|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.
|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.|
|Sex Selection Blares on World Bank’s Radar, Biopolitical TimesSeptember 21st, 2011The World Bank’s 2012 World Development Report, entitled “Gender Equality and Development” recognizes sex selection as a global issue perpetuating gender inequality.
|The Problem with Twin Studies, Biopolitical TimesAugust 26th, 2011Slate's Brian Palmer critiques the proliferation of scientific findings based on twin studies that claim to isolate the genetic underpinnings of human behavior.|
|Dreams of the Week, Biopolitical TimesMay 18th, 2011Several recent announcements and studies appear to presage renewed interest in manipulating the biology that is thought to control longevity and especially our children's happiness and intelligence.|
|One Step Closer to Designer BabiesNew Noninvasive Prenatal Genetic Testing Could Change Human Pregnancy Forever, Science ProgressApril 22nd, 2011A new approach to testing the genes of early-stage fetuses could radically alter the experience of pregnancy and parenting from as early as five weeks, leading to a potentially dangerous moral quandary.|
|Bioethicists Show How to Disagree Without Rancor, Biopolitical TimesApril 19th, 2011Excerpts of a conversation between Arthur Caplan and Robert P. George demonstrate the possibility of constructive discussions about difficult ethical issues.|
|Behind the New Arizona Abortion Ban , Biopolitical TimesApril 7th, 2011The Arizona law that bans abortion for reasons of sex or race is part of a larger strategy to undermine abortion rights.|
|Eugenics lawmaker resigns, Concord MonitorMarch 15th, 2011State Rep. Martin Harty resigned yesterday, facing outrage from constituents, colleagues and strangers over comments he made endorsing eugenics for what he called "defective people."|
|Forced sterilization considered in a UK court
, Biopolitical TimesFebruary 17th, 2011A British special court delayed its ruling on whether or not a woman with “significant learning disabilities” should be forcibly sterilized.
|Is forced sterilization ever OK?[Interview with CGS's Doug Pet], SalonFebruary 16th, 2011A U.K. court considers the question in the case of a pregnant woman with significant learning disabilities.
|Appeals Court Overturns Sentence Based on "Porn Gene", Biopolitical TimesFebruary 2nd, 2011A judge increased a sentence because he believed the offender had a gene that would eventually be identified; the Court of Appeals called this a "plain error" and sent the case to a different judge for re-sentencing.|
|Uncle Sam could want YOU and your DNA, too, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 20th, 2011A secretive group of scientific advisors recommends that the Department of Defense collect DNA from US soldiers, and gives little attention to the potential implications of such a practice.
|Time to Stop Burying Our Eugenic Histories, Biopolitical TimesOctober 14th, 2010Reductionist reports of a woman's recent lawsuit against the state for forcible sterilization indicate a fading consciousness of our society's recent eugenic past.
|Sterilized woman sues
, Edmonton SunOctober 9th, 2010A Canadian woman has launched a lawsuit alleging she was sexually sterilized as a 15-year-old without her knowledge or permission.
|When Racism and Genism Mix, Biopolitical TimesSeptember 13th, 2010There have recently been several disturbing indications in Europe of racism with a genetic twist. Mainstream reaction has been critical, but the racists have their defenders.|
|Gopher Kids or Guinea Pigs?August 13th, 2010University of Minnesota researchers attempting to investigate the genetic features of “normal and healthy” kids plan to solicit DNA samples from child-parent volunteer pairs at this month’s state fair.|
|A People's History of the Human Genome, Biopolitical TimesJune 30th, 2010Genewatch UK marked the 10th anniversary of the Human Genome Project announcement by publishing an extraordinary History with important current policy implications.|
|Sometimes Beautiful People Do Unattractive Things, Biopolitical TimesJune 23rd, 2010Beautifulpeople.com is taking the designer gamete market to a whole new level by using its online dating service as a vehicle for people to find sperm from attractive donors so that they can presumably have beautiful children.|
|A Singular Kind of Eugenics, Biopolitical TimesJune 16th, 2010Modern techno-utopianism, discussed in a recent feature on Singularity University, has worryingly eugenic overtones.|
|The ultimate betrayalN.C. eugenics survivors seek justice , Indy WeekMarch 24th, 2010Thousands of North Carolina residents were forcibly sterilized as part of the state's eugenics policy. The survivors are seeking justice before they die.|
|Whither Personal Genomics?, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 29th, 2010Three companies offer contrasting examples of where the fledgling industry goes from here.|
