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About Inheritable Genetic Modification


The Basic Science

Human Germline Gene Editing

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.



Recruiter Matchtech changes name to Gattaca - same as the hit Hollywood movie about eugenicsby Alan ToveyThe TelegraphJuly 18th, 2016The company claims they did not even consider the connection to the film when they chose the new name.
Do CRISPR enthusiasts have their head in the sand about the safety of gene editing? by Sharon BegleySTATJuly 18th, 2016Off-target effects and other concerns around genome editing should be taken more seriously.
Pro and Con: Should Gene Editing Be Performed on Human Embryos? by John Harris (Pro); Marcy Darnovsky (Con)National GeographicJuly 15th, 2016Harris: "Research on Gene Editing in Humans Must Continue"
Darnovsky: "Do Not Open the Door to Editing Genes in Future Humans"
At Gene Editing Meeting, Scientists Discuss God, Racism, Designer Babies[originally published as "At Gene Editing Meeting, Scientists Discuss God, Racism, Designer Babies"]by Nidhi SubbaramanBuzzFeedJuly 14th, 2016Opponents of germline gene editing have strong concerns both around the safety and ethics of altering reproductive cells.
CRISPR Bébés | New Questions on 3P-IVF | Gene Drives | Speed Limits | "Schizophrenic Felon" SpermOur monthly newsletter Biopolitical Views & News rounds up our commentary and recent news stories. Here's the July issue!
Puffing Cryonics in New Scientist?by Pete ShanksJuly 13th, 2016New Scientist is a popular science magazine that sometimes prioritizes popularity over science.
Two Decades After Dollyby Pete ShanksJuly 12th, 201620 years after the first cloned mammal was born, the US still does not have legal prohibitions on cloned people, or on heritable human genetic modification.
Gene Editing: The Dual-use Conundrumby Janet PhelanNew Eastern OutlookJuly 11th, 2016Genome editing, particularly germline editing, has been declared a “weapon of mass destruction.”
First he pioneered a new way of making life. Now he wants to try it in peopleby Karen WeintraubSTATJuly 8th, 2016Three-parent IVF has been tried in monkeys, but further research is needed to fully assess safety and effectiveness.
Fresh concerns raised over controversial 'three parent baby' therapy which aims to eliminate inherited diseaseThe Irish ExaminerJuly 6th, 2016Research has shown adverse effects on metabolism and lifespan, among other concerns.
On the 14-Day Rule and Other Limitsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 29th, 2016Speed limits are somewhat arbitrary but sensible; so is the 14-day rule for embryo research.
Hateful politics infiltrate human genome editing debate in Franceby Elliot HosmanJune 29th, 2016New campaign calling for an international moratorium on CRISPR embryos experiments launched by prominent anti-abortion, anti-LGBT French group.
This scientist is trying to stop a lab-created global disasterby Kristen V. BrownFusionJune 27th, 2016"If we misuse our power, we lose the trust. That is the tightrope we walk," says Kevin Esvelt.
Gene drive debate must include voices from Africa, elsewhereby Richard Nchabi KamwiSTATJune 15th, 2016The conversations have been missing the perspectives of representatives from malaria-affected countries, largely in South and Central America, Africa, and southern Asia.
"Safe" call? My thoughts on the latest mitochondrial replacement paper by Ted MorrowTed's BlogJune 14th, 2016The reaction from many has been upbeat, but my reading of the paper is different. Despite all the warnings about mitonuclear mismatching, it is apparently glossed over by scientists and science communicators alike."
Better Mitochondrial Replacement: But Why? by Ricki LewisPLOSJune 9th, 2016As long as there are alternative ways to have healthy children, efforts to manipulate mitochondria, unless directed at developing a treatment for patients, should stop.
The National Academies’ Gene Drive study has ignored important and obvious issues by Jim ThomasThe Guardian June 9th, 2016Some important gaps in the study include an analysis of The report ducks questions about militarization, commercialization, and food security, but acknowledges there is "insufficient evidence to support the environmental release of gene drives."
Genetically engineered bugs to fight malaria and Zika? Not so fast, experts sayby Joel AchenbachThe Washington PostJune 8th, 2016The use of "gene drive" technologies threaten incalculable harm to ecosystems worldwide.
UK Researchers Now Say Three-Person Embryo Technique Doesn't Work; Propose New Methodby Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJune 8th, 2016New research shows the mitochondrial manipulation technique recently legalized in the UK faces major unknowns.
Unheard Publics in the Human Genome Editing Policy Debateby Elliot HosmanJune 8th, 2016The socially dangerous prospect of using genome editing tools for human reproduction underlies the need for caution in modifying embryos in basic research.
Gene editing technique could transform future [citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Fergus WalshBBC NewsJune 6th, 2016In a nightmare, "I realised with horror that it was Hitler and I was being expected to discuss this technology with him and he eagerly wanting to use it."
Scientists Say They Hope To Create A Human Genome In The Labciting CGS' Marcy Darnovskyby Rob SteinNPRJune 2nd, 2016"The worry is that we're going to be synthesizing entire optimized human genomes...to produce synthetic human beings that they see as improved models," said Marcy Darnovsky.
Public Interest Organization Comment on Synthetic Human Genome Project[Press statement]June 2nd, 2016Twenty-five scientists and corporate figures call for a ten-year project to construct a synthetic human genome from scratch.
On Cyborgs and Gene Editing: Lessons from Orphan Blackby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical Times guest contributorJune 1st, 2016The television show takes a cue from science fiction author Donna Haraway and engages the dangers of human genetic modification.
British scientist can genetically modify human embryos, ethics committee saysby Lydia WillgressThe Telegraph [UK]May 27th, 2016Following HFEA approval in February, a local ethics committee approves Kathy Niakan's program to CRISPR human embryos for basic research.
Will Modern Genetics Turn Us Into Gene “Genies”?[Collection of brief essays]by Marcy Darnovsky, Dan Sarewitz, Samuel Weiss Evans, Arvis Sulovari, Eric A. WidraZócalo Public SquareMay 24th, 2016Contributors discuss their stances on the dangers and potential benefits of gene manipulation.
Should We Genetically Modify Our Children? [VIDEO][A talk by CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]May 22nd, 2016Marcy Darnovsky unpacks the controversies that have erupted in recent months about how we should - and should not - use gene editing tools, and explores the technical, social, and ethical stakes of these imminent decisions.
Bill Banning Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy Consideredby Tanya LewisThe ScientistMay 19th, 2016A US Senate committee is considering extending a ban on federal funds for research involving genetically modifying human embryos, which includes germline mitochondrial manipulation techniques.
UK should freeze mitochondrial replacement as Egli paper ID’s serious problemby Paul KnoepflerThe NicheMay 19th, 2016New research, which shows that transfer of one egg's nucleus into another egg might bring along diseased mitochondria, warrants putting an immediate hold on all efforts to use the technique in humans.
Orphan Black emphasizes the science in its sci-fi with a disturbing chapter on eugenicsby Caroline FramkeVoxMay 15th, 2016The BBC America series about human clones is now tackling the personal, scientific, and societal implications of eugenics, gene editing, and germline engineering.
Secret Harvard meeting on synthetic human genomes incites ethics debate[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Joel AchenbachWashington PostMay 13th, 2016If reports about a closed-door meeting are accurate, said Marcy Darnovsky, this "looks like a move to privatize the current conversation about heritable genetic modification."
Scientists Hold Secret Meeting to Consider Creating a Synthetic Human Genomeby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesMay 13th, 2016An invitation to the Harvard meeting said the primary goal “would be to synthesize a complete human genome in a cell line within a period of ten years.”
Top scientists hold closed meeting to discuss building a human genome from scratch[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Ike SwetlitzSTATMay 13th, 2016If we can build a synthetic genome — and eventually, a creature — from the ground up, then what does it mean to be human?
Comment - Closed Harvard Meeting on Human Genome Synthesis[Press statement]May 13th, 2016A new low for scientific accountability, the semi-secret meeting looks like a move to privatize the current conversation about heritable genetic modification.
Three Cambridge startups are on a mission to fix broken genesby Robert WeismanThe Boston GlobeMay 11th, 2016Editas, Intellia, and CRISPR Therapeutics aim to cure diseases from cancer to blood disorders, but these would-be gene editors also must navigate a new round of ethical questions.
