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About Inheritable Genetic Modification


The Basic Science

Frequently Asked Questions

Arguments Pro & Con

3-Person IVF

Inheritable genetic modification (IGM, also called germline engineering) means changing the genes passed on to future generations. The genetic changes would be made in eggs, sperm or early embryos; modified genes would appear not only in the person who developed from that gamete or embryo, but also in all succeeding generations. IGM has not been tried in humans. It would be by far the most consequential type of genetic modification as it would open the door to irreversibly altering the human species.

Proposals for inheritable genetic modification in humans combine techniques involving in vitro fertilization (IVF), gene transfer, stem cells and research cloning.



Human Germline Modification in the UK? Cries of Caution from all Cornersby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 13th, 201475% of submissions about three-person IVF to the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee warn that more evidence is needed prior to offering these techniques.
Combining The DNA Of Three People Raises Ethical Questionsby Rob SteinNPRNovember 10th, 2014It would be the first time genetic changes have been made in human DNA that would be passed on, down the generations, through the germline.
Open Letter to UK Parliament: Avoid Historic Mistake on Rushing Human Genetic Modificationby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogNovember 2nd, 2014There are too many unanswered questions and risks that remain to allow it to proceed at this time. In fact, moving forward with it would most likely be a tragic mistake for the UK.
What Good is a Scientific Meeting If You Dismiss the Science?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2014The Science and Technology Committee of the UK Parliament held an evidence hearing last week to examine the science and proposed regulation of so-called “mitochondrial donation,” or “3-person IVF,” but huge swaths of evidence were widely dismissed.
Minister Sparks Backlash for Suggesting Foreigners Could Undergo 'Three-Parent Babies' IVF Treatment in Britainby Ben Riley-SmithTelegraphOctober 23rd, 2014MPs and peers from across the political divide raised fears the move could create a new front of health tourism, with foreigners coming to the UK to circumvent bans in their home countries.
Bid to Delay ‘Three Parent Babies’ Through IVF as Tests Find Fears Could Suffer Reduced Fertility, Learning Difficulties and even Cancerby Jonathan Petre and Stephen AdamsMail on SundayOctober 4th, 2014Legislation to allow the birth of babies with genes from three biological parents should be put on hold because it is far riskier than previously thought, scientists warn.
The Collapse of a Dangerous Analogy: Or, why mitochondria are much more than batteries by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 29th, 2014Amid a flood of new evidence that mitochondria impact an individual’s traits, the editors at New Scientist have made a “U-turn” on “three-parent babies.” Their new conclusion: “It’s more messy than we thought.”
Three-Parent Babies: It's More Messy Than we Thoughtby EditorialNew ScientistSeptember 18th, 2014It appears that we may have seriously underestimated the influence that mitochondria have. Recent research suggests that they play a key role in some of the most important features of human life.
New Poll Finds Only 18% of British Adults in Support of "3-Person IVF"by Jessica CussinsBiopolitcal TimesSeptember 15th, 2014A newly released poll finds substantial public reluctance to change UK law to allow the genetic modification of future generations.
“Evolution right now is in the marketplace”by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 11th, 2014George Church is as outrageous as ever, while both transhumanist ideas and concerns about increasing inequality are receiving more attention.
A Manifesto for Playing God with Human Evolutionby Carl ElliottNew ScientistSeptember 8th, 2014Fancy living forever, or uploading your mind to the net? The Proactionary Imperative embraces transhumanist dreams, but reminds why we need medical ethics.
Myth Replacement Therapy: MPs Debate the Science of Mitochondriaby Dr Ted MorrowBioNewsSeptember 8th, 2014There are clearly misconceptions about mitochondrial genetics repeated during the debate that are not supported by current scientific evidence.
Editing DNA Could be Genetic Medicine Breakthrough[References CGS]by Stephanie M. LeeSan Francisco ChronicleSeptember 7th, 2014A new way to make powerful changes at will to the DNA of humans, other animals and plants, much like how a writer changes words in a story, could usher in a transformation in genetic medicine.
Body Upgrades may be Nearing Reality, but Only for the Richby Ian SampleThe GuardianSeptember 5th, 2014Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari says expensive human enhancements will lead to a society more unequal than ever.
"3-Person IVF" Debated in UK Parliamentby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 3rd, 2014The debate in Britain over combining eggs or embryos to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial disease received a public airing, though no firm conclusion, in the House of Commons on September 1st.
Britain will be considered a 'rogue state' if it creates GM people, MP warnsPress AssociationSeptember 1st, 2014Allowing mitochondrial replacement therapy to prevent the birth of children with incurable diseases could lead to people being created for 'harvesting their parts'
Medical dilemma of 'three-parent babies': Fertility clinic investigates health of teenagers it helped to be conceived through controversial IVF techniqueby Steve ConnorThe Independent (UK)August 25th, 2014A private fertility clinic in the United States has launched an investigation into the health of 17 teenagers who were born as a result of a controversial IVF technique that produced the world’s first “three-parent” embryos more than 15 years ago.
Should We Open the Door to Genetically Modified Babies?by Jessica CussinsCNBCAugust 11th, 2014There has been a lot of confusion around this controversial issue, but as we are now facing a historic crossroads, it is important to set the record straight.
Huntington Man Deals with Mitochondrial Disease as Preventive Measures Debated[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Kathleen KerrNewsdayAugust 1st, 2014Neither Tiller nor his mother are convinced that high-tech embryos are the best way to attack mitochondrial disease. She asked, "How do you know what might manifest in the long run?"
Scientists Accuse Government of Dishonesty Over GM Babies in its Regulation of new IVF Technique by Steve ConnorThe IndependentJuly 28th, 2014Leading scientists accuse the UK Government of misleading the public by redefining the term "genetic modification."
Failures and Risks in Biosafety Regulationby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 24th, 2014Accidents at CDC and elsewhere point up the difficulties in regulating potentially dangerous releases of genetically modified organisms, which scientists are, quite responsibly, discussing.
Three Person IVF Plans 'Progress' in UKby Smitha MundasadBBCJuly 22nd, 2014"Looking back 15 years from now in the midst of a designer baby marketplace, people will see this as the moment when the crucial ethical line was crossed."
UK Move Toward “3-Person IVF” is Risky and Premature, Says Public Interest Group[Press statement]July 22nd, 2014The UK Department of Health has announced it will press ahead with efforts to gain Parliamentary approval for three-person IVF.
Procedure to Create Babies with Three People's DNA Could be Legalised in April [UK]by Ian SampleThe Guardian July 22nd, 2014The Department of Health will press ahead with regulations on mitochondrial transfer after public consultation, but several hurdles remain.
Safety Concerns Remain Over Three-Person IVFby Ted MorrowThe GuardianJuly 22nd, 2014There is a lack of data from species more closely related to humans – a gap in our knowledge that would be wise to fill before proceeding to clinical trials.
A Paragraph in Slow Motion: Three-Person IVF in The New York Timesby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJuly 10th, 2014A close look at the rhetoric used to justify experimental technologies, and particularly at the way reasonable objections are dismissed.
Mom's Environment During Pregnancy can Affect her Grandchildrenby Jocelyn KaiserScienceJuly 10th, 2014The finding offers some of the strongest evidence yet that a mother’s environment during pregnancy can alter the expression of DNA in ways that are passed on to future generations.
We're Already Designing Babies[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Olga KhazanThe AtlanticJuly 3rd, 2014Even today, parents are selecting for the traits they want in their offspring. But how far should the genetic tailoring go?
Should We Design Our Babies? [VIDEO] [With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]The Aspen InstituteJuly 2nd, 2014At the Aspen Ideas Festival, Marcy Darnovsky and Nita A. Farahany discuss the possibility and implications of "designer babies."
The Brave New World of Three-Parent I.V.F.[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Kim TingleyNew York Times MagazineJune 27th, 2014The historic nature of the moment has turned the technique into a symbol, a red line separating humanity from a dystopian or progressive future, depending on how you look at it.
Seralini Republished: Roundup-Ready GMO Maize Causes Serious Health Damageby Oliver TickellThe EcologistJune 25th, 2014A scientific study has been republished following its controversial retraction under strong commercial pressure.
Selling the Next False Hope? How Experimental IVF Techniques Could be Legalized Despite Increasing Evidence of Potential Harmby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 24th, 2014Contrary to official reports, new evidence shows that “3-person IVF” could pose serious risks to women and children. So why are we being told that it’s a “not unsafe” option?
