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Center For Genetics And Society
MONTHLY NEWS
October 7, 2016
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Updated 3-Person IVF Resource Page
 
In light of recent breaking news of a baby born in Mexico via maternal spindle transfer, we have updated our 3-Person IVF resource page. The page includes technical explanations, a summary of key research and players, a timeline of recent UK and US policy discussions, and frequently asked questions. Check it out to see the latest developments!
 
Two job openings at CGS
 
We are still accepting applications for two exciting job openings at CGS: a Campaign Director on Human Germline Modification, and Communications Coordinator. Please see our Jobs and Internships page to learn more.
 
 
 
Comment on use of mitochondrial manipulation techniques by US scientists in Mexico
[Press statement]
US fertility doctors announce the live birth of a child with the DNA of three people, performed in Mexico to avoid US regulation.
 
 
Wrong Steps: The First One From Three
by Pete Shanks, Deccan Chronicle
Gene-editing technology is advancing rapidly. What if we come to a consensus about what should not be allowed...and then some renegade scientists, convinced that they know best, just go ahead and do it?
 
 
3-Person IVF Breaking News: Where Are the Advocates for the Public Interest?
by Leah Lowthorp
A baby created via 3-person IVF was delivered by US doctors in Mexico in order to avoid regulation. How has the media responded in the US and internationally?
 
 
CRISPR Embryos at Karolinska: Controversies Demand Oversight
by Elliot Hosman
 
Ongoing gene editing experiments in human embryos around the world underscore the need to pro?? modifying cells for use in human reproduction.
 
 
Don’t Miss This: The Story of CRISPR Told in a Comic
by Kayla Tolentino
Illustrator Andy Warner helps to break down the complexities of the still unraveling CRISPR gene editing story in his recent piece "Bad Blood."
 
 
Collaborative Science on Historically Burdened Concepts: Intelligence, Genetics, Race & Socio-economic Status
by Daphne Martschenko, Biopolitical Times guest contributor
Confusion and discomfort often accompany discussions of concepts with burdened histories. In both the social and biological sciences, we can and must do better to learn and collaborate together.
 
 
Presidential Candidates on Science
by Pete Shanks
Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Jill Stein answer 20 questions about science policy.
 
 
   
Breaking Taboo, Swedish Scientist Seeks To Edit DNA Of Healthy Human Embryos
[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]
by Rob Stein, NPR Morning Edition
Using CRISPR gene editing on human embryos is a step toward attempts at producing genetically modified humans. It's not a step to be taken lightly.
 
 
   
Controversial Human Embryo Editing: 5 Things to Know
[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]
by Rachael Rettner, LiveScience
Basic CRISPR experiments in human embryos in Sweden raise questions about passing clear rules against using edited germ cells for reproduction and oversight.
 
 
   
Baby Born Using 'Three Parent' Technique, Doctors Say
[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]
by Maggie Fox, NBC News
"This fertility doctor openly acknowledged that he went to Mexico where 'there are no rules' in order to evade ongoing review processes and existing regulations in the US."
 
 
   
Controversy Erupts Around Baby With Three Biological Parents
[citing CGS]
by Emily Willingham, Forbes
A US fertility doctor travels to Mexico where "there are no rules" to use mitochondrial manipulation to produce a live birth.
 
 
   
Everything you wanted to know about genetic engineering in one chirpy video
[citing CGS' Elliot Hosman]
by Michael Cook, BioEdge
The animated video explains the complex present and speculative future of CRISPR well, but takes too optimistic a view of how it might be used.
 
 
 
   
       

 
3-Person IVF
   
   
"Three-parent baby" claim raises hopes — and ethical concerns
by Sara Reardon, Nature News
Some are questioning why the US-based team went to Mexico, a country with less clear oversight of human embryo modification than, for instance, the United Kingdom or the United States.
 
 
 
Human Germline Modification
 
   
UK Bioethicists Eye Designer Babies and CRISPR Cows
by Heidi Ledford, Nature News
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics' new report on genome editing will be followed by recommendations on human germline applications in early 2017.
 