Should We Synthesize A Human Genome?by Drew Endy and Laurie ZolothDSpace@MITMay 10th, 2016Human genome synthesis could redefine what now joins all of humanity together as a species. Discussions should not take place without open and advance consideration of whether and under what circumstances it is morally right to proceed.
What the man in the street thinks about human enhancement[citing CGS consultant Pete Shanks]by Michael CookBioEdgeMay 7th, 2016Polls show that more than 80% of people surveyed thought babies should not be genetically modified for increased intelligence or sporting ability.
Public Opposes Human Germline “Enhancement” by Overwhelming Majorityby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 5th, 2016New polls confirm that the public remains opposed to "enhancement" and is still not convinced about other proposed genetic interventions.
Scientists are trying to use CRISPR to fix everything. What’s wrong with that?by Emily McManusTED IdeasMay 5th, 2016A historian of eugenics asks: "Will individuals start making decisions to use new biotech to improve themselves and their children?"
Hacking CRISPR: Patents, Gene Therapy & Embryosby Elliot HosmanMay 5th, 2016As gene editing experiments on human embryos spread, piecemeal hacks of CRISPR are outpacing discussions of the futures it might enable.
Why this lab-grown human embryo has reignited an old ethical debate[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Patrick MonahanScience/AAASMay 4th, 2016It’s easy to obey a rule when you don’t have the means to break it. Now two teams report growing human embryos nearly that long, prompting some scientists and bioethicists to contend that it’s time to revisit the so-called 14-day rule.
New advances in growing human embryos could prompt ethical firestorm[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Eric BoodmanSTATMay 4th, 2016Changing the 14-day rule is an explosive question in an era when CRISPR gene-editing has sparked fears about “designer babies.”
With CRISPR in Humans On the Horizon, Will the Public Back Intellia?by Alex LashXconomyApril 29th, 2016Intellia and Editas both lack what so many biotech investors crave: data from human clinical trials. As they race to the clinic, it's hard to tell if either company will pay off.
Let people most affected by gene editing write CRISPR rulesby Jessica HamzelouNew ScientistApril 29th, 2016The US National Academies' committee on human gene editing held a discussion in Paris at the French National Academy of Medicine.
Scientists solve CRISPR’s ‘Energizer bunny’ problemby Sharon BegleySTATApril 27th, 2016A new CRISPR system called "CORRECT" stopped Cas9 from cutting again and again, and allowed researchers to edit one but not both copies of a target gene.
Editorial: Editing human genes the CRISPR wayby Editorial BoardThe Chicago TribuneApril 27th, 2016Can we trust scientists and governments to set ethical boundaries for research and therapeutic use — and then stick to them? We're skeptical.
God’s Red Pencil? CRISPR and The Three Myths of Precise Genome Editingby Jonathan LathamIndependent Science NewsApril 25th, 2016CRISPR is the latest platform in a 70-year-old "gospel of precision" used to justify moving quickly with new chemical and biological technologies, despite decades of disasters and unintended consequences.
Japanese scientists given green light to modify fertilized human eggs[citing CGS]RT [Russia Today]April 22nd, 2016A government bioethics panel in Japan is allowing CRISPR gene editing in human embryos only for basic research purposes.
Eric Lander talks CRISPR and the infamous Nobel ‘rule of three’by Joel AchenbachThe Washington PostApril 21st, 2016Lander urged scientific modesty about new gene editing tools: “We are terrible predictors of the consequences of the changes we make.”
Gene-editing research in human embryos gains momentumby Ewen CallawayNature NewsApril 19th, 2016Research experiments are now approved in Sweden, China and the United Kingdom.
In IVF, Questions About ‘Mosaic’ Embryosby Kira PeikoffThe New York TimesApril 18th, 201620% of embryos have both "normal" and "abnormal" cells, generating false positive genetic test results, and questions among fertility clinics about whether to implant.
GMOs 2.0: Reengineering Life, from Plants to PeopleWebcast - April 14, 2016 An online discussion about the new generation of genetic modification techniques, and the social issues they raise.
‘It’s most ... most likely use, is the technology of human enhancement’: Chinese scientists alter genes in human embryos in controversial studyby Ben Westcott and Zhuang PinghuiSouth China Morning PostApril 13th, 2016A research team in China has published the second paper on genetic engineering in human embryos.
Identity, disability and the genomeby Felicity BoardmanBioNewsApril 11th, 2016The voices of families living with the genetic diseases to be targeted by germline gene editing must be heard. It is their lives and stories that offer the most valuable insights into what we stand to lose.
Should Heritable Gene Editing Be Used on Humans?"YES" by George Church; "NO" by Marcy Darnovskyby Marcy Darnovsky & George ChurchWall Street JournalApril 10th, 2016Are there potential benefits? Are the risks to individuals and to society are too great?
Turning to technology when nature isn't enough for pregnancyby Marion CallahanBucks County Courier Times / The HeraldApril 9th, 2016“Gender is not a disease; it's a preference. Once you start doing it for preferences, not medical reasons, you are opening a door to a big slippery slope.”
Gender Selection As Part Of Advanced Reproductive Technology: Does The U.S. Prefer Boys Or Girls?[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Amy SchaefferThe InquisitrApril 9th, 2016Some are concerned that selecting a non-disease preference like gender will pave the way for gene editing other preferred traits.
The Scientific Swap Meet Behind the Gene-Editing Boomby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewApril 8th, 2016A Cambridge non-profit called AddGene, described as "Amazon.com for biological parts," ships CRISPR-Cas9 parts all over the world.
Second Chinese team reports gene editing in human embryosby Ewen CallawayNature NewsApril 8th, 2016In a "proof of principle," 4 of 26 human embryos targeted were successfully modified with CCR5Δ32, a mutation that causes HIV resistance.
10th Anniversary Baby Markets Congressby Elliot HosmanApril 7th, 2016Legal scholars, social scientists, advocates, and filmmakers grapple with assisted reproduction.
Op-ed: Minding our makeupby Anna Foster & Parmida JafariThe Varsity [University of Toronto]April 4th, 2016Students have an obligation to understand the pros and cons of CRISPR. Its implications will directly affect our generation.
CRISPR dispute raises bigger patent issues that we’re not talking aboutby Shobita ParthasarathyThe ConversationApril 4th, 2016CRISPR patents will confer enormous control over how the controversial technology develops, and what kinds of human genetic engineering might become commercially available.
The Return of Eugenicsby Fraser NelsonThe Spectator [UK]April 2nd, 2016Emerging prenatal genetic screening technologies are creating a "new" eugenics not so ideologically different from that of the past.
Eugenics Revisited: Author Asks if We're Ready for Genetically Modified Humansby Howard LovyForeword ReviewsMarch 24th, 2016In an interview about his book GMO Sapiens: The Life-Changing Science of Designer Babies, Paul Knoepfler describes the intensifying debates over the creation of genetically modified human beings.
CRISPR Pioneer Feng Zhang Talks About What's Next for Gene Editingby Kate LunauVICE MotherboardMarch 23rd, 2016“The field is still very young,” but Zhang hopes CRISPR is a way to address conditions that he characterizes as psychiatric, including depression, schizophrenia, autism and Alzheimer’s.
Are We Ready For Designer Babies?by Claire MaldarelliPopular ScienceMarch 21st, 2016The CRISPR gene editing debate can’t just occur within the walls of a conference center. As its power comes into focus, public discussion should proceed in tandem.
You can’t retract a designer baby: #CRISPR, social justice, & risksby Paul KnoepflerThe NicheMarch 17th, 2016If human modification were done in the germline, how would you effectively reverse an unexpectedly deleterious hard-wired change in all of those cells? The reality is that it would be impossible.
The Government seem more interested in our genes than our voicesby Edward Hockings & Lewis CoyneThe GuardianMarch 15th, 2016Policymakers in the UK are moving forward with plans to turn genetic information into potentially lucrative data. Can we trust our institutions with our genomes?
Altering human embryos giving rise to designer babies [Video][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]March 14th, 2016Tall, olive skin, brown hair, and blue eyes, these aren't descriptions found in an online dating profile. They are choices to those who are sperm shopping. CCTV America's Shraysi Tandon reports on the recent advancements in reproduction and fertility technologies.
Jennifer Doudna: The Promise and Peril of Gene Editingby Alexandra WolfeWall Street JournalMarch 11th, 2016Some scientists have called for a moratorium on using gene-editing techniques to bring about heritable genetic changes in humans.