Three Parents and a Baby - Scientists Advise Caution with Regard to Artificial Insemination MethodHealth CanalJune 18th, 2014One mitochondrial type may be able to assert itself against the other. If the assertive one happens to carry the defective mtDNA, the benefit of the therapy would be jeopardized.
Should Three People be Allowed to Make a Baby?by Arielle Duhaime-RossVergeJune 12th, 2014Researchers might soon make a child with three genetic parents, but the ethics of "designer babies" haven't been worked out.
On the New Alphabet of Lifeby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJune 6th, 2014On metaphors, stories, and synthetic nucleotides: rewriting the code of life.
"Three-Person IVF" Update Reveals How Little We Knowby Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostJune 5th, 2014The UK fertility regulator has been saying the techniques are "not unsafe" for three years now. This should not be interpreted to mean that they are in fact safe.
"3-Person IVF” Update Reveals How Little We Knowby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 5th, 2014A new report on the safety and efficacy of three-person IVF confirms that it would be dangerous and misguided to allow these techniques into UK fertility clinics anytime soon.
Making Embryos from 3 People Doesn't Look Unsafe[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Maria ChengAssociated PressJune 3rd, 2014Britain's fertility regulator called for further experiments before patients are treated. If approved, Britain would become the first country in the world to allow embryos to be genetically modified this way.
Is the UK Being Too Hasty Over Three-Parent Babies?by Marcy Darnovsky and Donna DickensonNew ScientistJune 3rd, 2014The rush to permit controversial "three-person embryo" methods raises serious questions.
UK Agency’s Update on “Three-Person IVF” Leaves Safety Questions Unresolved [Press statement]June 3rd, 2014Parliamentary Vote Would be Premature, Says Public Interest Group
Making Babiesby Alexis C. MadrigalThe AtlanticMay 21st, 2014Some guesses about how the future may change what’s involved in making a person—from the ease of getting pregnant, to the mechanics of procreation, to our very definition of family.
RADIO: Mothers for a Human Future[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Dr. Gordon AtherleyVoiceAmericaMay 19th, 2014Enola Aird and Marcy Darnovsky discuss the ways in which human genetic engineering and assisted reproductive technologies are developing.
Will the UK Disrupt the Global Consensus against Human Germline Modifications?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMay 14th, 2014What might be the short and long-term effects on global policy if the UK allows the creation of embryos with permanently altered genetic makeup?
Their Foremothers’ Daughters[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Helen ChernikoffThe Jewish WeekMay 7th, 2014Jewish culture tends to appreciate scientific fervor, but a small group of American Jews are sounding a warning about the risks that can come with assisted reproductive technologies.
Fertility Guru's IVF warning: Rich Could Pay to Have Brighter Babiesby Mario Ledwith and Fiona MacraeDaily MailMay 5th, 2014Breakthroughs in IVF could "threaten our humanity" by prompting parents to demand designer babies, warns fertility pioneer Lord Robert Winston.
Beyond-DNA Dayby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 25th, 2014With a patent now issued for CRISPR genome-editing technology, and the first gene therapy approved by the FDA, this DNA Day will be remembered not for increased understanding of the human genome, but for increased attempts to change it.
Bracing For A Battle, Vermont Passes GMO Labeling Billby Eliza Barclay and Jeremy BernfeldNPRApril 24th, 2014The Green Mountain State is poised to become the first to require food companies to label products containing genetically modified ingredients.
Advocates for Children and Childhood Mobilizing on Concerns about GM Babiesby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesApril 17th, 2014Concern about "three-person embryo" techniques is growing among advocates for children and childhood.
Doctors Weigh in on So-Called "Designer Babies" Debateby Erin BillupsTime Warner Cable NewsApril 16th, 2014Should scientists be allowed to alter the mitochondria in a mother's egg to produce a healthy baby? NYU Langone Fertility specialist Dr. David Keefe, who helped pioneer the technique, says there are still many lingering questions.
Stocking the Genetic Supermarket: Reproductive Genetic Technologies and Collective Action Problemsby Chris Gyngell and Thomas DouglasWiley Online LibraryApril 10th, 2014Reproductive genetic technologies targeting non-medical traits could lead to collective action problems. Does this risk justify state intervention in the genetic supermarket?
Embryo Screening and the Ethics of Human Genetic Engineering[Quotes CGS's Richard Hayes]by Leslie A. PrayIndian DefenceApril 8th, 2014In April 2008, Ronald M. Green published his case in support of the genetic engineering of embryos; Richard Hayes rebutted, warning of a "neo-eugenic future" and "the danger of genetic misuse."
Editorial: Genome editing for allNature BiotechnologyApril 8th, 2014CRISPR-Cas is about to transform how we interrogate genetic variants and model disease.
Texas High School’s “Issues Day” Takes on Human Genetic Engineeringby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 26th, 2014A private San Antonio high school, Saint Mary’s Hall, holds an annual “Issues Day.” The topic this year, chosen by a committee of the junior class, was human genetic engineering.
Slowing the Rush to Genetically Modified Babiesby Enola AirdMomsRisingMarch 22nd, 2014The United Kingdom is moving closer to allowing scientists to create genetically modified children – something no country in the world currently authorizes.
Letter to HFEA: Consider the Risks of “Mitochondrial Manipulation” Discussed by the FDA by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMarch 21st, 2014A letter signed by 53 prominent scholars and advocates has been sent to the UK agency considering clinical trials of so-called "mitochondrial manipulation."
Chinese Billionaire Funding CRISPR Research at University of Californiaby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMarch 19th, 2014Li Ka-shing funds a new institute devoted to genomic editing and company development, as questions are raised about the distortions charitable donations cause to research funding.
Majority of UK Women Oppose Legalizing the Creation of "3-Person Embryos"by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 19th, 2014A just-completed poll has found that the UK public is deeply conflicted about the government's move to legalize the creation of "3-person embryos."
Can You Pass the (Deoxyribonucleic) Acid Test?[with CGS's Pete Shanks]Center for Environmental HealthMarch 17th, 2014Discussion with Kira Peikoff, Dr. David Ng, Dr. Stuart Newman, and Pete Shanks on 23andMe, direct-to-consumer genetic testing, epigenetics, and GMO humans.
His Fertility Advance Draws Ire: Shoukhrat Mitalipov’s Mitochrondrial Manipulations[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Sabrina TeverniseNew York TimesMarch 15th, 2014To Shoukhrat Mitalipov, the mysterious power producers inside every human cell are a lifelong obsession.
Stirring the Simmering “Designer Baby” Potby Thomas H. MurrayScienceMarch 14th, 2014Good ethics begins with good facts, but the effort by the FDA to get the facts straight is just the beginning of the conversation we must have on the wisdom of new reproductive technologies.
New Polling Raises Public Safety Concerns About Three Parent Children Proposalsby Press ReleaseCareMarch 13th, 2014A new opinion poll supports the concern that the Government is rushing ahead with its plans to allow the creation of 3-parent children without public support or the necessary safety tests.
What We Know About Three-Parent In Vitro Fertilizationby Jessica CussinsRH Reality CheckMarch 13th, 2014The creation of genetically manipulated babies would be a huge and dangerous step. So, what's the evidence about efficacy and safety, and what are the available alternatives?
Consider Ethical Questions of 'Designer Babies' by Elizabeth M. MeadeThe Morning CallMarch 10th, 2014The leap from selecting out diseases to selecting out traits you would not want your child to have is very small indeed.
Three-Parent Babies and Eugenicsby Nathaniel ComfortGenotopiaMarch 6th, 2014The “three-parent baby” is most certainly genetic engineering — it just modifies “cassettes” of genes, if you will, rather than tweaking single genes or nucleotides. It is exactly as eugenic as going through conventional IVF and selecting the traits you want in your offspring.
UK Opens Public Consultation on Draft Regulations to Permit “Three-Person Embryos”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 6th, 2014The UK Department of Health has released draft regulations and begun a three-month public consultation for what it terms “mitochondrial donation.”
Litany of Unknowns Surface at FDA Meeting on Germline Mitochondrial Techniquesby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 6th, 2014An FDA committee held a historic public meeting last week to discuss the scientific, technologic, and clinical issues related to experimental procedures that would alter the human germline.
Human Longevity, Inc.by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMarch 6th, 2014Craig Venter's new genomics company may face some stiff competition.
Reproduction 3.0by Leah RamseyBerman Institute Bioethics BulletinMarch 4th, 2014"We’re not treating humans. We’re creating humans. There’s not a model for that,” Jeffrey Kahn told Science magazine.
