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About Race & Human Biotechnology


Racist ideas and practices have marred the history of science, with low points including the eugenics movement and medical experiments on vulnerable populations. Public awareness and social oversight are needed to ensure that these sorts of occurrences are not repeated.

Today, some geneticists and biomedical researchers are searching for genetic differences between racial groups, raising concerns that these biological variations may be used to justify inequitable outcomes that are created by social, environmental, and economic forces. However well-meaning, this could lead to gross abuse.

Genetic researchers have been particularly interested in indigenous peoples. Their reproductive insularity has led to a genetic homogeneity that can facilitate searches for correlations between specific genes and phenotypic traits. Many indigenous people object to this work for a variety of practical and ethical reasons, including the patenting and commercialization of genetic information, the lack of fully informed consent, the potential for genetic discrimination, and the disproportionate allocation of public funds to genetic research rather than to direct health care and prevention programs.



California needs to do more than apologize to people it sterilizedby The Times editorial boardLos Angeles Times January 21st, 2017State officials should quickly begin tracking down these elderly victims who were abused decades ago while under the state’s care. Time is short to do right by them.
When a Study Cast Doubt on a Heart Pill, the Drug Company Turned to Tom Priceby Robert FaturechiProPublicaJanuary 19th, 2017After hearing from a company whose CEO was a campaign contributor, a congressional aide to Donald Trump’s HHS nominee repeatedly pushed a federal health agency to remove a critical drug study from its website.
CGS Board Member Leads Redress Call for California Survivors of Eugenic Sterilization by Marcy DarnovskyJanuary 16th, 2017Scholars estimate that more than 800 people alive today were sterilized in California state institutions, and call on the state to consider compensation and redress.
Philippine police arrest surrogate mothers-to-be in human trafficking crackdownby Lindsay MurdochSydney Morning HeraldJanuary 4th, 2017International surrogacy agents operate across multiple borders, flying surrogates, eggs, doctors and parents to whichever country is the most porous for their business.
2016 Fear vs Hope: Gene Editing— Terrible turning point?by Pete ShanksDeccan ChronicleJanuary 1st, 2017As the tools for gene editing rapidly advance, we approach our best chance to prevent the rise of a modern, uncontrolled and dangerously ill-considered techno-eugenics.
Will the Alt-Right Promote a New Kind of Racist Genetics?by Sarah ZhangThe AtlanticDecember 29th, 2016The genomic revolution has led to easy sequencing and cheap "ancestry" tests. White nationalists are paying attention.
Lawmakers try to fix a side effect of reducing drug and theft crimes: Not enough DNA samples for cold casesby Jazmine UlloaLos Angeles TimesDecember 22nd, 2016A California bill would expand the state's DNA database, raising serious concerns about privacy and disproportionately targeting blacks and Latinos.
NY senator from LI introduces ‘familial DNA’ legislationby Chau LamNewsdayDecember 9th, 2016Critics of familial DNA searches point to high rates of false positives, invasion of privacy, and racial disparities.
Trump, Science and Social Justiceby Pete ShanksDecember 8th, 2016President-elect Trump's appointments, so far, are frightening to anyone who cares about science, or social, economic and environmental justice.
New ​Chair of ​our ​Diversity ​and​ Health Disparities​ Research Cluster​ on Colorblindness and the Need for a New Biopoliticsby Sara GrossmanHaas Institute, UC BerkeleyDecember 2nd, 2016In a faculty profile interview, CGS Fellow Osagie Obasogie discusses colorblindness and biopolitics.
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