CRISPR Eugenics in The X Filesby Elliot HosmanMarch 10th, 2016In the comeback season finale, the show explores the use of human gene editing to combat global warming and overpopulation.
The perils of human gene editing for reproductionby Marcy DarnovskyWashington ExaminerMarch 8th, 2016Human gene editing for reproduction would be unsafe, is unneeded for medical purposes, and would be dangerously unacceptable on societal grounds.
CRISPR: gene editing is just the beginning by Heidi LedfordNature NewsMarch 7th, 2016The real power of the biological tool lies in exploring how genomes work.
Bad News Flash: Scientists Did Not Cure Autism, Cancer Or Alzheimer's by Steven SalzbergForbesMarch 7th, 2016Even when the science itself is good, bad reporting raises false hopes and eventually undermines the public’s confidence.
A Biotech Evangelist Seeks a Zika Dividendby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesMarch 5th, 2016A diverse biotechnology company hopes its genetically engineered mosquitoes can help stop the spread of a devastating virus. But that’s just a start.
[Radio] Gene Editing for Individuals and their Families and Family Caregivers[an interview with CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Gordon AtherleyVoice AmericaMarch 1st, 2016A discussion of human gene editing, and the ways it should and not be used.
CRISPR patent belongs to aliensby Sara ReardonNatureFebruary 29th, 2016Returning with a new season after over a decade, The X Files uses technologies like CRISPR gene editing to tell stories at the intersection of science, politics, and conspiracy theories.
Human Babies from CRISPR Pigsby Stuart NewmanHuffPost ScienceFebruary 29th, 2016300 years after Jonathan Swift, can anyone doubt that the grandchildren of some people born this year will be delivered fresh off the farm?
How Brave New World Is Sneaking Up On Us by John FarrellForbesFebruary 28th, 2016Paul Knoepfler is not a scientist given to alarmism, but it’s pretty clear from his informative new book that the Brave New World is already upon us.
How CRISPR Made it Onto The X-Filesby Jon BrooksKQEDFebruary 25th, 2016The plot involves humans who are stripped of their immune systems, accomplished via CRISPR/Cas9.
Researchers claim to have made artificial mouse sperm in a dishby David CyranoskiNature NewsFebruary 25th, 2016A study describes 12-month old mice born from eggs fertilized with artificial spermatids, but some are not convinced by the report.
The Possibility Of A Three-Parent Baby[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Indira LakshamananThe Diane Rehm ShowFebruary 25th, 2016A discussion about the science, ethics, and politics of a controversial technique that is a form of inheritable genetic modification.
Chinese Cloning Firm Pumps $15 Million into California Stem Cell Businessby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportFebruary 24th, 2016A financially strapped California stem cell company could be taken over by a Chinese enterprise that says it can clone humans, and is "only holding off for fear of the public reaction."
China Builds a Faster Beagle in Gene-Editing Race With U.SBloomberg NewsFebruary 23rd, 2016U.S. companies racing to develop a promising gene editing technology are up against a formidable competitor -- the Chinese government.
Carrie D. Wolinetz of the NIH on gene editingby Xavier SymonsBioEdgeFebruary 23rd, 2016"Unlike non-heritable human gene editing, editing of embryos raises many scientific, safety, ethical, societal, and policy issues that need to be sufficiently considered and addressed."
Should you edit your children’s genes?by Erika Check HaydenNature NewsFebruary 23rd, 2016In the fierce debate about CRISPR gene editing, it’s time to give patients a voice.
Gene Editing: Coming to a Kitchen Counter Near Youby Danielle VentonKQED ScienceFebruary 22nd, 2016Is it a good idea to make science more accessible by providing low-cost supplies for people to practice gene editing at home?
What’s the difference between genetic engineering and eugenics?by Robert GebelhoffThe Washington PostFebruary 22nd, 2016Where we draw the line between "negative eugenics" and "positive genetic intervention" is a political question.
Harvard’s Eugenics Eraby Adam S. CohenHarvard MagazineFebruary 19th, 2016Given that Harvard affiliates will play a large role in genetic engineering, it is important to contemplate how wrong so many people tied to the University got it the first time—and to think hard about how, this time, to get it right.
Gene editing: The next frontier in America’s abortion wars[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Sarah KarlinPoliticoFebruary 16th, 2016"Fears about eugenics and a brave new world are concerns that are shared by people across the political spectrum."
Cautious approach warranted for new gene-editing techniqueby Paul KnoepflerThe Sacramento BeeFebruary 13th, 2016We 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.
Patients Unsure about the Value of Cutting-Edge Gene-Editing Technologyby Dina Fine MaronScientific AmericanFebruary 12th, 2016Some affected groups are still weighing the potential benefits and threats of deploying such interventions for medical care.
This CRISPR Momentby Françoise Baylis and Janet RossantThe WalrusFebruary 12th, 2016Editing human DNA the way we edit text—are we ready?
A Nobel Laureate's 'Unsettling Note' From California's Human Gene Editing Conference[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportFebruary 12th, 2016The Center for Genetics and Society weighs in on the possibility that California's stem cell agency will fund germline gene editing research.
California stem cell agency may fund tests to edit genes in human embryos[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Melody PetersenLos Angeles TimesFebruary 12th, 2016The state's stem cell institute is reviewing its ethics guidelines to determine whether they are strong enough to safely allow studies in which scientists would attempt to edit the genes of embryos.
STAT-Harvard poll: Americans say no to ‘designer babies’by Sharon BegleySTATFebruary 11th, 2016Most Americans oppose using powerful new technology to "alter the genes of unborn babies," according to a new poll, even to prevent serious inherited diseases.
California’s Stem Cell Agency Considers “Editing” Human Embryosby Marcy Darnovsky Biopolitical Times February 9th, 2016Three takeaway points from CIRM’s recent meeting on human gene editing.
We Are This Close to "Designer Babies"[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Nina Liss-SchultzMother JonesFebruary 8th, 2016Issues to consider in light of the UK's approval of using CRISPR gene editing on human embryos for research.
Stem cell agency to begin review of human genetic changes by David JensenCapitol WeeklyFebruary 5th, 2016California’s stem cell agency has embarked on what is likely to be an exhaustive review of its rules for research involving genetic alteration of human embryos.
The billion-dollar CRISPR patent battle: A case of big money shaping scienceby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesFebruary 5th, 2016"The real question is whether the future of the technology will be guided by the need to learn more, or the opportunity to earn more."
Zika Virus Threat Puts Abortion Rights And Disability Rights On Collision Courseby Chloe AngyalHuffPost PoliticsFebruary 4th, 2016As the epidemic spreads, women's rights to abortion are a hot topic -- but what about the rights of the disabled?
The Embarrassing, Destructive Fight over Biotech's Big Breakthrough by Stephen S. HallScientific AmericanFebruary 4th, 2016The gene-editing technology known as CRISPR has spawned an increasingly unseemly brawl over who will reap the rewards.
A Cautious Approach to Mitochondrial Replacementby Françoise BaylisImpact EthicsFebruary 3rd, 2016While the motivation with mitochondrial replacement (MRT) is distinct from cloning, the transfer technology is the same. MRT can legitimately be seen as a “quiet way station” in which to refine the techniques essential for other genetic interventions (including cloning).
Three-parent DNA treatment for rare defect raises debate [with video][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]PBS NewshourFebruary 3rd, 2016PBS's William Brangham discusses germline mitochondrial manipulations with Jeffrey Kahn and Marcy Darnovsky.
Babies With Genes From 3 People Could Be Ethical, Panel Says [with audio] [cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPRFebruary 3rd, 2016"People are talking about going forward not just with this, but with the kind of genetic engineering that will produce outright genetically modified human beings."
Three-parent DNA treatment for rare defect raises debate on PBS Newshour
[Video]
[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]February 3rd, 2016Go ahead given to technology that would replace original mitochondria in either the mother’s egg or in the parents’ embryo with healthy mitochondria from a third person. A child born this way would then be carrying the DNA of three different people.
Center for Genetics and Society Comments on Just-Released Report on Germline Mitochondrial Manipulations[Press statement]February 3rd, 2016The National Academy of Medicine's report conclusion – that no ethical or policy considerations stand in the way of clinical investigations going forward – seems at odds with the many cautions, risks, and concerns that it raises.