The Commercialization of Human Eggs in Mitochondrial Replacement Researchby Donna L. DickensonThe New Bioethics, Vol. 19, No. 1There has been a renewed campaign to legalize payment for eggs in research, although the actual scientific advances are at best modest.
U.K. Government Proposes Rules to Allow 'Three-Parent Embryos'by Gretchen VogelScience InsiderFebruary 27th, 2014The U.K. government issued proposed regulations that would allow researchers to try a new and controversial technique that would result in a form of genetic alteration that could be passed on to future generations.
FDA Weighs Unknowns of 3-Person Embryo Fertilization[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Matthew PerroneAssociated PressFebruary 26th, 2014Genetic experts cautioned that it could take decades to confirm the safety of an experimental technique, meant to prevent children from inheriting debilitating diseases, that would create babies from the DNA of three people.
Why the FDA should not green-light 3-parent reproduction[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogFebruary 26th, 2014The FDA meeting is a great form for this discussion, although it leaves off the ethical and societal issues. Ultimately I hope the FDA says “no” to the technology. Humanity just isn’t ready and the risks are too great.
The New Science Of Three-Parent Babies[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Tom AshbrookNPR On PointFebruary 26th, 2014Mixing DNA from three people to produce one healthy baby. We’ll look at the controversial world of mitochondrial manipulation therapies to avoid inherited disease.
Genetically Modified Babiesby Marcy DarnovskyThe New York TimesFebruary 23rd, 2014An advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration is set to consider radical biological procedures that, if successful, would produce genetically modified human beings. This is a dangerous step.
FDA Asked to Approve Creation of Genetically Modified Childrenby Stuart A. NewmanHuffington PostFebruary 20th, 2014The creation of "three-parent babies" has been touted as a relatively trivial tweaking of the reproductive process to enable women with compromised eggs to become genetic mothers of unaffected children. These claims of high impact health benefits from a low-risk procedure cannot be squared with scientific reality.
FDA Should Preserve International Consensus against Human Germline Modifications[Press statement]February 19th, 2014The US Food and Drug Administration will hold a public meeting to discuss “oocyte modification in assisted reproduction for the prevention of transmission of mitochondrial disease.”
Letter Signed by Hundreds Sent to the FDA: Preserve the global consensus against human germline modificationby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesFebruary 19th, 2014A sign-on letter prepared by the Center for Genetics and Society and the International Center for Technology Assessment has been sent to the FDA in anticipation of next week's discussion of a form of human germline modification.
FDA to Study “Three-Parent Embryos”[Quotes CGS]by Michael CookBioEdgeFebruary 16th, 2014On February 25 and 26 the US Food and Drug Administration will discuss a technique that is a form of human germline modification.
Rewriting the Human Genomeby Susan YoungMIT Technology ReviewFebruary 12th, 2014CRISPR could make gene therapies more broadly applicable, but, according to George Church, some scientists will be tempted to use it to engineer embryos during in vitro fertilization.
Questions Relating to 'Mitochondrial Replacement'by Calum MacKellarBioNewsFebruary 10th, 2014The term 'mitochondrial replacement' misrepresents reality while making it difficult for the general public to make an informed decision about the procedures and the grave ethical difficulties they raise for both individuals and the whole of society.
Let’s Keep the Door to Biotechnological Eugenics Closed by Enola AirdMomsRisingFebruary 10th, 2014The Food and Drug Administration will hold a public meeting this month to discuss oocyte modification and "three-parent babies." Here are three reasons to forego this kind of experimentation.
IngeniousThe EconomistFebruary 8th, 2014It sounds like science fiction, but gene therapy — introducing copies of healthy genes into people who lack them, to treat disease — is looking as if it may become science fact.
First Transgenic Monkeys Born Via “Precision Gene Editing”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesFebruary 6th, 2014Chinese scientists announced the birth of the first primates created with a precision gene modification technique, raising both hopes about new insights into human diseases and concerns about new attempts at human inheritable genetic engineering.
Americans Still Oppose "Playing God" with Geneticsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesFebruary 6th, 2014Public disapproval of inheritable genetic modification and attempts to revive extinct species is as strong as ever.
Sign-on Letter to the FDA about Mitochondrial TransferAdd your name to the call for the FDA not to allow a biologically radical procedure that would combine genetic material from three people and result in inheritable genetic modification.
CGS Summary of Public Opinion Pollsby CGS StaffFebruary 4th, 2014This page offers comparisons of survey results for three technologies: reproductive cloning, research cloning, and inheritable genetic modification.
First Monkeys with Customized Mutations Bornby Helen ShenNatureJanuary 30th, 2014Researchers in China report the first monkeys engineered with targeted mutations using the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system.
The Era Of Genetically-Altered Humans Could Begin This Yearby David DiSalvoForbesJanuary 26th, 2014By the middle of 2014, the prospect of altering DNA to produce a genetically-modified human could move from science fiction to science reality.
Building the Better Babyby Craig KlugmanBioethics.netJanuary 21st, 2014BGI, the Chinese company, is hoping that it will soon be able to offer parents an option like that in GATTACA — choosing the “smartest” embryo.
CGS Letter to the FDA on Mitochondrial TransferThe Center for Genetics and Society's letter regarding the FDA's February 25-26 public meeting to discuss the advisability of a technique that would modify the human germline.
There’s a Gene for Thatby Pankaj MehtaJacobinJanuary 18th, 2014History is littered with horrifying examples of the misuse of evolutionary theory to justify power and inequality. Welcome to a new age of biological determinism.
DNA Dreamingby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 13th, 2014A new documentary looks at the Chinese company that styles itself "the world’s largest genomics organization,” and its hunt for the genetic basis of intelligence.
Gene doping: Sport's biggest battle? by Tim FranksBBC NewsJanuary 11th, 2014Gene doping may already be happening, but testing authorities are reluctant to discuss the specifics, and some researchers see ethical issues in withholding treatments.
Should Persons Affected by Mitochondrial Disorders Not be Brought Into Existence?by Professor Calum MacKellarBioNewsJanuary 6th, 2014What is being proposed is not a form of therapy in which a person is being treated or cured for a disorder. Instead, it is making sure that certain persons are not brought into existence.
FDA Meeting on Mitochondrial Replacement Rescheduledby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 3rd, 2014The FDA public meeting to discuss “oocyte modification in assisted reproduction” that was postponed due to the government shutdown in October has now been rescheduled for February 25-26.
Biopolitical News of the Year 2013by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 19th, 2013For better and worse, 2013 has been a year in which several related issues familiar to those who follow human biotechnology moved into the wider sphere of public discussion.
New Ways to Engineer the Germlineby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesDecember 18th, 2013A look at a number of emerging techniques that could compromise the international consensus against human inheritable genetic modification.
The Three-Parent Dilemma by Enola AirdMomsRisingDecember 17th, 2013The United Kingdom is on the verge of permitting scientists to move forward with a procedure that would alter the human germline. Mothers everywhere should be deeply concerned.
Three Biological Parents and a Babyby Karen WeintraubThe New York TimesDecember 16th, 2013“This crosses a line drawn by many scientists and bioethicists at altering the genetic profile of unborn children,” an F.D.A. panel wrote.
The Shadow Genome: Why DNA Isn't Destinyby Russell BrandomThe VergeDecember 13th, 2013The finding of how a mother’s weight-loss surgery could affect her child’s risk of obesity is part of a raft of studies looking at the phenomenon of epigenetic inheritance.
Epigenetics: From Heresy to Fact? by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesDecember 5th, 2013A just-published paper suggests that learned fears can be inherited through multiple generations and adds fuel to the fire of the controversial debate over transgenerational behavioral epigenetics.
Crispr Goes Commercial by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 5th, 2013A new company, Editas Medicine, has been founded by the scientists who developed Crispr gene-editing technology, with backing from several major venture capital funds.
Designer Sperm Passes Selected Genes to Future GenerationsGenetic Engineering and Biotechnology NewsDecember 3rd, 2013UK scientists have found a way to insert new genetic material into mouse spermatozoa so that it remains functional after passing through at least three generations.
Fearful Memories Haunt Mouse Descendantsby Ewen CallawayNatureDecember 1st, 2013A provocative study of mice reports that the genetic imprint from traumatic experiences carries through at least two generations.
Are Three Parents One Too Many?[Quotes CGS]by Stephen L. CarterBloombergNovember 27th, 2013The U.K. may soon approve a regulatory proposal that would allow scientists to create a human embryo using the DNA of three individuals. What’s striking is how the many opponents span the political spectrum.