|Mom of 9 cries foulClaim: I was sterilized against my will, Boston HeraldJanuary 8th, 2010A mother of nine is suing a hospital, three doctors and two nurses, claiming they permanently sterilized her against her will, violating her reproductive rights.|
|What's in a Name?, Biopolitical TimesSeptember 14th, 2009The naming of a new park after noted eugenicist William Shockley has drawn international attention to the small town of Auburn, California.|
|Everyday Eugenics, Biopolitical TimesJuly 22nd, 2009Although the American Eugenics movement ended over 50 years ago, aspects of eugenic thinking continue to pop up from what seems like out of nowhere. |
|Empathy and Eugenics on the Supreme Court, Biopolitical TimesJune 4th, 2009LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik uses Buck vs. Bell as a case study to demonstrate the importance of empathy for Supreme Court justices.|
|War Against the Weak – The Documentary, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 27th, 2009Edwin Black’s award-winning book on the history and modern implications of the American Eugenics Movement is about to hit the silver screen.|
|Hotline for Eugenics Victims, Biopolitical TimesDecember 10th, 2008North Carolina has set up a toll-free number for survivors of the state's eugenic program.|
|Picking the Best Baby, Biopolitical TimesDecember 2nd, 2008With the price of genetic sequencing plummeting, technologies enabling prospective parents and clinicians to pick the genetically "best" potential child may become feasible.|
|Designer babies: Creating the perfect child[Quotes CGS's Richard Hayes], CNNOctober 30th, 2008The Center for Genetics and Society is trying to encourage debate on the topic of genetic selection as soon as possible. Executive director of the organization, Richard Hayes, told CNN that in most countries, the public is missing out on taking part in the debate.|
|Eugenics — AgainCompulsory sterilization is back in the news, Biopolitical TimesSeptember 25th, 2008Proposals for compulsory sterilization have just been made in three different jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada.|
|Washington Post on DNA Forensics, Biopolitical TimesApril 22nd, 2008The Washington Post takes a serious look at the social and legal implications of DNA forensics.|
|Gene of the Week: the Ruthless Dictator Gene, Biopolitical TimesApril 9th, 2008A recent Nature article touting the discovery of the "ruthless dictator" gene goes a step beyond the excessive simplification of much reporting of genetic associations.|
|The Religious Right: Pronatalist? Only if you are white., Biopolitical TimesFebruary 26th, 2008Christian conservatives are looking abroad, warning that Europe faces the prospect of a "demographic winter" due to declining fertility among native Europeans and higher rates among immigrants.|
|When You Play With Dirt, You Get Dirty , Biopolitical TimesDecember 13th, 2007Slate’s Will Saletan has backed himself into a corner by coming to the defense of James Watson – the eccentric DNA pioneer who found himself pontificating on how Blacks’ separate evolutionary patterns conferred certain genes that depress their intellects. |
|Watson's Dark Vision, Philadelphia InquirerNovember 5th, 2007Perhaps Watson's most important legacy will turn out to be as a counter-example: a demonstration of what not to do in order to use science for the good of humanity.|
|James Watson Retires After Racial Remarks, New York TimesOctober 25th, 2007James D. Watson, the eminent biologist who ignited an uproar last week with remarks about the intelligence of people of African descent, retired today as chancellor of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island and from its board.|
|Watson's WorldOctober 24th, 2007James Watson's worldview is not simply racist; he's promoting full-tilt eugenics.|
|Still Unnoticed: James Watson’s Eugenic EnthusiasmsOctober 22nd, 2007No media accounts so far have cited James Watson's active and explicit support for a new program of eugenics, based not on outmoded scientific theories but on twenty-first century genetic and reproductive technologies.|
|Watson as wake-up call: When genetics endorses a new eugenics, Biopolitical TimesOctober 22nd, 2007Though neither media nor blogosphere have noted it so far, Watson and a small but disturbing number of other prominent figures are actively promoting a renewed program of eugenics - this time using 21st-century reproductive and genetic technologies.|
|James Watson's LegacyReviving Bigotry and Eugenics, Biopolitical TimesOctober 22nd, 2007James Watson on eugenics, genetic modification, race, intelligence, sex, and more|
|The Nobel Prize and the New Eugenics, Biopolitical TimesOctober 9th, 2007Not mentioned in the award announcement or media coverage of it are new Nobelist Mario Capecchi’s views on the future use of these techniques to produce transgenic human beings. In short, Capecchi is on record embracing the idea.|
