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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.

Moving on from Nicholas Wade to Continuing Concerns about Scientific Racismby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesAugust 14th, 2014Over 140 geneticists publicly criticized Nicholas Wade for distorting their work; but that is unlikely to stop such abuse permanently, and many issues still deserve airing.
Data Yearning to Become Expensive Informationby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesAugust 6th, 2014Big players have big “big data and genetics” plans afoot. Here’s the news from Genomics England, 23andMe, Google and Craig Venter.
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.
Shameful Conflicts of Interest Involving California's Stem Cell Agencyby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 9th, 2014The former President of CIRM just took a job on the board of a company that benefited from the agency's grants, highlighting the conflicts of interest that have always bedeviled the agency.
On Meta-Research and the STAP Fiascoby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 7th, 2014The authors of the ballyhooed STAP papers have reluctantly agreed to retract them; meanwhile Stanford is launching a project to investigate the process of research.
Implications of Genetic Diversity in Mexicoby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 25th, 2014Two genomic surveys, one of Mexicans and one of self-identified Latinos, raise questions about the scientific use of cultural terms, and also hold implications for personalized medicine.
Selling Stem Cells Honestlyby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 25th, 2014Scientists around the world are campaigning in favor of sensible regulation of stem-cell therapies. It’s about time.
When and How Will We Regulate Synthetic Biology?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 6th, 2014Several discussion documents about potential ways to regulate synthetic biology, nationally and internationally, have recently been published. They range from serious efforts to industry public relations exercises.
Wading into Racismby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 6th, 2014A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History has been out for a month, and the fuss, such as it was, seems to be dying down, but the underlying issues remain significant.
2-4-6-8, Novel Pairs to Replicateby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 29th, 2014A pair of artificial nucleotides have been inserted into E. coli, which reproduced the three base-pairs successfully until the source of nucleotides ran out.
Stem Cells in Sports Medicineby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 29th, 2014The use of adult stem cells in sports medicine is growing, although the evidence that they help post-operative recovery is anecdotal.
Genomic Controversy in Iceland: Déja Vu All Over Againby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 28th, 2014DeCODE Genetics has launched another attempt to gather the population of Iceland into a genetic database.
Nicholas Wade: Genes, Race and Anthropologyby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 8th, 2014Is Nicholas Wade shocked and horrified that his new book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, is getting support from racists? Really, what did he expect?
Don’t Know Much about History...by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 1st, 2014A transhumanist lets hyperbole trump history.
More Cloning and Even More Eggsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 30th, 2014For the third time in less than a year, human embryonic stem cells have been derived by cloning, underlining the need to establish federal prohibitions against human reproductive cloning and protections for women who provide their eggs for the research.
Synthetic Criticisms of Real Attempts to Regulate Biologyby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 30th, 2014Richard Lewontin has written an article about synthetic biology for the New York Review of Books. Unfortunately, it’s not very good.
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.
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