AquaBounty Facing Environmental Complaint in PanamaThe GuardianNovember 23rd, 2013A company creating GM salmon with the hopes of selling it for human consumption in the U.S. is facing a complaint in Panama alleging that it is in breach of the country’s environmental regulations.
Company Patenting Tech for Designing Babies[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by John FowlerKTVUNovember 20th, 2013Biotechnology may give parents unprecedented choices. Fertility clinics already use pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to select traits for some in-vitro babies, but intentional manipulation might create ethical nightmares.
The Mixed Legacy of the UK’s Departing Fertility Regulatorby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 20th, 2013The departing chair of the UK agency that regulates fertility treatments is criticizing aspects of the fertility industry, but still champions a form of inheritable human genetic modification.
Human Germline Hype Pings around the Globeby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesNovember 20th, 2013Crispr gene-editing technology gets a publicity push from a failing British newspaper.
Philanthropy's Original Sinby William A. SchambraThe New AtlantisNovember 15th, 2013For all of philanthropy's wonderful qualities, it's important to understand that the first American foundations were deeply immersed in eugenics — the effort to promote the reproduction of the “fit” and to suppress the reproduction of the “unfit.”
Designing Childrenby Jonathan WebberGenomics Law ReportNovember 12th, 2013Some degree of mastery over the genetic future of the human species seems to be a possibility. For whom and for what does this technology exist?
Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New Worldsby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 7th, 2013A public symposium held on November 1 at San Francisco State University provided a rare and important opportunity to engage with the historical and ongoing implications of eugenic ideologies and practices for people with disabilities.
'The More we Looked Into the Mystery of Crispr, the More Interesting it Seemed' by Steve ConnorThe IndependentNovember 6th, 2013An enzyme that is capable of cutting both strands of a DNA double helix at precisely the point dictated by a “programmable” RNA sequence may have huge - and controversial - implications for genetic engineering capabilities.
Are We Too Close to Making Gattaca a Reality?by Ferris JabrScientific AmericanOctober 28th, 2013An era of market-based eugenics would exterminate any lingering notions of meritocracy. But that could never happen this side of the silver screen, right?
A Former IVF Baby on "Three-Parent IVF"by Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostOctober 24th, 2013Mitochondrial replacement raises one of the thorniest questions humanity will ever face: are we willing to genetically modify future generations of humans?
FDA Meeting on Germline Mitochondrial Replacement Postponedby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesOctober 22nd, 2013The FDA public meeting to discuss a form of human inheritable genetic modification has been postponed because of the aftermath of the government shutdown; now there is more time to spread the word and get involved.
Regulators Weigh Benefits of ‘Three-Parent’ Fertilization[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Erika Check HaydenNatureOctober 15th, 2013Scientists and other critics say mitochondrial replacement carries safety and ethical concerns.
Genes Outside Nucleus Have Disproportionate EffectScience DailyOctober 12th, 2013New research shows that DNA located outside the nucleus has a disproportionately large effect on a cell's metabolism, which could complicate mitochondrial replacement treatments currently under consideration.
Update: The FDA and the Human Germlineby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 10th, 2013The FDA's scheduled October 22–23 meeting to discuss germline mitochondrial replacement is attracting attention from the media and elsewhere.
Proposed Treatment To Fix Genetic Diseases Raises Ethical Issues[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPROctober 9th, 2013The FDA will consider whether to allow scientists to take a controversial step: make changes in some of the genetic material in a woman's egg that would be passed down through generations.
The Arlene Bynon Show[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Arlene BynonThe Arlene Bynon ShowOctober 7th, 2013Marcy Darnovsky discusses 23andMe's recent "designer baby" patent with on a national affairs program broadcast on SiriusXM.
My Problem with "Taboo" Behavioral Genetics? The Science Stinks!by John HorganScientific AmericanOctober 4th, 2013Last spring, I kicked up a kerfuffle by proposing that research on race and intelligence, given its potential for exacerbating discrimination, should be banned. Now Nature has expanded this debate with "Taboo Genetics."
Three parent babies 'incompatible with human dignity'by Nick CollinsThe Telegraph [UK]October 4th, 2013A group of 34 European politicians has signed a declaration attacking plans that would make the UK the first country in the world to permit the technique.
Center for Genetics and Society Calls on 23andMe to Disavow “Designer Babies”: Controversial New Patent Raises Critical Questions [Press statement]October 2nd, 201323andMe's new patent is an irresponsible step that amounts to shopping for designer donors in an effort to produce designer babies.
3-Person IVFLearn more about controversial research on "3-person IVF": how it works, where the research is taking place, the social and ethical implications, and how you can get involved in the discussion.
Scientists Warn Against “Three-Parent IVF” Experimentby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 25th, 2013Three evolutionary biologists enumerate a number of scientific studies and methodological shortcomings that have been overlooked in the debate on mitochondrial replacement. Their study has elicited numerous defensive responses, despite bringing important details to bear.
On Designer Babiesby Sheldon KrimskyTufts Medicine, Summer 2013It is unimaginable that any humane society would permit a human trial of genetic modification where the potential risks so outweigh the social benefits.
At the End of the Slippery Slope: Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogyby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 24th, 2013Atwood says her trilogy "invents nothing we haven’t already invented or started to invent" — suggesting that though her work is fiction and not a tract, she also intends to do far more than entertain.
Controversial IVF Therapy Could Turn Families into Experiments, Scientists Warnby John RossThe AustralianSeptember 20th, 2013Scientists have called for time-out on an experimental therapy which could produce babies with three biological parents.
CGS Letter to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of EuropeSeptember 20th, 2013Regarding the UK's possible approval of "mitochondria replacement," techniques that constitute human inheritable genetic modification.
FDA to Hold First Public Hearing on GM Babies[Quotes CGS's Richard Hayes and Jessica Cussins]by Rady AnandaActivist PostSeptember 16th, 2013Next month, the US Food and Drug Administration will hold a two-day public meeting to discuss genetic modification within the human egg, changes which will be passed on generationally.
Ethical Minefield of Parents in Controlby Neil McMahonThe Sydney Morning HeraldSeptember 14th, 2013Designer babies - their gender, personality traits and skin color chosen by genetic testing - are a looming reality. But are we ready to confront this minefield of ethics?
Designer Babies[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Stephanie RobinsonBlog Talk RadioSeptember 12th, 2013This week's Roundtable with Stephanie Robinson takes on science, the field of genetics, and the current dilemma regarding its ethics and limitations.
FDA to Hold Public Meeting about a Form of Human Germline Modificationby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 12th, 2013Next month, for the first time in its history, the FDA will hold a public meeting about techniques that would result in human germline modification. Do you want a say?
Edge of the Map: An Experiment in Science and in Theaterby Alice WexlerUCLA Center for the Study of WomenAugust 6th, 2013A group of Harvard students created a theater piece called Edge of the Map, a collage based on real-life and invented scenarios involving ethical and social dilemmas in genetics.
Made With Loveby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJuly 22nd, 2013The first baby has been born following “next generation genetic sequencing” of IVF embryos. What are the implications?
The Ethics of Three-Genetic-Parent Embryos[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Margaret SomervilleOttawa CitizenJuly 17th, 2013The human germline must be held on trust as the common heritage of humankind, no matter how much good we believe we could do by altering it.
Designer Babies are on the Horizon but Aren't Here Yet by EditorialNew ScientistJuly 10th, 2013IVF is inexorably opening the door to a future where parents can choose desirable traits in their children.
'Designer Babies': The Ultimate Privileged Elite?by Heather LongGuardianJuly 9th, 2013A US baby born via IVF and genetically screened could open the door to wealthy parents selecting for ideal traits in their kids.
Eight Misconceptions about “Three-Parent Babies”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJuly 9th, 2013Amid the talk about “mitochondria replacement” or “three-parent babies," here are the top misconceptions proliferating about the efficacy, safety, public support, and societal implications.
A Slippery Slope to Human Germline Modificationby Marcy DarnovskyNatureJuly 9th, 2013The United Kingdom’s decision to trial the technique of mitochondrial replacement is premature and ill-conceived.
Expert Panel Debates the Manipulation of Human Genetics[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]CCTV AmericaJune 30th, 2013Anchor Elaine Reyes moderates a discussion between Marcy Darnovsky, Executive Director at the Center for Genetics and Society, and David King, Director at Human Genetics Alert, on the manipulation of human genetics.
Three Person IVFby Paula BoddingtonPractical EthicsJune 29th, 2013Unfortunately, this debate, like so many others in announcements of developing science and technology related to health in general and genetics in particular, is marred by hype and by urgency.
