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Pete Shanks's Blog Posts


Pete Shanks, MA, attended Oxford University, where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and moved to California in the mid-1970s. He has been active in a range of local and international political movements, while mostly making his living in the publishing industry, especially on the production side; he enjoys the craft of bookmaking. Appalled by the eugenic possibilities of biotechnology, he has worked with the Center for Genetics and Society since its earliest days. He is the author of Human Genetic Engineering: A Guide for Activists, Skeptics, and the Very Perplexed (Nation Books) and a regular contributor to Biopolitical Times.

Now They're Selling Synthetic Biology as Food?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 16th, 2014The commercialization of synthetic biology has been mostly based on public relations. Now there are efforts to introduce the technology to make food additives, quietly.
How Long Is Immortality?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 15th, 2014A Russian millionaire created a big splash less than a year ago when he sponsored a conference at the Lincoln Center about mind uploading and immortality, but seems to have fallen off the media radar, at least in the U.S.
Update on Controversial Police DNA Collection in the Statesby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 3rd, 2014In California, the Court of Appeals confirmed that police may take DNA samples from anyone arrested for a felony, at least for now; many other states, but not all, do the same.
Gene of the Week: Entrepreneurship (again)by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 2nd, 2014Scientists keep trying, and failing, to find the gene for starting a business.
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.
Human Longevity, Inc.by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMarch 6th, 2014Craig Venter's new genomics company may face some stiff competition.
Hwang's Patented Fraud and
New Questions about STAP Cells
by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesFebruary 19th, 2014Hwang Woo-suk is awarded a U.S. patent based on the work for which he was disgraced almost a decade ago; an investigation is launched into some apparently similar errors in the recent STAP cell papers.
Are STAP Stem Cells a Paradigm Changer? Hopes and Fearsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesFebruary 6th, 2014Two papers published in Nature on January 30 describe a new and remarkably simple technique for generating cells that can, like embryonic stem cells, develop into many different kinds of cells.
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.
Hit-and-Miss Genetic Testingby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 20th, 2014In at least four experiments, identical DNA has been sent to different direct-to-consumer testing companies. In every case, significant anomalies appeared.
Cloning Fraudster Profiled by Big Science Journalsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 19th, 2014Korean stem-cell fraudster Hwang Woo-suk has been busy trying to rehabilitate his reputation and collaborating with the Chinese genomic powerhouse BGI.
Butting Heads Over "De-extinction"by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 16th, 2014Paul Ehrlich and Stewart Brand have written contrasting essays debating the idea of "de-extinction.
Scientific Concerns about Claims of Stem Cell "Cures"by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 9th, 2014The most recent recurrence of stem cell mania is taking place in Italy, and there are problems worldwide.
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.
Top Biopolitical Times Posts of 2013by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 18th, 2013Some of our favorites of the year, including comments on genetic tests, mitochondrial replacement, IQ, eugenics, egg freezing and a whole lot more.
23andMe's Troubles: The Spat over Spit by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 5th, 2013First a warning letter from the FDA, then a class action lawsuit. What's next for Google-backed 23andMe, the only direct-to-consumer genetic testing company still in the game?
Techno-Libertarians and The Circleby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 5th, 2013The new novel by Dave Eggers is a provocative romp and a missed opportunity that does, however, raise a lot of very interesting questions about Silicon Valley culture.
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.
Human Germline Hype Pings around the Globeby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesNovember 20th, 2013Crispr gene-editing technology gets a publicity push from a failing British newspaper.
Synthetic Biology: Scientific Advances Outstrip Policy Discourseby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesNovember 7th, 2013Synthetic biology has been attracting general mainstream attention recently, not necessarily reflecting the latest scientific advances, which seem not to be engaging policymakers to the extent they should.
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