|Extreme Genetic Engineering and the Human FutureReclaiming Emerging Biotechnologies
for the Common GoodThe Center for Genetics and Society and Friends of the Earth examine the human applications of synthetic biology. This 50-page report challenges claims that this new set of genetic engineering techniques should be seen as "the future of manufacturing, engineering and medicine."
|Putting a Price on Human Eggs Makes No Sense, FortuneNovember 21st, 2015No one wants to deal with the ugly reality that egg donation is not donation at all, but a high price paid for a piece of one’s body. We have identified this transaction and allowed it. Now we are only squabbling over the price.|
|Better Babies, AeonNovember 17th, 2015The long and peculiar history of the designer human, from Plato’s citizen breeders to Nobel sperm banks, and the latest iteration of human genetic perfectability: CRISPR gene editing.|
|Gene Editing and Eugenics (Opinions Vary), Biopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2015A recent commentary on the UK law allowing clinical use of mitochondrial replacement celebrates it as a benign form of eugenics. Is there such a thing?|
|The CRISPR Germline Debate: Closed to the Public?, Biopolitical TimesOctober 15th, 2015Recent CRISPR media coverage focuses on hype rather than engaging the ethical and social implications of the groundbreaking technology—even as many call for public inclusion in the genome editing debate. |
|Forgotten Stories of the Eugenic Age #2: Eugenics, Love, and the Marriage Problem, Biopolitical TimesJuly 20th, 2015When gazing deeply into a lover's eyes, eugenists advised, women should not look for the "yearning, burning, soulful fires, which rage in the erotic litany of love," but for symptoms of eye disease.|
|The Scope of Eugenics: A Workshop, Biopolitical TimesMay 27th, 2015The four-day workshop, organized by the Edmonton-based Living Archives Project on Eugenics in Western Canada, brought together early-career scholars interested in eugenics to discuss historical models and forms of "Newgenics."|
|Eugenics Lurk in the Shadow of CRISPR, ScienceMay 22nd, 2015This opening to germline modification is, simply put, the opening of a return to the agenda of eugenics: the positive selection of “good” versions of the human genome and the weeding out of “bad” versions.|
|Biopolitical News of 2014, Biopolitical TimesDecember 19th, 2014This is everything important that happened in biopolitics in 2014 (or close to it).|
|Why Worry About Genetically Modified Babies?, GeneWatchNovember 24th, 2014The terms "genetically modified babies" and "designer babies" are attention-getters. But beyond the catchy sound bites, what do they really mean - and are they something we need to worry about?|
|Breaking from our Eugenic Past, Biopolitical TimesNovember 13th, 2014As the victims of North Carolina's eugenics program finally receive compensation, we should not celebrate "the new eugenics" as some have argued, but learn carefully from this history.|
|Could Genomics Revive The Eugenics Movement?, ForbesNovember 8th, 2014There was a time when people in America were sterilized, sometimes unwittingly, by activists aiming to create a healthier, “better” population. As the progress of genomics accelerates, we need to remember the lessons of the past.|
|Reproducing Race, The Huffington PostOctober 6th, 2014It is troubling for donor services to accentuate race in ways that invite parents to exclude wholesale from their consideration all donors of a particular race.|
|An End to Sterilization Abuses in California Prisons, Biopolitical TimesSeptember 26th, 2014The signing of SB 1135 into California law by Gov. Jerry Brown is an important victory in the fight for the remembrance of our state's eugenic history and its ongoing implications.|
|North Carolina and Genetics: From Sterilization to Research SubjectsAugust 7th, 2014In the twentieth century, North Carolina was one of dozens of states that targeted certain citizens for eugenic sterilization. Today, in a town outside Charlotte, biotech researchers are asking for urine and blood samples and offering $10 gift cards to WalMart in exchange.|
|Lord Winston’s Warning, Practical EthicsAugust 5th, 2014Winston discusses the history and misuse of gene science and eugenics, and points to the potential resurgence of this way of thinking.|
|California Set to Prohibit Sterilization of Prisoners, Biopolitical TimesJuly 24th, 2014With the unanimous approval of Senate Bill 1135 in Sacramento last month, the victims of recent unauthorized sterilizations in California prisons, and their advocates, seem likely to win this important victory.|
|Remembering Nikola Tesla, Eugenicist, BioEdgeJuly 12th, 2014In 1935 Tesla gave an interview to the American magazine Liberty in which he peered 100 years into the future with his enthusiastic endorsement of eugenics.|
|Wading into Racism, Biopolitical 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.|
|Making Babies, The AtlanticMay 21st, 2014Some guesses about how the future may change what’s involved in making a person—from the ease of getting pregnant, to the mechanics of procreation, to our very definition of family.|
|Nicholas Wade: Genes, Race and Anthropology, Biopolitical 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?