Three Parents? Sorry, But This is Science Gone Madby Melanie McDonaghTelegraphJune 29th, 2013We are ignoring the ethical implications of genetic interference in human babies.
Three Parent Baby[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]KPIX HealthWatchJune 27th, 2013Mitochondrial replacement would create "three parent babies," and could be attempted in humans soon, but carries risks to the child and broad societal consequences.
Public Interest Group Urges UK Government Not to Break International Consensus Against Inheritable Genetic Modification[Press statement]June 27th, 2013That the UK may move toward permitting mitochondrial replacement is particularly disturbing when the safety is very much in doubt, when its usefulness is dubious, and when the claim of public support is highly misleading at best.
Lieber Adoptierenby Marcy DarnovskyThe EuropeanJune 26th, 2013Die Keimbahntherapie weckt falsche Hoffnungen. Den Nutzen, den sie für eine winzige Minderheit bedeuten könnte, wiege das hohe Risiko keineswegs auf.
Watch and Listen: Two Conversations about the Dangers of Genetically Modified Humans Biopolical TimesJune 12th, 2013At a live event and in a radio interview, developmental biologist Stuart Newman discusses what's wrong with proposals for inheritable human genetic modification.
Infertility Due to Old Eggs? An Anti-Aging Pioneer Ponders Solutionsby Melissa HealyLos Angeles TimesJune 5th, 2013Scientists draw on advances across many fields to propose a way to rejuvenate aging human eggs using a woman's own ovarian stem cells.
How are Humans Going to Become Extinct?by Sean CoughlanBBC NewsApril 25th, 2013Experiments in areas such as synthetic biology, nanotechnology and machine intelligence are hurtling forward into the territory of the unintended and unpredictable.
“World's First GM Babies Born”: 12-Year-Old Article Continues to Cause Confusionby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 25th, 2013An undated Daily Mail article that is actually over a decade old continues to spread misinformation about human genetic modification.
Grandma's Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genesby Dan HurleyDiscoverApril 23rd, 2013Your ancestors' lousy childhoods or excellent adventures might change your personality, bequeathing anxiety or resilience by altering the epigenetic expressions of genes in the brain.
The Baby Blueprint [VIDEO][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]Al Jazeera EnglishApril 22nd, 2013Would you choose your child's genetic potential? Live debate with Marcy Darnovsky, Stuart Newman, Julian Savulescu, and Nita Farahany.
Lord Robert Winston Warning Over Child ‘Eugenics’ by Lyndsay BucklandScotsmanApril 11th, 2013A leading fertility expert warns that reproductive technologies could enable a form of eugenics with serious implications for the individuals involved and society in general.
Three-Parent Children in UK Possible After HFEA Report[Quotes the Center for Genetics and Society]by Michael CookBioEdgeApril 6th, 2013The UK fertility regulator's report to the government misrepresented its own findings about public opinion.
New gene therapy births 'designer baby' fearsby Gavin O'TooleAl Jazeera (English)April 3rd, 2013Critics say the move would be the first step towards the creation of "designer babies" and herald a new era of "consumer eugenics."
New Technology Can Make It So 1 Baby Has 3 Parents[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]CBS New YorkMarch 29th, 2013“People have characterized this as sliding down a slippery slope. This one actually throws us off a cliff."
Are Parents Entitled To Create A Dream Child? [VIDEO][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]HuffPost LiveMarch 29th, 2013What if science allowed prospective parents to create smarter and healthier babies? This idea is just as exciting as it is alarming, but is it realistic? Should it be?
UK May Be Close To Approving Nuclear Transfer Technique for IVF[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by John FarrellForbesMarch 28th, 2013The conception of children who share the genes of three parents could be one step closer to reality.
The Ethics of Creating Children With Three Genetic Parentsby Françoise BaylisReproductive BioMedicine OnlineMarch 27th, 2013This article on mitochondrial replacement technology briefly explains the legitimacy of such terms as ‘three-parent embryos’ and reviews select ethical objections to mitochondrial replacement technology that are cause for serious concern.
GM Crops Evil, GM Children OK?by Chris BennettWestern Farm PressMarch 27th, 2013China is surging ahead with a research project aimed at identifying millions of genetic variations in order to boost intelligence.
Broad Public Support for "3-Parent Babies" and Crossing the Human Germline? Not What the Data Sayby Jessica Cussins & Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMarch 21st, 2013The UK regulatory agency’s summary of its public consultation on mitochondria replacement highlights "broad public support" for a procedure that would cross a crucial ethical and policy line. But that support is not actually demonstrated in its data.
Alarm over genetic control of embryos[Letter to the editor]The Times [UK]March 20th, 2013If the proposed procedures are allowed, the reconstructed egg or embryo will have an altered, and inheritable, genetic composition.
HealthWatch: Britain Considers Allowing Babies From 3 Parents [Video][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Kim MulvihillCBS San FranciscoMarch 20th, 2013Britain's fertility regulator says it has found broad public support for in vitro fertilization techniques that allow babies to be created with DNA from three people for couples at risk of passing on potentially fatal genetic diseases.
Grocers Won’t Sell Altered Fish, Groups Sayby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesMarch 20th, 2013Several supermarket chains have pledged not to sell what could become the first genetically modified animal to reach the nation’s dinner plates — a salmon engineered to grow about twice as fast as normal.
Three-Person IVF Moves Closer in UKby James GallagherBBC NewsMarch 20th, 2013The UK has moved closer to becoming the first country to allow the creation of babies from three people.
Eugenics Fear Over Gene Modification[Letter to the Editor]by David King et al.The GuardianMarch 15th, 2013The benefits of mitochondrial replacement are heavily outweighed by the risks to the child and to society.
Experiments with Inheritable Genetic Modificationby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 13th, 2013A developmental biologist looks carefully at research on mitochondria replacement that would be an experimental form of human inheritable genetic modification.
Book Review: Transhumanist Dreams and Dystopian Nightmaresby John GallowayBioNewsMarch 11th, 2013Some say we should use genetic science not simply to ameliorate the human predicament but to transcend it. Of course this raises the issue of what 'best' means and, in any event, who decides.
The British Embryo Authority and the Chamber of Eugenicsby Stuart A. NewmanHuffington PostMarch 11th, 2013Mitochondria replacement would be a misuse of technology with clear potential for individual and social harms.
GM Babies?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 5th, 2013A debate about genetically engineered babies is hijacked by slick rhetoric.
Meet the New Eugenics, Same as the Old Eugenicsby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorBiopolitical TimesMarch 4th, 2013According to a new wave of eugenic advocacy, “we” have a “moral obligation” to enhance future generations.
Al Gore: Human Biotech is a “Driver of Global Change”by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesFebruary 21st, 2013In his recently released best-seller The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, Al Gore calls for protocols to guide decisions about human genetic modification.
Exaggerations and Misrepresentations Have No Place in Science Policy Debatesby Jeremy GruberCouncil for Responsible GeneticsFebruary 15th, 2013A recent debate on whether we should prohibit genetically engineered babies wound up focusing on mitochondrial replacement techniques.
Neanderthal Clone Poll Finds Most Americans Oppose Cloning Human Relative by Emily SwansonHuffington PostJanuary 30th, 2013Most Americans are opposed to allowing any scientist to attempt such a feat - with or without a human surrogate.
Neo Neanderthal[With CGS's Pete Shanks]by Alyona MinkovskiHuffPost LiveJanuary 25th, 2013A leading geneticist at Harvard Medical School says he can clone a Neanderthal and resurrect the extinct species. What are the ethical issues, risks and benefits?
George Church on Neanderthal Clones and Designer Babies by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 23rd, 2013George Church now says that he doesn't advocate cloning a Neanderthal with a human surrogate. Here's some context.
Wanted: Adventurous Surrogate to Gestate Neanderthal Baby [updated]by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 19th, 2013George Church speculates about an "adventurous female human" willing to be impregnated with a synthetically constructed and genetically engineered Neanderthal-like clone.
Interview with George Church: Can Neanderthals Be Brought Back from the Dead?by Philip Bethge and Johann GrolleDer SpiegelJanuary 18th, 2013The English translation of the interview in which George Church of Harvard University explains how genetic technology and synthetic biology might permit the creation of a Neanderthal-like clone that could be gestated by a woman.
"Adventurous Female Human" Needed to Give Birth to NeandertalGenome WebJanuary 17th, 2013Harvard's George Church on recreating Neandertals, engineering humans to live to 120, making people resistant to viruses, and exchanging DNA with other species.