Britian has jumped the gun on gene editing by Donna DickensonTelegraph [UK]February 2nd, 2016Particularly where the germline of humanity as a whole is concerned, caution and cooperation should prevail.
We Are Not Ready to Edit Human Embryos Yetby J. Craig VenterTimeFebruary 2nd, 2016Due to our insufficient knowledge, the slippery slope to human enhancement, and the global ban on human experimentation, we need to better understand the software of life before we begin re-writing this code.
Debating UK approval of gene editing in human embryos
[MP3]
[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Larry MantleAirTalk, KPCCFebruary 1st, 2016The decision by Britain's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority marks the first time a country's national regulator has approved the technique.
Video Review: Talking Biopolitics – A conversation with Paul Knoepfler and Nathaniel Comfortby Dr. Rebecca DimondBioNewsFebruary 1st, 2016"The discussion was timely, following the passing of legislation on mitochondrial donation in the UK in 2015, and amid current debates about gene-editing technologies, such as CRISPR."
U.K. Scientists Given OK to Use ‘Gene Editing’ on Human Embryos[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by David MillsHealthlineFebruary 1st, 2016The experiments raise raised concerns over the possibility that “designer babies” will eventually be produced by using gene editing to alter the DNA of embryos.
Britain approves controversial gene-editing experiments[cites CGS’s Marcy Darnovsky]by Maria ChengAssociated PressFebruary 1st, 2016"This is the first step on a path that scientists have carefully mapped out towards the legalization" of genetically modified babies, said David King of Human Genetics Alert.
Center for Genetics and Society Statement on UK Approval of Gene Editing Research Using Human Embryos[Press statement]February 1st, 2016“Is today's decision part of a strategy to overturn the widespread agreement that puts genetically modified humans off limits?”
A Monkey Circles in a Cageby Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 29th, 2016Researchers created transgenic monkeys with a gene duplication associated with Rett Syndrome autism in humans, raising concerns of the limits and ethics of using animal models in biomedical research.
Who's Looking to Profit from Human Germline Changes?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 28th, 2016Billionaire Randal Kirk has assembled the components to commercialize heritable human genetic modification.
Human Genetic Alteration and Gold Mines: California's Stem Cell Agency Takes a Hard Look at Research Standardsby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJanuary 27th, 2016The $3 billion California stem cell agency will convene a livestreamed day-long meeting to examine agency policies dealing with human gene editing.
Will creating monkeys with autism-like symptoms be any use?by Sam WongNew ScientistJanuary 25th, 2016Researchers are divided on whether a condition like autism can be meaningfully reproduced in monkeys.
The Battle Over CRISPR Could Make Or Break Some Biotech Companies[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Farai ChideyaFiveThirtyEightJanuary 25th, 2016CRISPR 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.
Why Morphological Freedom Is a Fantasy: Your Body Isn't Just Your Own[cites CGS]by Sarah SloatInverseJanuary 21st, 2016Transhumanists claim complete freedom to modify their bodies, but that absolutist stance could endanger future generations.
Creativity Week: Playing God with CRISPR[cites CGS' Elliot Hosman]by Aubrey SandersBreakThru RadioJanuary 16th, 2016Elliot Hosman discusses one of the most profoundly consequential debates modern science has ever faced.
CRISPR Patent War: Billions at Stake for UC Berkeleyby Lindsey HoshawKQEDJanuary 15th, 2016Whoever gets the patent will set the terms for how the technology is used.
Are we one step closer to designer babies? Genetically-modified embryos could be made in British labs 'within months' if approved tomorrow by Fiona MacRaeThe Daily Mail [UK]January 13th, 2016A researcher has asked for permission to study how manipulating an embryo’s genes would affect the first week of its development.
The Third Rail of the CRISPR Moonshot: Minding the Germlineby Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 13th, 2016Millions of dollars are flowing to biotech companies developing gene-editing therapies. Fortunately, most are publicly denouncing germline applications.
False Inevitabilities and Irrational Exuberanceby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJanuary 8th, 2016In the aftermath on December’s gene editing summit, disquieting themes have emerged in some mainstream media and science blogs.
Who is Smart Enough to Decide how to Improve the Human Species?by Joel AchenbachThe Washington PostJanuary 5th, 2016Genetic engineering and molecular biology benefit from the digital revolution. This convergence is arguably one of the biggest stories in the world right now.
King for a Day? On What’s Wrong With Changing the World for the Better by Roland NadlerLaw and Biosciences BlogJanuary 4th, 2016"It’s not so much about ethics (as we usually envision it) as about political philosophy. I’d exhort us to be quicker to ask: who died and made you king?"
Historic CRISPR Patent Fight Primed To Become Head-To-Head Battleby Alex LashXconomyJanuary 4th, 2016A USPTO patent examiner recommends kicking Jennifer Doudna's application upstairs. The case will be decided under the old "first to invent" standard.
A startup that wants to start using a controversial gene-editing tool in people by 2017 just filed to go publicby Lydia RamseyBusiness InsiderJanuary 4th, 2016Editas Medicine, co-founded by Feng Zhang, is developing a CRISPR gene therapy for rare blindness with human trials planned for 2017.
'We Won't Make Frankensteins,' Cloning Giant Boyalife's CEO Saysby David Lom and Eric BaculinaoNBC NewsDecember 26th, 2015The head of a Chinese firm that is building the world's biggest animal cloning factory has vowed not to use the technology on people — for now, at least.
First GMO Corn, then Frankenfish, and Now — Get Ready for Designer Babies[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Janet PhelanActivist PostDecember 25th, 2015“The medical arguments are tenuous and the possible social consequences are grave” for modifying the human germline.
The Gene-Editing Tool on Every Drugmaker's Wish List This Yearby Caroline Chen and Doni BloomfieldBloombergDecember 23rd, 2015Complicating the race to apply CRISPR is a heated fight over who invented the approach and owns the right to use it, and how the industry will be regulated.
Biopolitical News of 2015by Elliot Hosman, Pete Shanks & Marcy Darnovsky, Biopolitical TimesDecember 22nd, 2015We highlight 2015’s breaking news stories about human biotech developments.
Bayer Forms Gene Editing Partnership with CRISPR Therapeuticsby Ludwig BurgerReutersDecember 21st, 2015Under the deal, the German drugmaker will pay for the joint venture's research over the next five years, 300 million euros in total.
We Can Design Our Descendants. But Should We?by Margaret SomervilleThe Globe and Mail [Canada]December 21st, 2015Ethically, we must place the future child at the centre of the decision-making. We must also protect society.
First Genetically Edited Cows Arrive at UC Davisby Edward OrtizSacramento BeeDecember 20th, 2015The two calves will never grow horns typical of their breed. Instead, they’ll always sport soft hair where hard mounds normally emerge.
Top Biopolitical Times Posts of 2015by Elliot Hosman, Pete Shanks & Marcy Darnovsky, Biopolitical TimesDecember 20th, 2015Here are a few of our favorites blogs of 2015.
GM Insects and Moral Blackmailby  Jack Stilgoe and Sarah HartleyThe Guardian [UK]December 17th, 2015Scientists have raised concerns about extreme and potentially existential environmental and security risks, including the extinction of species and/or ecosystems.
[Letter to the Editor] Genetic Controlby Marcy DarnovskyThe New YorkerDecember 14th, 2015CRISPR is a potentially society-altering technology, and democratic engagement with its trajectory is crucial and pressing.
Church May Back GM Embryos to Cure Inherited Diseasesby Oliver MoodyThe TimesDecember 14th, 2015The Church of England could agree to the genetic modification of human embryos.
Weak Arguments For Modifying the Human Germlineby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 10th, 2015At 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?by Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesDecember 10th, 2015Though #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 Modificationby Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesDecember 10th, 2015UC Davis researcher Paul Knoepfler fielded 100s of questions on the social and technical implications of genetically modifying human cells.
More Questions than Answers at Gene Editing Summit [cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Chloe PostonGenes to GenomesDecember 9th, 2015"Marcy Darnovsky reminded the room of the societal implications of germ line editing, warning that parents will want to choose traits that society values most."
Gene Editing: Hope, Hype, and Cautionby Daniel CallahanThe Hastings Center Bioethics ForumDecember 8th, 2015In the debate on germline gene editing, speculative harms are treated as fear mongering while speculative benefits are allowed to run wild.