|When Science Doesn't Have all the Answers, BloomMarch 6th, 2014My son’s rare genetic deletion is on the list of disorders identified by microarray analysis of a fetus’s DNA. It makes me sad to think that the lives of children like my son are being targeted for termination. Is this a step forward?|
|Three-Parent Babies and Eugenics, GenotopiaMarch 6th, 2014The “three-parent baby” is most certainly genetic engineering — it just modifies “cassettes” of genes, if you will, rather than tweaking single genes or nucleotides. It is exactly as eugenic as going through conventional IVF and selecting the traits you want in your offspring.|
|The New Science Of Three-Parent Babies[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky], NPR On PointFebruary 26th, 2014Mixing DNA from three people to produce one healthy baby. We’ll look at the controversial world of mitochondrial manipulation therapies to avoid inherited disease.|
|Genetically Modified Babies, The New York TimesFebruary 23rd, 2014An advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration is set to consider radical biological procedures that, if successful, would produce genetically modified human beings. This is a dangerous step. |
|Is Genetic Testing Humans Playing God?, CNNFebruary 22nd, 2014Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis allows doctors to test embryos before they are implanted into a woman's womb, to help ensure that certain gene mutations are not passed on. But this procedure is raising myriad complex ethical and social issues.|
|Old Songs, New Tests, and Expensive ChildrenFebruary 20th, 2014The CEO of AOL justified a restructuring of the company’s 401(K) plan by citing two "distressed babies." This tone-deaf insensitivity was answered by a disapproving choir, but it sadly resembles too many descriptions of the "cost" of people with disabilities.
|To Catch a Killer Gene: Sisters Race to Stop Mystery Disease[Quotes CGS's Osagie K. Obasogie], NBC NewsFebruary 6th, 2014This story of a family banding together to stop a disease before it cuts a path through society illustrates the promise of genomic medicine, but also the soul-troubling questions that arise when people have a hand in their own evolution.|
|Building the Better Baby, Bioethics.netJanuary 21st, 2014BGI, the Chinese company, is hoping that it will soon be able to offer parents an option like that in GATTACA — choosing the “smartest” embryo.|
|Google, Tell Me. Is My Son a Genius?, New York TimesJanuary 18th, 2014Google searches suggest that American parents are far more likely to want their boys smart and their girls skinny. Among those looking for information on sex selection, there is about a 10 percent preference for boys.|
|DNA Dreaming, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 13th, 2014A new documentary looks at the Chinese company that styles itself "the world’s largest genomics organization,” and its hunt for the genetic basis of intelligence. |
|Biopolitical News of the Year 2013, Biopolitical 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.|
|Too Much Information, MIT Technology ReviewDecember 17th, 2013Advances in non-invasive prenatal screening could collide with the politics of abortion and raise the ugly specter of eugenics. Are there limits to how much data parents should have—or want to have—about their children before birth?|
|Are Three Parents One Too Many?[Quotes CGS], BloombergNovember 27th, 2013The U.K. may soon approve a regulatory proposal that would allow scientists to create a human embryo using the DNA of three individuals. What’s striking is how the many opponents span the political spectrum.|
|Philanthropy's Original Sin, The New AtlantisNovember 15th, 2013For all of philanthropy's wonderful qualities, it's important to understand that the first American foundations were deeply immersed in eugenics — the effort to promote the reproduction of the “fit” and to suppress the reproduction of the “unfit.”|
|Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New Worlds, Biopolitical TimesNovember 7th, 2013A public symposium held on November 1 at San Francisco State University provided a rare and important opportunity to engage with the historical and ongoing implications of eugenic ideologies and practices for people with disabilities.
|Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New WorldsNovember 7th, 2013The public symposium Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New Worlds, held on November 1 at San Francisco State University, provided a rare and important opportunity to engage with the history and ongoing implications of eugenic ideologies and practices for people with disabilities.
|Advocating Eugenics in the UK Department of Education, Biopolitical TimesOctober 24th, 2013Dominic Cummings, a senior adviser to the UK Secretary of State for Education, recently provoked a flurry of complaints about his technocratic, effectively eugenic, definitely gene-focused approach to public policy.|
|Girls Not Allowed, New InternationalistOctober 4th, 2013Honest regulation of sex selection, however tricky to enforce, is necessary because individual acts are having extremely harmful collective consequences.|
|[VIDEO] Debating Embryonic Genetic Testing[With CGS Advisory Board member Francine Coeytaux]The DoctorsOctober 1st, 2013New genetic tests, including Next Generation Sequencing, can radically improve the odds of a healthy, full term pregnancy … but where do we draw the line? Hear more from The Doctors.|
|Gendercide in the CaucasusThe EconomistSeptember 21st, 2013The practice of aborting female foetuses is found mostly in China and other Asian countries. But it is prevalent in the Caucasus, too. Two new studies look at why—and suggest the practice may spread.|
|Involuntary Sterilization Then and Now, Biopolitical TimesAugust 28th, 2013North Carolina will be the first US state to offer compensation to victims of state-sponsored forced sterilization programs. The decision marks a milestone in the long struggle for recognition of this tragic history, but what about the questionable sterilizations still taking place today?|