A Rebuttal to Mark Lynas’ GMO Reversalby Jason MarkEarth Island JournalJanuary 11th, 2013Organic farmer, writer, and environmental policy advocate delves into Lynas' rationale for turning pro-GMO and finds scientific, environmental, economic, and social reasons not to agree.
Eric Hoffman on a Very Discreet Newcomer: Synthetic Biologyby Eric HoffmanA World of ScienceJanuary 11th, 2013An interview on the dangers of synthetic biology published in UNESCO's Natural Sciences Sector's quarterly journal.
Could Human Enhancement Turn Soldiers Into Weapons That Violate International Law? Yesby Patrick LinThe AtlanticJanuary 4th, 2013New technologies reveal ambiguities and hidden assumptions in international humanitarian law.
UK Government's Enthusiasm for GM Not Matched in Developing Nationsby John VidalThe Guardian January 4th, 2013Across the world, countries are turning their backs on GM crops; perhaps the coalition in the UK could learn something from them.
Biotech's 10 Biggest PR Disasters of 2012GMWatchDecember 31st, 20122012 was the year the lights came up on the biotech industry. Its claims, its tactics and its products all came under scrutiny and some of its biggest PR fairytales bit the dust. Here are some prime examples.
Brave New Cells?by Donna DickensonProject SyndicateDecember 29th, 2012Supporters of mitochondria replacement neglect a crucial factor in the debate: the techniques being developed involve permanent genetic alterations passed on to future generations.
FDA Moves Closer to Approval of GMO Fish, Critics Outragedby Carey GillamReutersDecember 21st, 2012A controversial genetically engineered salmon has moved a step closer to the consumer's dining table after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the fish didn't appear likely to pose a threat.
My Concerns About Nature Paper on Genome Transfer for Mitochondrial Diseaseby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogDecember 20th, 2012Is this paper really a clinically relevant breakthrough for mitochondrial disease worthy of a Nature paper?
Public interest group calls on FDA to rule "nuclear genome transfer" unacceptable[Press statement]December 19th, 2012“Nuclear genome transfer” would mean uncontrolled human experimentation on future children and their offspring.
Review: Bioethics: All That Matters by Donna Dickensonby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorDecember 13th, 2012This lively and accessible guide to the ethical implications of biotechnology asks how the field promotes or undermines social equality.
Mitochondria Replacement Would Forever Alter the Human Germline. Do You Want a Say? by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 15th, 2012The Center for Genetics and Society has sent a letter strongly recommending against changing the United Kingdom law that – like those in dozens of other countries – prohibits procedures that would alter the genes we pass on to our children.
E.U. Patents on Transgenic Chimps Challengedby Kai KupferschmidtScience InsiderNovember 13th, 2012Animal rights activists in Germany are contesting three patents on genetically engineered chimpanzees granted this year by the European Patent Office.
Clones and Cloud Atlasby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesNovember 13th, 2012Of the many characters in Cloud Atlas that explore what it means to be human, the most eloquent is a genetically engineered clone.
The Eugenic Impulseby Nathaniel ComfortThe Chronicle of Higher EducationNovember 12th, 2012Medical geneticists are working on weeding out disease, but what counts as disease is murky and the slide from prevention to enhancement loses friction fast.
Of Yeast Genes and Tinker Toysby Abby Lippman, Biopolitical Times guest contributorOctober 31st, 2012A recently published paper sounds a serious warning to those who want to tinker around with human genes.
Genetic Breakthrough at OHSU[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Allison FrostOregon Public RadioOctober 29th, 2012Researchers in Oregon have created a viable human embryo by combining genetic material from two women's eggs, raising safety and ethical questions.
Advocating Human Germline Interventionsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 28th, 2012Scientists in Oregon have published a paper that explicitly challenges the legal and procedural system that forbids genetic experiments on future generations, but most reports miss the full implications of the announcement.
Human Genetic Modification Experiment in Oregon Shows Promise, Risks, Experts Say[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Nick BudnickThe OregonianOctober 24th, 2012Researchers have replaced unfertilized eggs' mitochondrial DNA, raising concerns about human germline modifications.
Geneticists Breach Ethical Taboo By Changing Genes Across Generations[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPROctober 24th, 2012Geneticists reported Wednesday that they had crossed a threshold long considered off-limits: They have made changes in human DNA that can be passed down from one generation to the next.
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells and Germline Engineeringby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 16th, 2012Japanese researchers have created mice by using sperm and eggs grown from induced pluripotent stem cells, a development that could bring human germline engineering much closer.
Genetically Engineering 'Ethical' Babies is a Moral Obligation, Says Oxford Professor by Richard AlleyneThe Telegraph [UK]August 16th, 2012Bioethicist Julian Savulescu said that creating so-called designer babies could be considered a "moral obligation" as it makes them grow up into "ethically better children."
Synthetic 'Upgrade' for Fruit Fly's DNA by Linda GeddesNew ScientistAugust 13th, 2012The genetic code of the fruit fly Drosophila has been hacked into, allowing it to make proteins with properties that don't exist in the natural world.
23andMe Wants FDA Approval for Personal DNA Testing. What Can It Reveal?by Bonnie RochmanTIME HealthlandAugust 2nd, 2012The personal genomics company 23andMe announced that it is seeking FDA approval for its version of DNA testing.
Ethics Schmethics Says Ethicistby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 19th, 2012The approach of the Olympics sparks the usual flood of pro-enhancement articles, notably an interview with Julian Savulescu.
Fetal Genome Blood Test: Lots of Issues, Scientists Sayby Rosie MestelLos Angeles TimesJuly 6th, 2012The ability to extract the fetal genome from the blood of the mother raises a plethora of new ethical concerns.
Designer Babies in Popular Cultureby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 21st, 2012The Whitest Kids U’Know’s comedic parody of genetic counseling is reminiscent of a similar scene in GATTACA.
Nuffield Council Gives Green Light to the Prevention of Inherited Mitochondrial Diseaseby Antony Blackburn-StarzaBioNewsJune 12th, 2012The UK-based Nuffield Council on Bioethics has declared that the benefits of new techniques which aim to prevent the transmission of faulty mtDNA from mother to child outweigh any risks.
Genetic Screening of Unborn Babies 'May be Inaccurate'by Nick CollinsThe Telegraph (UK)June 7th, 2012The blood test that may be used to routinely screen foetuses for more than 3,000 genetic conditions raises "many ethical questions" and is not a clear indicator of how severe a disability may be.
A New Technique for Human Genetic Modification?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 1st, 2012Chinese scientists have developed a new way to reproduce genetically modified mice, and are already speculating about human applications.
Discussing Transhumanism on Al-Jazeeraby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 5th, 2012Al Jazeera, the global TV and multimedia news organization, recently featured a discussion of transhumanism.
A Burst of Useful (Not Utilitarian) Bloggingby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMarch 22nd, 2012Bioethicists' articles about the permissibility of infanticide and a pill for racism have been drawing a buzz of outrage.
SynBioWatch to Hold Public Discussion on Synthetic Biology Risksby Doug PetBiopolitical TimesMarch 16th, 2012A social and environmental justice coalition, SynbioWatch, will hold a public meeting to discuss the possible dangers associated with synthetic biology.
Bioengineer Humans to Tackle Climate Change, Say Philosophersby Leo HickmanGuardianMarch 14th, 2012The authors of a controversial recommendation say their critics have misunderstood the nature of philosophical inquiry.
Environmental Groups Call for Tighter Regulation of ‘Extreme Genetic Engineering’by Brian VastagWashington PostMarch 13th, 2012A global coalition of 111 organizations released the first global declaration outlining principles that must be adopted to protect the environment from risks posed by synthetic biology.
Worrying New Signs of Interest in Re-engineering Humansby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesFebruary 23rd, 2012Several academics and defense department employees are actively discussing the idea of engineering people, for warfare, to express social values and even to react to climate change.
Biopolitical Times Mourns the Passing of Charles WeinerBiopolitical TimesFebruary 7th, 2012History of science scholar Charles Weiner passed away January 28, 2012. We reflect on his contributions to the field.
'Three-Person IVF' Technique Moves CloserBBC NewsJanuary 19th, 2012Public opinion will help decide the future of a controversial genetic technique to stop serious conditions being passed from mother to child.
Synthetic Biology and the Rise of the 'Spider-Goats'by Adam RutherfordThe Guardian [UK]January 14th, 2012"Synthetic organisms at this point should not be out there in the environment; they shouldn't be out there in industry. That's irresponsible and inappropriate."