 
   
Human Chimera Research’s Huge (and Thorny) Potential
by Paul Knoepfler, Wired
A stem cell researcher notes a range of tough bioethical questions on the table if the NIH moves forward with lifting its research ban.
 
 
   
Human-Animal Chimeras and Dehumanization
by John H. Evans, Oxford University Press Blog
Should we create chimeras like pigs with human qualities? How we talk about humans during this debate may inadvertently change how we look at ourselves.
 
 
   
Are Swedish Designer Babies Coming Soon?
by Eric Niiler, Seeker
"What are the oversight and controls to prevent this technology from being misused and go to a stage that, for now, the scientific community has agreed is a no-go?"
 
 
   
Can CRISPR–Cas9 Boost Intelligence?
by Jim Kozubek, Scientific American
There are no superior genes, only genes that provide advantages with a tradeoff for other disadvantages. But some argue that there is a duty to manipulate the genetic code of future children.
 
 
   
Meet the guy biohacking puppies to make them glow in the dark
by Kristen V. Brown, Fusion
The goal isn’t just to make glowing Frankenpuppies. "I want to make perfect dogs...I don’t want slightly imperfect dogs."
 
 
   
When Evolution Fights Back Against Genetic Engineering
by Brooke Borel, The Atlantic
Gene drive technology raises intense ethical and practical concerns, not only from critics but from the very scientists who are working with it.
 
 
   
Monsanto Licenses CRISPR Technology to Modify Crops — with Key Restrictions
by Sharon Begley, STAT
The Broad Institute has issued a CRISPR license to Monsanto, restricting any uses for gene drive, "terminator seeds," or tobacco R&D.
 
 
 
Patents
 
   
Dramatic Twists Could Upend Patent Battle Over CRISPR Genome-Editing Method
by Jon Cohen, Science Magazine
The Broad Institute requests to separate 4 of its issued patents from the larger case, which could permit "a way for both sides to walk away with a little IP in their pockets."
 
 
   
Titanic Clash Over CRISPR Patents Turns Ugly
by Heidi Ledford, Nature
The billion-dollar patent battle over CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing has moved from scientific minutiae to accusations of impropriety.
 
 
   
Seeking to Join Editas, Intellia, CRISPR Therapeutics Makes Long Awaited IPO Push
by Ben Fidler, Xconomy
Emmanuelle Charpentier’s biotech firm has filed to go public, joining the start-ups of other CRISPR-Cas9 co-discoverers: Jennifer Doudna and Feng Zhang.
 
 
 
Stem Cells
 
   
Patients Turn To San Diego Stem Cell Companies For Costly, Unproven Treatments
by David Wagner, KPBS
One patient lost hundreds of thousands of dollars pursuing unapproved stem cell treatments, and was left with a painful tumor and significantly decreased mobility.
 
 
   
Stem Cell Advocates and Critics Push Back on FDA Guidelines
by Alexandra Ossola, Scientific American
"After these public meetings the FDA may...send a signal that it is indeed going to rein in the dangerous stem cell clinic industry for real."
 
 
   
Corporate Culture Has No Place in Academia
by Olof Hallonsten, Nature News
A scandal at the Karolinska Institute demonstrates the risks of academic capitalism: a global trend that turns universities into businesses.
 
 
 
DNA Forensics
 
   
DNA Dragnet: In Some Cities, Police Go From Stop-and-Frisk to Stop-and-Spit
by Lauren Kirchner, ProPublica
Private police DNA databases are multiplying, and are subject to no state or federal regulation or oversight.
 
 
   
As Kuwait imposes world’s first DNA collection law, attorney tries to fight it
by Cyrus Farivar, ARS Technica
"Compelling every citizen, resident, and visitor to submit a DNA sample to the government is similar to forcing house searches without a warrant."
 
 
   
White House science advisers urge Justice Dept., judges to raise forensic standards
by Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post
A new report cautions that widely used methods to trace complex DNA samples to criminal defendants fall short of scientific standards.
 
