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About Disability & Human Biotechnology


Disability rights advocates have been among the earliest and most vocal critics of emerging genetic and reproductive technologies. Many people with disabilities are acutely aware that technologies enabling the selection of “good” genes and “normal” traits can devalue disabled people’s bodies and ultimately their lives.

This concern is informed by past and ongoing discrimination against people with disabilities that often includes brutal practices. For example, twentieth-century eugenicis­ts in the United States and some European countries sponsored programs that sterilized tens of thousands of disabled people. The Nazi genocide began with doctors and nurses exterminating over 100,000 disabled people in German medical facilities; tens of thousands more perished in concentration camps.

This historical context gives pause to disability rights advocates concerned about existing selection technologies that are increasingly being used to prevent the birth of children with particular traits, as well as future technologies that could be used to modify children’s genes.



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.
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.
We Need More Proof That Prenatal Gene Screens Are Beneficialby The EditorsScientific AmericanFebruary 1st, 2016Results from screening tests can be misleading. Industry and federal regulators are not doing enough to ensure that people get all the information they need.
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.
The United States Once Sterilized Tens of Thousands — Here’s How the Supreme Court Allowed Itby Trevor BurrusMediumJanuary 27th, 2016A lucid and accurate discussion of Buck v. Bell, what led up to it, and its consequences both personal and political.
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.
Down's Syndrome people risk 'extinction' at the hands of science, fear and ignoranceby Tim StanleyThe TelegraphJanuary 18th, 2016The true moral test of a society is not how pretty, sober or well organised it is – but how it treats its most vulnerable, even its most difficult, citizens.
Jordan Middle School, other schools now up for renamingby Elena KadvanyPalo Alto WeeklyJanuary 13th, 2016Middle school students and their parents are objecting to their school being named for Stanford University founding president David Starr Jordan, because of his involvement in the eugenics movement.
Women can ‘grow’ their own IVF embryos with in-body incubatorby Andy CoghlanNew ScientistJanuary 6th, 2016In a US clinical trial, embryos in an incubation device were placed into women's bodies for five days before removal to select the "fittest" embryo to implant for pregnancy.
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