Eric Lander on Scientific Responsibilityby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesJanuary 9th, 2012Geneticist Eric Lander was the only scientist of anything like his level of prominence to publicly oppose the researchers campaigning for the development of "designer baby" technology.
Dystopian "In Time" and Inequalities in Our Timeby Emily BeitiksBiopolitical TimesDecember 1st, 2011The dystopian future of Andrew Niccol's new film, In Time, resonates with current inequalities.
Gene Therapy Can Protect Against HIVAn introduced gene conveys long-lived resistance to HIV infection in mice.by Lauren GravitzNature NewsNovember 30th, 2011An introduced gene conveys long-lived resistance to HIV infection in mice.
New Buzz around Biological Hazardsby Emily BeitiksBiopolical TimesNovember 1st, 2011Recent reports highlight emerging biological engineering risks that might not be all that different from threats of bioterrorism, though the context of development surely differs.
Lab Fight Raises U.S. Security Issuesby Jennifer GollanNew York TimesOctober 22nd, 2011Biosafety expert Paul Rabinow resigned from the UC Berkeley-led Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center, and asserted that the Center is not doing enough to prevent a biological disaster.
Gene therapy and stem cells uniteby James GallagherBBC NewsTwo of the holy grails of medicine - stem cell technology and precision gene therapy - have been united for the first time in humans, say scientists.
Which Came First the Chicken or the Dinosaur?...Think Againby Emily BeitiksBiopolical TimesOctober 12th, 2011Paleontologist John Horner wants to create a living dinosaur by “reverse evolving” the chicken.
Cats as Experimental Animals for Human Diseasesby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 15th, 2011Genetically modified cats have been created, partly in the hopes of advancing AIDS research.
Glowing transgenic cats could boost AIDS research by Andy CoghlanNew ScientistSeptember 11th, 2011Scientists hope genetically modified cats will lead to similar approaches to protecting humans from infection with HIV.
Set a bug to kill a bugby Marian TurnerNature NewsAugust 16th, 2011Engineered bacteria that can detect and kill human pathogens could provide a new way to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria, although researchers say they won't be injected into people any time soon.
Identical Twins Are Genetically Differentby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 5th, 2011Researchers looking for a genetic basis for schizophrenia report that monozygotic twins, always assumed to be genetically identical, in fact have different DNA.
Gene of the Week: Christianityby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 1st, 2011Gay scientists are reported to have isolate the 'Christian gene' and to have successfully removed it from experimental rats.
New film depicts a genetically engineered, anti-gay future by Doug PetBiopolitical TimesMarch 17th, 2011Nisha Ganatra’s Beholder depicts a future in which children are genetically designed and homosexuality is screened out of the population.
Babies with THREE parents and free of genetic disease could soon be born using controversial IVF technique[United Kingdom]by David DerbyshireThe Daily MailMarch 12th, 2011But the new IVF technique raises questions and concerns.
Animal death toll ends cloning trials [New Zealand]by Kiran ChugThe Dominion PostFebruary 21st, 2011Although cloning trials will no longer be conducted, AgResearch will continue to develop transgenic cattle, sheep and goats.
Top IVF doctor defends offering help for parents to pick babies' sexby Lisa AdamsDaily RecordJuly 29th, 2010MEET the doctor who is making Scots' dreams of designing the perfect baby come true.
How Far Would You Go? Public Interest Collaborative Announces First-Ever Web Series for Parents on Technologies that Could Alter Human NatureMother’s Day launch to spark grassroots discussions about new reproductive and genetic technologiesMay 5th, 2010A new website and series of short videos on the complex challenges of new reproductive and genetic technologies.
BioConversations: Taking the Biotech Discussion Public by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMay 5th, 2010Introducing the first web series for parents about technologies that could alter human nature.
Emerging Technologies and a Sustainable, Healthy, Just WorldThe Case of Human Reproductive and Genetic Technologiesby Marcy Darnovsky and Jesse ReynoldsBiodiversity: The Newsletter of the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity (Winter 2010)Environmentalists are in a position to play a critically important role in determining how powerful, emerging technologies are ultimately developed, used, and regulated.
Technology Updates: Inheritable Genetic Modificationby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 14th, 2010Two new technologies may make inheritable genetic modification significantly more feasible.
Return of the GenRich?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2009There has been a brief flurry of discussion about future separate species of humans.
Monkeys, Mitochondria, and the Human Germline by Jesse ReynoldsBioethics ForumSeptember 18th, 2009The researchers into radically novel techniques display an alarmingly casual attitude toward risks to the potential children born, the difficulties and dangers of obtaining the large numbers of the required women's eggs, and the potentially dire social consequences of human inheritable genetic modification.
Michael Sandel on genetics, morality, and a new politics of the common goodby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesSeptember 11th, 2009"It is tempting to think that bioengineering our children and ourselves for success in a competitive society is an exercise of freedom. But changing our nature to fit the world, rather than the other way around, is actually the deepest form of disempowerment."
New Genetic Therapy [includes audio]by Oregon Public BroadcastingThink Out LoudSeptember 1st, 2009CGS's Marcy Darnovsky and researcher Shoukhrat Mitolipov debate the implications of a new study about mitochondrial DNA for inheritable genetic modification on this call-in radio show.
Live mice and sperm - both from stem cells - create new social and ethical challengesPublic interest group calls for federal oversight of reproductive usesJuly 26th, 2009Recent developments in cell reprogramming methods raise significant new ethical and social challenges.
Other uses for laboratory-produced sperm?by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesJuly 13th, 2009Advances in laboratory-produced sperm--if perfected--could also be used for other purposes, including troubling ones.
Monkey see, monkey glow[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Tom AbateGlobal PostJune 2nd, 2009Altered primates bring inherited genetic modification closer to humans.
Modified Marmoset in the Mediaby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesMay 29th, 2009American media coverage of genetically modified primates was remarkably thin, and few articles mentioned social and ethical implications
Glowing Green Monkeys Illustrate Important but Controversial Advanceby Rob SteinWashington PostMay 28th, 2009Scientists have created the first genetically modified monkeys that can pass their new genetic attributes to their offspring
Public interest group urges caution in response to genetically modified primatesCenter for Genetics and Society calls for scientists, policymakers to reject human inheritable genetic modificationMay 27th, 2009The Center for Genetics and Society today said that the creation of a transgenic marmoset underlines the need for scientists and policy makers to reject human inheritable genetic modification.
Libertarians Diss Democracyby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMay 14th, 2009Transhumanists put their disdain for democracy in writing.
Fluorescent puppy is world's first transgenic dog by Ewen CallawayNew ScientistApril 23rd, 2009Five beagles who produce a fluorescent protein are the world's first transgenic dogs.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill 2008A Commentaryby David KingApril 15th, 2009The director of Human Genetics Alert offers an analysis of the UK's new law governing human genetic and reproductive technologies.
There's no success like failure ...by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesFebruary 6th, 2009Another attempt to clone an extinct species has failed, but been widely hailed as a success. Many more have been and are being considered.
From cellular reprogramming to human genetic modificationby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 30th, 2009While reprogrammed iPS cells may resolve quandaries about embryo destruction, they could also be a path towards human genetic modification
Designer Babies: Ethical? Inevitable?Quotes CGS's Richard Hayesby Robert Roy Britt, Editorial DirectorLiveScienceJanuary 11th, 2009
Breast cancer gene-free baby born BBCJanuary 9th, 2009The first baby in the UK tested before conception for a genetic form of breast cancer has been born.
Appleyard on H+by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 22nd, 2008Brian Appleyard weighs in on "risible" transhumanists.
H+ ≈ Humanity+ ≈ Humanity Plus ≈ WTA ≈ Extropy (etc.)by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 20th, 2008The relaunch of the World Transhumanist Association, now Humanity Plus, stumbles on, with the launch of H+ Magazine.
Hank Greely on CGS and Human Genetic Modificationby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 19th, 2008While Stanford bioethicist Hank Greeley denies being "enthusiastic" about human genetic modification, he's certainly opposed to prohibitions on it or on reproductive cloning.
Inequality and Human Genetics[Letter to the editor]by Richard HayesThe New York TimesSeptember 16th, 2008The genetic modification of our children is a practice that conservatives and liberals alike should be able to agree poses far more risks than benefits, and should be taken off the table as an option.
Neo-con logic: Designer babies for all by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesSeptember 10th, 2008A neo-conservative pundit endorses inheritable genetic enhancement.