Future proofingby Editorial BoardNatureDecember 8th, 2015Global discussions on human gene editing and climate change should not sidestep hard decisions on issues that will affect future generations.
About Us, Without Us: Inclusion in the Threat of Eradicationby Teresa Blankmeyer BurkeImpact EthicsDecember 8th, 2015Disability rights advocates are still excluded from conversations (such as the International Summit on Human Gene Editing) that involve the survival of our communities.
Should We Genetically Modify Our Children?by Jessica CussinsKennedy School ReviewDecember 7th, 2015We 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.
Debate begins over ethics of genetic editing[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks]by Michael CookBioEdgeDecember 5th, 2015Varying degrees of caution emerged at the Summit on Human Gene Editing.
Scientists urge caution on human gene editing[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]Al Jazeera AmericaDecember 4th, 2015Ethical questions triggered three days of debate among the scientists, policymakers and ethicists from 20 countries at the Washington, DC summit.
The Human Germline Genome Editing Debateby Charis ThompsonImpact EthicsDecember 4th, 2015The range of views expressed at the International Summit on Human Gene Editing underscores the need for broader and more inclusive public discussion.
Human gene editing is a social and political matter, not just a scientific oneby Marcy DarnovskyThe GuardianDecember 4th, 2015The organizing committee kicked the can down the road, leaving the door open for gene editing for human reproduction.
Scientists Seek Moratorium on Edits to Human Genome That Could Be Inheritedby Nicholas WadeThe New York TimesDecember 3rd, 2015An international group of scientists called for what would, in effect, be a moratorium on making inheritable changes to the human genome.
Gene editing: Is era of designer humans getting closer?[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Fergus WalshBBCDecember 3rd, 2015A Brave New World of designer humans - although still a long way off - has moved a step closer as a result new gene editing techniques.
No designer babies, but summit calls for cautious research[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Lauran NeergaardAPDecember 3rd, 2015The organizing committee argued that gene editing tools are nowhere near ready to use for pregnancy, but that research on embryos can proceed as society continues to grapple with the ethical questions.
Gene Editing: How much justice delayed or denied?by Nicholas G. EvansImpact EthicsDecember 2nd, 2015A nuanced examination of John Harris’ claims against the "unacceptable risks to future generations" associated with gene editing in human reproduction.
The major concern about a powerful new gene-editing technique that most people don't want to talk aboutby Tanya LewisBusiness InsiderDecember 2nd, 2015There'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.
This Week, Top Geneticists Want to Decide If GMO Humans Are OK [cites CGS’ Marcy Darnovsky]by Alex PearlmanVICE MotherboardDecember 2nd, 2015Using gene editing tools for reproduction "would be a radical rupture with past human practices that could have irreversible and reverberating impact on society.”
Scientists, Ethicists Debate Future of Gene Editing[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Karen PallaritoHealthDayDecember 2nd, 2015Stakeholders weigh in on new genetic engineering tools which could "all too easily open the door to new forms of inequality and discrimination."
Genetically engineered children?by Marcy DarnovskyThe HillDecember 1st, 2015The 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.
Le génie génétique face au risque eugéniste[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Corine LesnesLe MondeNovember 30th, 2015"Nous voulons être sûrs que la technologie soit utilisée pour traiter les maladies et non pour créer des surhommes."
Opposition mounts to genetic modification of human embryos[cites CGS and consultant Pete Shanks]by Julie SteenhuysenReutersNovember 30th, 2015A group of U.S. scientists and activists call for a global ban on the use of new tools to edit the genes of human embryos or gametes for assisted reproduction.
US scientists urge ban on human genetic modification[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks]by Ryan RifaiAl JazeeraNovember 30th, 2015A 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 Humansby Paul KnoepflerSlateNovember 30th, 2015The technology for potentially creating designer babies has progressed much faster than the deliberation of societal implications and permissible uses.
Extreme Genetic Engineering and the Human FutureReclaiming Emerging Biotechnologies for the Common GoodThe Center for Genetics and Society and Friends of the Earth examine the human applications of synthetic biology. This 50-page report challenges claims that this new set of genetic engineering techniques should be seen as "the future of manufacturing, engineering and medicine."
Center for Genetics and Society releases open letter and report calling for prohibitions on human germline engineering[Press statement]November 29th, 2015Scholars, health practitioners, scientists, public interest advocates, and others have signed a CGS-organized open letter calling for strengthened prohibitions against heritable human genetic modification.
Editing the Human GenomeBBC Newshour ExtraNovember 28th, 2015An hour-long radio broadcast with panelists Annalien Bredenoord, Robin Lovell-Badge, Marcy Darnovsky, and Michael Le Page, hosted by Owen Bennett Jones.
Future of human gene editing to be decided at landmark summit[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Ian SampleThe GuardianNovember 28th, 2015A "global discussion" will ask whether humans should rewrite the DNA of future generations.
Re-Watching 'Gattaca' at the Dawn of the Age of CRISPR and Genetic Editingby Yasmin TayagInverseNovember 23rd, 2015Now that its predictions are becoming true, Andrew Niccol's 1997 gene-engineered dystopia is especially uncomfortable.
First CRISPR Gene Drive in Mosquitoes Aims to Eradicate Malariaby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewNovember 23rd, 2015The scientific community is at odds over whether it is safe to release a "selfish" gene into the wild.
Open Letter Calls for Prohibition on Reproductive Human Germline Modificationby Center for Genetics and SocietyExperiments aimed at creating genetically modified humans are unneeded from a medical view, extremely risky to any resulting children, and profoundly dangerous from a social perspective. Now is the crucial moment for taking a clear public stand.
F.D.A. Takes Issue With the Term ‘Non-G.M.O.’by Stephanie StromThe New York TimesNovember 20th, 2015"They’re conflating a very new and novel technology with traditional types of breeding...It’s like saying an abacus is very much like a computer."
Scientists may soon be able to 'cut and paste' DNA to cure deadly diseases and design perfect babiesby Tanya LewisBusiness InsiderNovember 19th, 2015CRISPR gene editing tools are being proposed for a wide range of uses, many of which pose risks to ecological systems and human society.
CRISPR Gene Editing: Proofreaders and Undo Buttons, but Ever "Safe" Enough?by Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesNovember 19th, 2015Recent trends include research reports of "spellcheck" and "undo" functions associated with CRISPR gene editing, and a shift toward greater caution about germline applications.
Gene Therapy: Comeback? Cost-Prohibitive?by Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesNovember 19th, 2015Recent 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.
Gene Manipulation In Human Embryos Provokes Ethical Questions: This controversial new research could have some serious, long-term societal implications. [Video][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]
Gene Manipulation In Human Embryos Provokes Ethical Questions[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Rahel GebreyesHuffPost LiveNovember 17th, 2015CGS's Marcy Darnovsky discusses the social implications of leveraging CRISPR gene editing tools to pursue enhanced children.
Better Babiesby Nathaniel ComfortAeonNovember 17th, 2015The 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.
Why FBI and the Pentagon are afraid of gene drivesby Sharon BegleyStat NewsNovember 12th, 2015Officials from DARPA to the United Nations bioweapons office are concerned about the potential of “gene drives” to alter evolution in ways scientists can’t imagine.
Gene therapies offer dramatic promise but shocking costsby Carolyn Y. Johnson & Brady DennisThe Washington PostNovember 11th, 2015Researchers have partially restored a patient's vision by targeting a gene associated with Leber's congenital amaurosis, but the treatment could cost $500,000 per eye.
The Risks of Assisting Evolutionby Elizabeth AlterThe New York TimesNovember 10th, 2015Crispr-Cas9 and gene drive allow us to bend evolution to our will, but will they spark an ecological catastrophe?
Eggs unlimitedby Jennifer Couzin-FrankelScienceNovember 6th, 2015OvaScience's fertility procedure appalls some reproductive biologists, and is currently not permitted in the US. But the company is marketing its treatment in Canada and some analysts are upbeat.
Should Human Stem Cells Be Used To Make Partly Human Chimeras?by Rob SteinNPRNovember 6th, 2015The NIH has declared a moratorium on research that puts human stem cells into nonhuman animal embryos.
Powerful 'Gene Drive' Can Quickly Change an Entire Speciesby Rob SteinNPRNovember 5th, 2015Scientists are creating insects genetically engineered to produce only certain types of offspring. Uncertainty about environmental effects is causing widespread and serious concern.