|Is Eugenics Ever Okay?, GenotopiaJuly 26th, 2013Recognizing that we are grasping the reins of human evolution as fast as we can raises two sets of concerns. First, “What if it doesn’t work?” Second, "What if it does?"|
|Made With Love, Biopolitical TimesJuly 22nd, 2013The first baby has been born following “next generation genetic sequencing” of IVF embryos. What are the implications?|
|The Gene For Hubris, GenotopiaJuly 10th, 2013Genetics and reproduction are intensely potent, and wherever we find abuse of power we should be alert to the harnessing of biology in the service of tyranny.|
|Illegal Sterilizations in Modern California Jails, Biopolitical TimesJuly 10th, 2013The Center for Investigative Reporting has published a detailed exposé of unauthorized sterilizations of unwilling women in California jails from 2006 to 2010, and probably before, bringing the issue to national attention.|
|Eight Misconceptions about “Three-Parent Babies”, Biopolitical TimesJuly 9th, 2013Amid the talk about “mitochondria replacement” or “three-parent babies," here are the top misconceptions proliferating about the efficacy, safety, public support, and societal implications.|
|Predicting the IQ of Future People, Biopolitical TimesMay 15th, 2013The resignation of Jason Richwine from the Heritage Foundation raised the profile of racist views about IQ. Expect new publicity soon for genetic claims about intelligence.|
|The Baby Blueprint [VIDEO][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]Al Jazeera EnglishApril 22nd, 2013Would you choose your child's genetic potential? Live debate with Marcy Darnovsky, Stuart Newman, Julian Savulescu, and Nita Farahany.|
|The Throwaways, GuernicaMarch 1st, 2013In Kenya, doctors are force-sterilizing HIV-positive women—in some cases, without their knowledge.|
|Yes, Virginia, Your Reproductive Rights Are Compromised , Huffington PostFebruary 12th, 2013In Virginia as in many other states, legislative battles about reproductive rights are front and center. One pending bill proposes reparations for victims of the state's eugenic sterilization policy; the other seeks to end the 30-day waiting period for sterilization.
|Gene-ism and Mass Murder, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 22nd, 2013Proposals to analyze the genes of a mass murderer have rightly drawn criticism from experts, including the editors of Nature. |
|Brave New Cells?, Project SyndicateDecember 29th, 2012Supporters of mitochondria replacement neglect a crucial factor in the debate: the techniques being developed involve permanent genetic alterations passed on to future generations.|
|Seeking Answers in Genome of Gunman, New York TimesDecember 24th, 2012In a move likely to renew a longstanding ethical controversy, geneticists are quietly making plans to study the DNA of the man who killed 20 children and seven adults in Newtown, Connecticut.|
|Selecting Against Disease[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky], Fin MagazineNovember 26th, 2012Although we may not have control over the end of the world, genetic counseling and selection will give us power to manipulate the quality and extent of individual lives.|
|Anatomy of a Webpage, Part 3: Selling “Peace of Mind”November 13th, 2012New developments in prenatal tests are triggering aggressive - and often misleading - marketing. Thankfully, there are signs of push-back from a society that is learning that people are more than their syndromes.
|Anatomy of a Webpage, Part 2: Preconception ServicesOctober 17th, 2012People living with genetic diseases become medicalized abstractions of risk and defect in the slick marketing of fetal gene tests. More than a matter of semantics, such simplification has negative consequences for all.|
|Anatomy of a Webpage: Marketing Fetal Gene Tests and Sequenom’s MaterniT21, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 24th, 2012In the age of genomics, whole-chromosome conditions are only the beginning. Our ability to sample fetal DNA from maternal blood means that not only Down syndrome, but before long any condition with a genetic component, any “risk,” can be forecast.
|"Tainted Families" Ancient and Modern, Biopolitical TimesJuly 11th, 2012Paul Lombardo has well summarized the use of the "Jukes family" myth to promote eugenics, in the 19th, 20th and now 21st century.|
|Survival of the Fastest?, Biopolitical TimesJuly 10th, 2012Michael Johnson, the legendary athlete, recently made global headlines for suggesting that black American and Caribbean sprinters have a "superior athletic gene."|
|Designer Babies in Popular Culture, Biopolitical TimesJune 21st, 2012The Whitest Kids U’Know’s comedic parody of genetic counseling is reminiscent of a similar scene in GATTACA.
|Synthetic Eugenics and Scientific Silence, Biopolitical TimesJune 21st, 2012Yet another worrying statement from a renowned synthetic biologist on redeisgning humans is met with indifference and silence by the scientific community. |
|DNA Blueprint for Fetus Built Using Tests of Parents[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky], The New York TimesJune 6th, 2012Using only a blood sample from the pregnant woman and a saliva specimen from the father, researchers explain that “Our capacity to generate data is outstripping our ability to interpret it in ways that are useful to physicians and patients.” |
|NC Bill Supports Compensation for Eugenics Victims, New ObserverMay 16th, 2012Victims of North Carolina's decades-long forced sterilization program would receive $50,000 each under a bill filed Wednesday that would make the state the first to compensate people who lost their child-bearing abilities under the once-common practice.|
|Will Gattaca Come True?[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky], SlateApril 27th, 2012Noninvasive, early fetal tests for sex, paternity, and chromosomal conditions will change pregnancy dramatically — and raise tricky ethical questions.|