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About US Federal Policies & Human Biotechnology


Federal regulations on most human biotechnologies are inadequate, falling far short of the kind of comprehensive approach that is needed. This situation is due to the unique social and policy challenges posed by human biotechnologies, to the anti-regulatory environment of recent years, and to the divisive politics and religious beliefs that accompany issues involving human embryos.

One regulatory failure is Congress's inability to pass a law prohibiting human reproductive cloning. Nine in ten Americans oppose it, as does every member of Congress and nearly every reputable scientist. Bills that would prohibit reproductive cloning have been introduced several times, but have failed because of disagreements over research cloning.

Another failure is assisted reproduction's scant regulation and oversight. Despite numerous reported abuses and billions of dollars in revenues, federal oversight remains limited to collecting data on success rates.

Medical gene transfer (also called gene therapy) is slightly different. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are supposed to oversee each clinical trial. But researchers have often ignored this requirement, as revealed most dramatically after the death of 18-year-old Jesse Gelsinger in a gene transfer experiment.

The most publicized aspect of federal biotechnology policy have been the limitation on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research that was imposed by President Bush in 2001 and removed by President Obama in 2009.



The Colonial Origins of Conservation: The Disturbing History Behind US National Parksby Stephen CorryTruthoutAugust 25th, 2015Environmental conservation that excludes tribal peoples has deep connections with historical eugenics.
"Eggsploitation: Maggie's Story" Reveals Unknown Risks of Egg Retrieval by Emma ManiereBiopolitical TimesAugust 13th, 2015"Eggsploitation: Maggie's Story" reveals how the fertility industry takes advantage of individuals' altruistic motives in search of profit while the medical risks remain unknown.
Why it Matters that the FDA Just Approved the First 3D-Printed Drugby Dominic BasultoWashington PostAugust 11th, 2015This 3D-printed pill, which will sold by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals under the name Spritam, could be used by the more than 3 million adults and children in America who suffer from certain types of seizures caused by epilepsy.
Ageing and Fertility: Biology Comes Secondby Kirsty OswaldBioNewsAugust 10th, 2015As long as we live in a society that expects women to sacrifice so much more than men to be a parent, we might as well stop talking about biology.
Public Health in the Precision-Medicine Eraby Ronald Bayer, Ph.D. & Sandro Galea, M.D., Dr.P.H.New England Journal of MedicineAugust 6th, 2015"In many ways the American health care system is the most advanced in the world. But whiz-bang technology just cannot fix what ails us.”
Congress Should Support Access to Post-Conviction DNA Testingby Kirk BloodsworthThe HillJuly 29th, 2015"If not for post-conviction DNA testing, I might still be in prison, or worse, I could have been executed."
Republicans Just Sabotaged a Bill that Would Have Helped Wounded Vets Start Familiesby Jennifer Gerson UffalussyFusionJuly 23rd, 2015A recent Congressional bill would have extended coverage for fertility treatments to retired veterans.
US Tailored-Medicine Project Aims for Ethnic Balanceby Sara ReardonNature NewsJuly 21st, 2015The $215-million Precision Medicine Initiative is having trouble meeting an imminent deadline, in part because its priorities include filling racial and socio-economic gaps left by other long-term studies.
POV: It’s Time to Regulate the Fertility Industryby George AnnasBoston University TodayJuly 16th, 2015Patients' intense desire to have children can leave them at the mercy of the market and unscrupulous practitioners. The fertility industry does not, and perhaps simply cannot, police itself.
Family Equality and Surrogacyby Elliot HosmanBiopolitical TimesJuly 9th, 2015With marriage equality on the books, the dignity of LGBTQ families calls for an ongoing conversation about the regulation of the ART and surrogacy industries.
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