popular new video. Is its optimism justified? And who decides what’s inevitable?

5 Reasons Why We Need People with Disabilities in the CRISPR Debates, Emily Beitiks, guest contributor (September 8, 2016)
“Why do I have to keep justifying my existence?” How gene editing policy discussions reproduce ableist assumptions and generate advocacy fatigue.

CRISPR Embryos at Karolinska: Controversies Demand Oversight, Elliot Hosman (October 7, 2016)
Ongoing gene editing experiments in human embryos around the world underscore the need to prohibit modifying cells for use in human reproduction.

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