CRISPR Gene Editing to Be Tested on People by 2017, Says Editasby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewNovember 5th, 2015The test, to treat a rare form of blindness, would likely be the first to use CRISPR to directly edit the DNA of a person.
Everything you need to know about why CRISPR is such a hot technology[cites CGS]by Dominic BasultoThe Washington PostNovember 4th, 2015Venture capital is responding to the hype surrounding new genetic engineering tools, but many are concerned by the controversial proposition of genetically modifying new humans.
Would you edit your unborn child’s genes so they were successful?by Mairi LevittThe GuardianNovember 3rd, 2015A parent’s desire to do the best for their child could create problems.
'Modern twist' on fertility technique may offer hope for sterile menby Denis CampbellThe GuardianNovember 2nd, 2015Fourteen children have been born in a trial in Japan using immature sperm cells, injected into electrically stimulated eggs – a method banned in the UK since the 1990s.
Human Gene Editing Frequently Asked QuestionsShould we as a society condone the genetic modification of future human beings? Here we take on some common questions about gene editing the human germline.
Gene Editing and Eugenics (Opinions Vary)by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2015A 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?
NAS Human Gene Editing Meeting: Agenda & Public Participationby Paul KnoepflerThe NicheOctober 26th, 2015The National Academies have released a draft agenda for the upcoming summit on human gene editing.
Four Synthetic Biology Inventions That Flummox the Fedsby Kelly ServickScienceOctober 15th, 2015As researchers develop ways to genetically engineer living organisms, studies highlight the lack of clarity about which US regulatory agency would be charged with approval or oversight.
The CRISPR Germline Debate: Closed to the Public?by Elliot HosmanBiopolitical TimesOctober 15th, 2015Recent CRISPR media coverage focuses on hype rather than engaging the ethical and social implications of the groundbreaking technology—even as many call for public inclusion in the genome editing debate.
After Asilomarby EditorialNature NewsOctober 14th, 2015Scientist-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.
Where in the world could the first CRISPR baby be born?by Heidi LedfordNature NewsOctober 13th, 2015Nature 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.
Video Review: Talking Biopolitics[cites CGS and CGS fellow Lisa Ikemoto]by Rebecca DimondBioNewsOctober 12th, 2015George Annas spoke with Lisa Ikemoto about his new book on genomic medicine and genetic testing.
UNESCO Calls for More Regulations on Genome Editing, DTC Genetic Testingby StaffGenomeWebOctober 6th, 2015The organization's International Bioethics Committee reaffirms its support for a moratorium on modifying the human germline.
Designer babies crawl closerby Laurie ZolothCosmos MagazineOctober 5th, 2015Embryo engineering has been rejected by every ethics committee that has ever considered it.
CRISPR-Cpf1: Hype by Association by Elliot HosmanOctober 2nd, 2015Amid 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.
List of Speakers for NAS Meeting on Human Gene Editingby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogOctober 1st, 2015A preliminary list of speakers for the National Academies' international summit on human gene editing has emerged, showing a troubling lack of diversity.
Gene-edited 'micropigs' to be sold as pets at Chinese instituteby David CyranoskiNature NewsSeptember 29th, 2015Originally designed as models for testing expensive drugs in smaller quantities, the pigs are now being marketed as customizable pets.
Scientists Find Gene Editing with CRISPR Hard to Resist[quotes Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks]by Cameron ScottHealthlineSeptember 29th, 2015CRISPR is so cheap and easy to use, we may be genetically engineering human embryos before we have time to decide if we should.
Limits of Responsibility: Genome Editing, Asilomar, and the Politics of Deliberationby J. Benjamin HurlbutHastings Center ReportSeptember 28th, 2015What justifies the notion that CRISPR has caught us off guard or that it is appropriate for experts to retreat into secluded spaces to define the parameters of public debate?
New CRISPR Protein Slices through Genomes, Patent Problemsby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewSeptember 25th, 2015With patent rights and Nobel Prize announcements pending, the Broad Institute's Feng Zhang reports the development of a new CRISPR gene editing enzyme.
What If Tinder Showed Your IQ?by Dalton ConleyNautilusSeptember 24th, 2015Hypothetical scenarios from a future in which human genetic engineering is pervasive.
Considering CRISPR: Putting a thumb on the scale?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 24th, 2015The National Academies have announced the date for their International Summit on Human Gene Editing. Are some of the organizers trying to predetermine the outcome?
The hidden risks for 'three-person' babiesby Garry HamiltonNature NewsSeptember 23rd, 2015"There's a definite possibility you'd see things like disrupted fertility function, various forms of metabolic syndromes and changes in things that relate to metabolism in general."
CRISPR Democracy: Gene Editing and the Need for Inclusive Deliberationby J. Benjamin Hurlbut, Krishanu Saha, & Sheila JasanoffIssues in Science and TechnologySeptember 21st, 2015CRISPR raises basic questions about the rightful place of science in governing the future in democratic societies.
British scientists seek to edit the genes of embryos; bioethicists warn of potential dangers[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Ariana Eunjung ChaWashington PostSeptember 18th, 2015In a "troubling and provocative move," UK researchers have applied to genetically modify human embryos, short-circuiting a nascent international conversation.
Center for Genetics and Society comments on First Application to Pursue Genome Editing Research in Human Embryos[Press statement]September 18th, 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."
Stem Cell Experts Support Using CRISPR In Human Embryosby Steph YinPopular ScienceSeptember 10th, 2015Bioethicist Art Caplan responds that "human embryo work is interesting, but to me it should be completely theoretical. We don’t know what we’re doing yet."
GM embryos 'essential', says reportby James GallagherBBCSeptember 10th, 2015A stem cell consortium issues a statement advocating for germline gene editing of human embryos, and that GM babies may be "morally acceptable" under some circumstances in the future.
Fast Forward-Pause-Stop: The 3-Speed Human Germline Debateby Lisa C. Ikemoto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 10th, 2015CRISPR’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.
The Moral Imperative for Psychologistsby George Annas, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 9th, 2015Is Steven Pinker’s recent essay a hidden plea to save scientific research from the perversion of ethically unfettered technological progress?
Why there’s an urgent need for a moratorium on gene editingby Vivek WadhwaWashington PostSeptember 8th, 2015Changing human DNA creates a frightening ethical grey zone; no one is prepared for an era when editing DNA is as easy as editing a Microsoft Word document.
Pinker's Damn: A Naive Rejection of Controls Over Genetic Engineeringby Stuart Newman, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 4th, 2015Steven 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.
The Rhetorical Two-Step: Steven Pinker, CRISPR, and Disabilityby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 4th, 2015Steven 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.
Calls for IVF laws to be changed to take advantage of gene editing technique by Steve ConnorThe IndependentSeptember 2nd, 2015A statement by medical research funders in the UK suggests that benefits of modifying the human germ-line could outweigh the ethical objections.
Biohackers Gear Up for Genome Editingby Heidi LedfordNature NewsAugust 26th, 2015DIY labs and synthetic biology "amateurs" are working with cheap and easy-to-use CRISPR gene-editing technology to create novel GM organisms, causing concerns about regulation and safety.
Alphabet/Google Isn’t Evil but Genetically Modifying Mosquitos Might Beby Mic WrightThe Next WebAugust 25th, 2015Recent biotech hype about using gene drive to reduce global malaria is best understood as a new chapter in humanity's historically poor record of forcibly changing ecosystems.
CRISPR: The Latest Biotech Hypeby Anne Fausto-SterlingBoston ReviewAugust 24th, 2015What 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.
Genome Editing: The Age of the Red Pen [Cites CGS]The EconomistAugust 22nd, 2015Germline editing is widely seen as a bourn no ethical traveller should cross. Some scientists want a moratorium on any work aimed at engineering the germ line; others say basic research should continue.
Conversation with Kelly Hills: Human Genetic Modification & Bioethicsby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogAugust 20th, 2015“It can be very tempting, when `doing science,’ to merely think about the pieces in front of you: I’m swapping out broken DNA for something better! But…how do we define broken? How do we define better?”
What Will 120 Million CRISPR Dollars Buy?by Elliot HosmanBiopolitical TimesAugust 13th, 2015As Editas Medicine receives major injection of financing, how will the genetics boom impact funding for public health?