 
 
Surrogacy
 
   
Words Matter: "Hired Womb" vs. "Birth Mother"
by Abby Lippman, Impact Ethics
The words we choose to talk about gestational arrangements influence how we think about and regulate third-party reproduction.
 
 
   
Why Some Of India's Surrogate Moms Are Full Of Regret
by Julie McCarthy, NPR
Women employed as surrogates are rarely in a position to change the fundamental circumstance of their poverty because the payments simply aren't enough.
 
 
   
Women Freeze Eggs to Gain Time to Find the Right Partners Study Finds
by Nicola Davis, The Guardian
"It is quite dangerous to start suggesting that by medicalising a social problem, we can cure it."
 
 
   
Find a Sperm Donor with This UK App
by Selena Larson, CNNMoney
The London Sperm Bank's new mobile app lets consumers choose sperm provider traits including eye color, hair color, and race.
 
 
   
The End of China’s One-Child Policy Has Put Huge Pressure on the Nation’s Sperm Banks
by Hannah Beech, Time
Unlike in the US, selling sperm or eggs is illegal in China, but sperm banks get around that by offering men "subsidies." And illegal sperm banks have proliferated.
 
 
 
Testing and Disability
 
   
Passing My Disability On to My Children
by Sheila Black, The New York Times
Drawing on her own experience, the author challenges the logic of creating "designer babies" with screening or modifying technologies.
 
 
   
Sally Phillips: Do We Really Want a World without Down’s Syndrome?
by Viv Groskop, The Guardian
The UK national health service will now cover new tests to screen fetuses for Down syndrome. A mother and actress notes the likely result: "It becomes ‘your fault’ if you choose to have the baby."
 
 
 
Various
 
   
Peru Fails to Deliver for Indigenous Women
by Shena Cavalloo, openDemocracy
Some 300,000 poor rural indigenous people were forcibly sterilized according to state "quotas," but a public prosecutor has decided not to pursue charges of "crimes against humanity."
 
 
   
‘Motherless babies!’ How to create a tabloid science headline in five easy steps
by Gretchen Vogel, Science Magazine
Here's the recipe for transforming a modest developmental biology paper into a blockbuster story.
 
 
   
US toughens rules for clinical-trial transparency
by Sara Reardon, Nature News
Under new regulations, researchers must register information on the design and results of clinical trials within 21 days of enrolling their first patient, regardless of outcome.
 
 
   
A Top Journalist is Suing the FDA Over Its Alleged Use of a Banned and Secretive Practice to Manipulate the News
by Dave Mosher, Business Insider
The FDA has imposed "close-hold embargoes," which allow reporters access to newsworthy information only if they agree not to contact outside sources, a keystone of journalistic due diligence.
 
 
   
Doctors Dig for More Data About Patients
by Melanie Evans, Wall Street Journal
In the name of improving treatment, some hospitals are buying their patients' consumer and financial data from third-party brokers.
 
 
   
The Newly Found Innocence of Paolo Macchiarini
by Leonid Schneider, For Better Science
Suspicious justifications underlie recent university, media, and government defenses of the controversial stem cell surgeon.
 
 
   
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Announces $3 Billion Investment To Cure All Disease
by Eyder Peralta, NPR
For some perspective, the fiscal 2016 budget for the National Institutes of Health is more than $31 billion.
 
 
   
Cut-Throat Academia Leads to 'Natural Selection of Bad Science', Claims Study
by Hannah Devlin, The Guardian
Under pressures of funding and attracting "progeny," many scientists publish surprising yet unreliable findings.
 
 
   
With New Program, DARPA To Encourage Safety "Brakes" For Gene Editing
by Alex Lash, Xconomy
The US military R&D agency has launched a funding program called "Safe Genes" to find "safety measures that don’t slow us down."
 
 
   
Why we need a law to prevent genetic discrimination
by Yvonne Bombard, Ronald Cohn & Stephen Scherer, The Globe and Mail [Canada]
After unanimous passage through Canada's Senate, a bill on genetic discrimination is now before the House of Commons.