All in the Genesby Marcy Darnovsky and Hank GreelyDemocracyAugust 31st, 2008A letter exchange between CGS's Marcy Dranovsky and bioethicist Hank Greely of Stanford University in the Fall 2008 edition of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas.
Happy Birthday!by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 25th, 2008Louise Brown's 30th birthday is also the 30th anniversary of the start of the modern assisted reproduction industry.
Germline Modification Carries Risk of Major Social Harm by Marcy DarnovskyNatureJune 4th, 2008In this letter to the editor, CGS's Darnovsky points out that when discussing the potential to derive gametes from stem cells, we must be willing to draw lines proscribing socially pernicious applications.
Center for American Progress on GM Embryosby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesMay 29th, 2008Sirine Shebaya at the Center for American Progress's Science Progress blog commented on the recent disclosure of the first genetically modified human embryos.
UK Scientists to Combine Human, Animal Embryos[Interviews CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]CNN Headline NewsMay 21st, 2008CNN's Glenn Beck on cybrids.
Crossing An Ethical Boundaryby Marcy DarnovskyThe Journal of Life SciencesMay 19th, 2008When scientists fail to appreciate public concerns they can easily undermine public trust.
US group questions human embryo research, calls for rules[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]Deutsche Presse-AgenturMay 14th, 2008The Center for Genetics and Society calls for national bioethics standards and regulations after scientists produced a genetically-engineered embryo.
U.S. Researchers Create Genetically Modified Human EmbryoGenetic CrossroadsMay 14th, 2008A U.S. research group has created what appears to be the world's first genetically modified human embryo, crossing an ethical boundary that until now has been observed by scientists around the world.
Media Coverage of Genetically Modified Embryosby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesMay 13th, 2008Here is a roundup of some of the media coverage from the weekend's revelation that scientists have created a genetically modified human embryo.
Engineering by Scientists on Embryo Stirs Criticism[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Andrew PollackNew York TimesMay 13th, 2008Researchers in New York have created what is believed to be the first genetically engineered human embryo, which critics immediately branded as a step toward “designer babies.”
Genetically modified human embryo stirs criticism[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Malcolm RitterAssociated PressMay 12th, 2008News that scientists have for the first time genetically altered a human embryo is drawing fire from some watchdog groups that say it's a step toward creating "designer babies."
Public interest group criticizes creation of first genetically modified human embryo Center for Genetics and Society calls for effective regulationMay 12th, 2008A small group of researchers decided on its own to overstep a key ethical boundary that has been observed around the world, with no discussion by the public, the media, or policy makers.
Scientist team creates first GM human embryoby Sarah-Kate TempletonThe Times (UK)May 11th, 2008Scientists from Cornell University in New York have created what is believed to be the first genetically modified (GM) human embryo.
CGS debates libertarian bioethicist Ronald Greenby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesApril 14th, 2008Countering advocacy of a designer-baby future in the Washington Post and on Talk of the Nation.
Immortality breakthrough! Read all about it!by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesApril 14th, 2008A transhumanist shares the secrets of "longevity escape velocity."
Brave New World Warby Jamie MetzlDemocracyMarch 21st, 2008Genetic engineering will soon turn science fiction to fact. Here's why we need a new global treaty to control it.
Embryos created with DNA from 3 peopleby Maria ChengAssociated PressFebruary 5th, 2008British scientists say they have created human embryos containing DNA from two women and a man in a procedure that researchers hope might be used one day to produce embryos free of inherited diseases.
When You Play With Dirt, You Get Dirty by Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesDecember 13th, 2007Slate’s Will Saletan has backed himself into a corner by coming to the defense of James Watson – the eccentric DNA pioneer who found himself pontificating on how Blacks’ separate evolutionary patterns conferred certain genes that depress their intellects.
James Watson Retires After Racial Remarksby Cornelia DeanNew York TimesOctober 25th, 2007James D. Watson, the eminent biologist who ignited an uproar last week with remarks about the intelligence of people of African descent, retired today as chancellor of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island and from its board.
Watson's Worldby Jesse ReynoldsOctober 24th, 2007James Watson's worldview is not simply racist; he's promoting full-tilt eugenics.
Still Unnoticed: James Watson’s Eugenic EnthusiasmsOctober 22nd, 2007No media accounts so far have cited James Watson's active and explicit support for a new program of eugenics, based not on outmoded scientific theories but on twenty-first century genetic and reproductive technologies.
Watson as wake-up call: When genetics endorses a new eugenicsby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesOctober 22nd, 2007Though neither media nor blogosphere have noted it so far, Watson and a small but disturbing number of other prominent figures are actively promoting a renewed program of eugenics - this time using 21st-century reproductive and genetic technologies.
James Watson's LegacyReviving Bigotry and Eugenicsby Center for Genetics and SocietyBiopolitical TimesOctober 22nd, 2007James Watson on eugenics, genetic modification, race, intelligence, sex, and more
Nobel Notions and the Uses of Geneticsby Marcy DarnovskyAlternetOctober 19th, 2007It's Nobel Prize season, and Nobel scientists are very much in the news. James Watson is currently embroiled in controversy after making a series of blatantly racist remarks. But related views espoused by one of this year's laureates have gone unnoticed.
Enhancing the speciesby Anjana AhujaThe Times (UK)October 10th, 2007Philosopher John Harris argues that we have a moral and ethical duty to improve the human race by biologically enhancing our children.
The Nobel Prize and the New Eugenicsby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesOctober 9th, 2007Not mentioned in the award announcement or media coverage of it are new Nobelist Mario Capecchi’s views on the future use of these techniques to produce transgenic human beings. In short, Capecchi is on record embracing the idea.
Birth Without the Bother?by Nicholas D. KristofNew York TimesJuly 23rd, 2007"So where do we regulate and draw the line? My vote is to allow genetic technologies aimed at combating disease or infertility, but to bar any effort that goes beyond the curative to enhance the germ line DNA of our offspring."
Marquette professor looks at growing debate of using technology to enhance humansby Mark JohnsonMilwaukee Journal SentinelMay 9th, 2007"Many of these new technologies are very powerful and will allow us to manipulate the natural world in ways that we've never seen before," said Richard Hayes.
"Should the possibility of inadvertent gene transfer to the germline be considered a benefit or risk?"by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesMarch 21st, 2007Researchers in the UK are working towards gene "therapy" on human fetuses.
UK Campaign to Stop Genetically Modified Human Embryosby Marcy DarnovskyGenetic CrossroadsFebruary 28th, 2007The UK-based Human Genetics Alert (HGA) has launched a campaign to prevent Britain from becoming the first country in the world to sanction the production of genetically modified human embryos.
Dawn of the GM babies? [UK]thisislondon.co.ukFebruary 24th, 2007Scientists will be able to carry out genetic experiments on human embryos for the first time under controversial UK Government plans.
Important Changes in UK Law on Reproductive and Genetic Technologiesby David KingGenetic CrossroadsJanuary 26th, 2007Dr. David King gives his views on government proposals that would reorganize the UK HFEA and set important new rules.
'Embryo bank': new hope or too far?[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Amanda PaulsonChristian Science MonitorJanuary 18th, 2007"A Texas fertility center's methods raise concerns about 'designing'babies. Some say they're not much different from the usual practice."
'Mortal Combat' and Biotechnologyby Parita ShahBiopolitical TimesNovember 14th, 2006Check out Will Saletan's latest article in Slate, Mortal Combat: The Exploding Politics of Biotechnology.
The costly appliance of scienceby Peter SingerThe GuardianSeptember 14th, 2006"The advance of knowledge is often a mixed blessing. Over the past 60 years, nuclear physics has been one obvious example of this truth. Over the next 60 years, genetics may be another. "
Transhumanism: Yearning to transcend biologyby Cathy YoungBoston GlobeJuly 10th, 2006"With everything else that's happening in the world today, debates about whether humanity should embrace as yet nonexistent technologies that could enhance our physical and intellectual abilities and someday make us "more than human" may seem frivolous."
Among the TranshumanistsCyborgs, self-mutilators, and the future of our raceby William SaletanSlateJune 4th, 2006William Saletan reports on the Transhumanist conference, "Human Enhancement Technologies," at Stanford University.
Opening Comments at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) consultation on Human Enhancementby Richard HayesJune 1st, 2006
Inheritable Genetic Modification Frequently Asked Questions Answers to common questions concerning inheritable genetic modification
Is there a human right to be superhuman?by Brian AlexanderMSNBCJune 1st, 2006"Transhumanism is being taken seriously by an increasing number of scholars."
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