It's Time for an Uncomfortable Discussion about What it Really Means to Engineer a 'Better Baby'[Australia] by Kevin LoriaBusiness Insider [Australia]August 13th, 2015“Humans have more flaws than we know what to do with ... One of them is that we don’t know what it would mean to make a better baby.”
Exciting CRISPR-Powered “Gene Drive” Also Has Scientists Deeply Concernedby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogAugust 12th, 2015While potential heritable genetic modification via CRISPR is generating substantial discussion, gene drive warrants increased attention because of its broad power and self-propagating nature.
Putting Ourselves in Harm's Way: Thoughts on Pinker and the Role of Bioethicsby Nathaniel Comfort, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 12th, 2015Nathaniel Comfort confronts Steven Pinker and the legacy of biomedicine, arguing ethicists and historians need to "get in harm's way to spare harm to others."
CRISPR Race Heats Up As Gates, Crossovers Put $120M Into Editas by Ben FidlerXconomyAugust 10th, 2015Some of the biggest names on Wall Street and elsewhere are handing the largest round of funding yet to a CRISPR-Cas9 startup.
Designing Life from Scratch: A Fledgling Field is About to Take Offby Lisa M. KriegerSan Jose Mercury NewsAugust 8th, 2015Scientists increasingly are designing life from scratch, using inexpensive, fast and accurate tools to create and assemble strands of DNA like tinkertoys.
The ethical and social concerns of modifying our DNA[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Devin PowellWashington PostAugust 3rd, 2015"Scientists may be being carried away by their own enthusiasm for what they’ve developed," says Marcy Darnovsky.
'Gene Drive': Scientists Sound Alarm Over Supercharged GM Organisms Which Could Spread in the Wild and Cause Environmental Disastersby Steve ConnorThe IndependentAugust 2nd, 2015Scientists fear new technique for generating “supercharged” genetically modified organisms that can spread rapidly in the wild may be misused and cause health emergency or environmental disaster.
CRISPR/Cas Gene-Editing Technique Holds Great Promise, but Research Moratorium Makes Sense Pending Further Study by Jeff Bessen The Conversation July 29th, 2015In the enthusiasm and hype surrounding CRISPR, it is easy to forget that the technology has been in wide use for barely three years and the accompanying risks are not yet known.
The Facts Behind #CRISPRfacts and the Hype Behind CRISPRby Jonathan ChernoguzBiopolitical TimesJuly 28th, 2015WIRED's hyped CRISPR cover article triggered a wave of tweets and criticism.
Cutting-Edge Technology and Mitochondrial Diseases - Where is the Limit?by Dusko IlicBioNewsJuly 27th, 2015In their latest study, Shoukrat Mitalipov and collaborators report on two potential 'gene correction' strategies that can help patients with mitochondrial diseases.
The Power to Remake a Species[quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rebecca BoyleFuture of Life Institute July 23rd, 2015CRISPR could be used to eliminate malaria-carrying mosquitoes, but further public discussion is needed.
Slipping Into Eugenics? Nathaniel Comfort on the History Behind CRISPRby Elliot HosmanBiopolitical TimesJuly 23rd, 2015A historian unravels the social and political context of genetic research and eugenics in the United States.
Can We Cure Genetic Diseases Without Slipping Into Eugenics?by Nathaniel ComfortThe NationJuly 16th, 2015Gene editing could correct genetic mutations for serious illnesses. Will it also create a new eugenics of personal choice?
Mitochondria Swapby  Kate YandellThe ScientistJuly 15th, 2015Researchers have generated patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells corrected for mitochondrial defects, but no immediate clinical application is in sight.
Last Scientist in Congress has Human Genetic Engineering Warningby Bill FosterThe HillJuly 8th, 2015"We are on the verge of a technological breakthrough that could change the future of humankind; we must not blindly charge ahead."
Talking About the Germlineby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 8th, 2015The debate about heritable human genetic modification continues, with opinions ranging from enthusiasm to dismay, and strong arguments for political as well as scientific involvement.
Our Focus on the Future Present by Jacob CornInnovative Genomics Initiative blogJuly 6th, 2015At this time, the Innovative Genomics Initiative Lab will not do research on human germline editing for the following several reasons.
Ethics of Gene Editing[with CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Betty RollinKQED Religion & Ethics NewsweeklyJuly 2nd, 2015Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society discusses possible consequences of human germline gene editing for future generations.
Gene Editingby EditorialNature July 1st, 2015Legislators in the US House of Representatives are asserting themselves in the human genetic modification debate, but as public awareness grows this much-needed ethical discussion will take root in broader society.
Genetically Modified Humans? Seven Reasons to Say “No”by Center for Genetics and SocietyCrossing the threshold into inheritable human genetic alterations has long been considered dangerously unacceptable for both safety and social reasons.
Who's Advising the Government on Human Genetics?by Alice MaynardBioNewsJune 29th, 2015A diversity of voices is needed to hold the UK government accountable, instead of relying upon experts to predict long-term consequences no one can accurately foresee.
Editing Of Human Embryo Genes Raises Ethics Questionsby Britt E. EricksonChemical & Engineering NewsJune 29th, 2015With the promise of gene-editing tools come worries that the technology could be used to create designer babies with enhanced traits, such as higher intelligence or greater beauty.
The Promise and Peril of Crisprby John Lauerman and Caroline ChenBloomberg BusinessweekJune 25th, 2015The "cheap gene-editing method could lead to cures — and frankenbabies."
US Congress Moves to Block Human-Embryo Editingby Sara ReardonNature NewsJune 25th, 2015The House appropriations committee has approved a spending bill that would prohibit the FDA from spending money to evaluate research or clinical applications on gene editing in human embryos.
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: NAS and NAM Initiative on Human Gene Editingby AnnouncementCommittee On Science, Technology, and LawJune 24th, 2015The National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine are launching a major initiative to guide decision making about controversial new research involving human gene editing.
CRISPR: Move Beyond Differencesby Charis ThompsonNatureJune 24th, 2015Researchers and ethicists need to see past what can seem to be gendered debates when it comes to the governance of biotechnology.
A 250,000-fold Oversight on 3-person IVF Mitochondrial Transfer?by Paul KnoepflerStem Cell BlogJune 23rd, 2015The potential impact of 3-person IVF technology must be multiplied perhaps by 250,000 relative to a change in a single nuclear gene in a fertilized egg.
CRISPR: Science Can't Solve itby Daniel SarewitzNature CommentJune 23rd, 2015Democratically weighing up the benefits and risks of gene editing and artificial intelligence is a political endeavour, not an academic one.
"Jurassic World" and the Dinosaurs at the USDAby Rachel SmolkerTruthoutJune 22nd, 2015The regulations of the US Department of Agriculture are in desperate need of an overhaul if they are to protect the public from the derailing of billions of years of evolution for the purpose of corporate profit-making.
Manipulating the Genome of Human Embryos: Some Unforeseen Effectsby Craig HoldregeThe Nature InstituteJune 22nd, 2015Over and beyond technical issues is the pressing ethical concern: should researchers cross the line into genetically manipulating human embryos?
The Science and Ethics of Genetically Engineered Human DNAby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 18th, 2015Discussion of germline genetic modification continues, most recently in the House of Representatives Research and Technology Subcommittee, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
UK Seeks Regulatory Advice for “Mitochondrial Replacement,” Fails to Mention Cross-Generational Implicationsby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 17th, 2015How does one go about regulating the world’s first cross-generational biological experiment in human germline modification? The regulating body in charge isn’t exactly sure.
California Stem Cell Agency Symposium: 'Vague Fears' vs. Potential Genetic Alteration of Human Race[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJune 11th, 2015California’s $3 billion stem cell agency has called a high-level meeting for next fall to examine a "red-hot" issue that many researchers say could lead to alteration of the human race.
Should We Edit the Genetic Essence of Life?by Margaret SomervilleThe Globe and MailJune 8th, 2015Will we create a new class-based society of the “gene rich” and “gene poor”? Is there a human right not to be designed?
Genetics in Medicine — Progress and Pitfallsby EditorialThe LancetJune 6th, 2015According to a White House statement, the "administration believes that altering the human germline for clinical purposes is a line that should not be crossed at this time."
CRISPR, The Disruptorby Heidi LedfordNature NewsJune 3rd, 2015A powerful gene-editing technology is the biggest game changer to hit biology since PCR. But with its huge potential come pressing concerns.
Brave New Genomeby Eric S. LanderNew England Journal of MedicineJune 3rd, 2015It has been only about a decade since we first read the human genome. We should exercise great caution before we begin to rewrite it.
CIRM Pursues “Prudent Path” Forward with Genome Editing Technologiesby Jonathan ThomasThe Stem CellarJune 1st, 2015CIRM Board Chair Jonathan Thomas will convene a public workshop on genome editing technologies this November.
Tired Tropes and New Twists in the Debate about Human Germline Modificationby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMay 28th, 2015Techno-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.
The Lessons of Asilomar for Today’s Scienceby Alexander CapronThe New York TimesMay 28th, 2015Attempts 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.
Academies Wrestle with Germline Editing[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Alex PhilippidisGenetic Engineering & Biotechnology NewsMay 27th, 2015“We need many Asilomar-type meetings" and participants should include "both scholars and non-scholars — people from public interest organizations of different kinds, labor unions, community groups, and church groups."
Let’s Talk About the Ethics of Germline Modificationby Gregor WolbringImpact EthicsMay 27th, 2015We need clarity about where the public discussion should take place, what exactly it should focus on, and who should participate.
Center for Genetics and Society comments on White House and National Academies approaches to altering the human germline[Press statement]May 27th, 2015“The endorsement of a pause by the White House is an important first step."
The Scope of Eugenics: A Workshopby Jonathan ChernoguzBiopolitical TimesMay 27th, 2015The four-day workshop, organized by the Edmonton-based Living Archives Project on Eugenics in Western Canada, brought together early-career scholars interested in eugenics to discuss historical models and forms of "Newgenics."
A Note on Genome Editingby John P. HoldrenOffice of Science and Technology PolicyMay 26th, 2015The Administration believes that altering the human germline for clinical purposes is a line that should not be crossed at this time.
Public Polling on Human Genetic Modification: Mixed, but Favor Moratoriumby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogMay 23rd, 2015The results make a case for more inclusion of the public in the dialogue on the use of gene editing in humans.
Eugenics Lurk in the Shadow of CRISPRby Robert PollackScienceMay 22nd, 2015This 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.
Why We Need To Talk Now About The Brave New World Of Editing Genesby Carey GoldbergWBURMay 22nd, 2015Suddenly, it’s no longer purely science fiction that humankind will have the ability to tinker with its own gene pool. But should it?
The New Ethical Frontier: DIY Eugenicsby Michael CookMercatorNetMay 21st, 2015A disruptive technology promises both medical advances and moral controversy.
US Science Academies Take on Human-Genome Editing[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Sara ReardonNatureMay 18th, 2015The academies will hold an international summit this autumn, and establish a working group to develop a consensus statement.
Francis Collins on CRISPR: "Designer Babies Make Great Hollywood — And Bad Science"by Julia BelluzVoxMay 18th, 2015There's a strong consensus that is a line we should not cross.
National Academies Will Meet to Guide 'Gene Editing' Researchby Lisa M. KriegerSan Jose Mercury NewsMay 18th, 2015The landmark conference will gather researchers and other experts. One observer warns, "This is an ethical, social and human issue, not a technological issue. I don't think the scientists are the right people to be addressing it."
The Genome Engineering Revolutionby Ryan Clarke and James HyunTech CrunchMay 13th, 2015A brief introduction to the CRISPR-cas9 system.
Gene Editing of Human Embryos – More Ethical Questions to Answerby Dr Calum MacKellarBioNewsMay 11th, 2015It is clear that the safety and efficiency of gene-editing procedures on early embryos give rise to significant biomedical challenges. Ethical questions also need to be addressed.
UC, MIT Battle Over Patent to Gene-Editing Toolby Lisa M. KriegerSan Jose Mercury NewsMay 9th, 2015UC Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna filed for a patent first. But in a shocking turn of events, MIT and Zhang won last month, earning the patent that covers use of CRISPR in every species except bacteria.
Stopping or Selling Human Germline Modification?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 7th, 2015Debate about human germline engineering has taken off since publication of a paper describing failed attempts to genetically modify a human embryo.
Splice of Lifeby EditorialNatureMay 6th, 2015Now is a good time for a public debate about human germline editing. Voices from civil society outside the closeted worlds of science, bioethics and regulation be heard, and their viewpoints must help to set the terms of the debate.
Editing Human Germline Cells Sparks Ethics Debate[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Tina Hesman SaeyScienceNewsMay 6th, 2015Powerful new gene editing tools could expand the scope of DNA alteration, forever changing humans' genetic destiny. Not everyone thinks scientists should wield that power.
CRISPR Germline Editing Reverberates Through Biotech Communityby BioentrepreneurNature News BlogApril 30th, 2015The group has called for a discussion of the potential merits and risks of the technology and a global moratorium on germline applications, until such time, if ever, responsible uses can be identified.
Could Genetically Engineered Humans Become a Reality?[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Robert KingWashington ExaminerApril 30th, 2015If you start to modify embryos for health reasons, then it could start humanity down a path towards non-therapeutic enhancements.
US 'Will Not Fund Research For Modifying Embryo DNA'[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by James GallagherBBCApril 30th, 2015Modifying the DNA of embryos is a "line that should not be crossed", a leading figure in US research says.
Statement on NIH Funding of Research Using Gene-Editing Technologies in Human Embryosby Francis CollinsNational Institute of HealthApril 29th, 2015There are unquantifiable safety issues, ethical issues presented by altering the germline in a way that affects the next generation without their consent, and a current lack of compelling medical applications justifying the use of CRISPR/Cas9 in embryos.
NIH Statement on Gene Editing Highlights Need for Stronger US Stance on Genetically Modified Humans, Says Public Interest Group[Press statement]April 29th, 2015CGS 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."
Re-Engineering Human Embryos[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Tom AshbrookOn PointApril 28th, 2015Chinese scientists re-engineer human embryo genes, and set off a global moral debate.
Position Statement from the Society for Developmental Biology on Genomic Editing in Human EmbryosSociety for Developmental BiologyApril 24th, 2015Such studies raise deep ethical concerns on their own, and in addition could lead to unanticipated consequences if manipulated embryos were implanted into a womb and allowed to develop to term.
Ethics of Embryo Editing Paper Divides Scientists[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Sara ReardonNature NewsApril 24th, 2015In March, rumours of the work prompted calls for a moratorium on such research. “No researcher has the moral warrant to flout the globally widespread policy agreement against altering the human germline.”
These are the Countries Where it's 'Legal' to Edit Human Embryos (Hint: the US is One) by Lauren F FriedmanBusiness InsiderApril 23rd, 2015In many places there are no laws preventing a scary "Gattaca scenario," where designer babies become routine — just some loose guidelines and a variable sense of ethics.
DNA Editing in Mouse Embryos Prevents Disease[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Sara ReardonNature NewsApril 23rd, 2015“It is a bit of a slippery slope — if you start allowing any editing tool, you open a Pandora’s box of the possibility to edit anything.”
Chinese Gene-Editing Experiment Creeps Out Scientists[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Maggie FoxNBC NewsApril 23rd, 2015The work raises the specter of eugenics — making designer babies, or trying to "improve" the human race.
Critics Lash Out At Chinese Scientists Who Edited DNA In Human Embryos[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPRApril 23rd, 2015For the first time, scientists have edited DNA in human embryos, a highly controversial step long considered off limits.
Editing Human Embryos: So This Happenedby Carl ZimmerNational GeographicApril 22nd, 2015A quick guide to the history behind this research, what the Chinese scientists did, and what it may signify.
Chinese Scientists Genetically Modify Human Embryosby David Cyranoski & Sara ReardonNature NewsApril 22nd, 2015Rumours of germline modification prove true — and look set to reignite an ethical debate.
Public interest group calls for strengthening global policies against human germline modification[Press statement]April 22nd, 2015“No researcher has the moral warrant to flout the globally widespread policy agreement against altering the human germline.”
Panel discussion on the Ethical and Social Policy Considerations of Novel Techniques for Prevention of Maternal Transmission of Mitochondrial DNA Diseases (March/April 2015) [VIDEO][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]
Calling for “More than a Moratorium” on Human Germline Modificationby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 9th, 2015A 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.
Genetic Engineering & The Future of Humankindby Jamie MetzlIvy MagazineApril 9th, 2015We’re on the verge of this fundamental transformation, not just of our reproductive processes, but of how we think of ourselves as humans.
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