|The Rebirth of a Nation?, Colorlines (Sept / Oct 2007)September 19th, 2007300 is arguably the most racially charged movie since D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation. Closer inspection reveals a subtler, yet similarly troubling idea that has gone largely unnoticed: 300's unapologetic glorification of eugenics.|
|Stupid is as Stupid Does, Biopolitical TimesJuly 2nd, 2007Arguments putting forth the idea that intelligence is a fixed, measurable, and heritable trait are making a comeback. Take Michael Hanlon's commentary piece in last week's New Scientist as an example. |
|One Overly Pessimistic BoBo, Biopolitical TimesJune 22nd, 2007New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks' writing on human genetic engineering might go to a new low. |
|Oh Baby, Biopolitical TimesJune 8th, 2007A small brouhaha has been building over Bay Area radio station KMEL's online baby contest, whereby listeners can submit their babies' pictures and vote for their favorites.|
|Surviving Ourselves [PDF]Unpacking Reproductive Justice, Genetic Technologies & EugenicsJune 1st, 2007Presentation at SisterSong’s “Let’s Talk About Sex” Conference, Chicago, IL|
|The Crossroads of America?, Biopolitical TimesApril 13th, 2007The state of Indiana has apologized for its role in the eugenics movement. As a native of Indiana, where I spent my first twenty years, the story was already close to home. But when I saw the photo of Jamie Coleman (above), a woman present at the marker commemoration who'd been sterilized in 1971, it moved even closer.|
|Eugenics, Democracy, and Freedom
, Biopolitical TimesMarch 22nd, 2007300 is arguably the most racially charged movie since D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation. But while race and racism are certainly dominant themes, another troubling aspect has gone largely unnoticed: its unrestrained glorification of eugenics.|
|Prisons: Rehabilitation or Repository?, Biopolitical TimesMarch 15th, 2007On the heels of the IOM's suggestion to relax restrictions on using prisoners in clinical trials, South Carolina is looking to push the envelope a bit further: incentivizing prisoners to "donate" organs by skimming 180 days off their sentence.|
|'Embryo Bank' Stirs Ethics Fears, Washington PostJanuary 6th, 2007"A Texas company has started producing batches of ready-made embryos that single women and infertile couples can order after reviewing detailed information about the... characteristics of the egg and sperm donors."|
|Slippery When Wet, Biopolitical TimesDecember 15th, 2006Between Iran’s Holocaust-questioning conference, the New York Times article on disabled parents designing babies with disabilities matching their own, and Armand Marie Leroi’s controversial article on eliminating fetuses with undesirable traits, eugenics seems to be the soup de jour on many people’s menus these days.|
|Eugenics ConferenceGenetic CrossroadsNovember 15th, 2006Eugenics & Emerging Technologies: Bioethics in the Shadow of Auschwitz? brought key figures in law, bioethics, journalism, science, and social justice advocacy to the National Press Club in Washington, DC for a day-long conference on the prospects of a new eugenics based on emerging human biotechnologies. |
|Eugenics: Yesterday,Today, and Tomorrow, Biopolitical TimesNovember 8th, 2006Yesterday's New York Times had a fascinating article on Lebensborn, a Nazi eugenics program designed to breed children with desirable traits(blond hair, blue eyes, etc.) in order to create a superior Aryan race.|
|The costly appliance of science, The GuardianSeptember 14th, 2006"The advance of knowledge is often a mixed blessing. Over the past 60 years, nuclear physics has been one obvious example of this truth. Over the next 60 years, genetics may be another. "|
|Stem Cell Caution, Tom PaineMay 24th, 2006"I'm worried because in their over-the-top enthusiasm for stem cell and cloning research, Democrats are ignoring the many ways in which it could, if irresponsibly promoted and inadequately regulated, have consequences at odds with core Democratic values."|
|Cut-off GenesOur gentle descent toward eugenics, SlateMay 19th, 2006"The most important shift in the HFEA decision is that the lines being drawn in each of these areas_probability, treatability, and age of onset_are increasingly subjective."|
|Stem-cell oracles[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky], J. The Jewish newsweekly of northern CaliforniaFebruary 23rd, 2006Though still in relative infancy, stem-cell research holds great promise to cure juvenile diabetes and a host of other conditions, from spinal cord injury to Alzheimer’s disease to cancer. Is there a Jewish position on stem-cell research?
|Congratulations, it's a Viking!Eugenics past and future, Sacramento News & ReviewSeptember 29th, 2005Ralph Brave warns that "marketing enticements and procreative choices [are] luring today's parents-to-be. While some people warn against the dangers of a new 'consumer eugenics,' such ads make it clear we are already considerably down that road."|
|Human Plants, Human HarvestThe Hidden History of California EugenicsSeptember 27th, 2005This 2005 exhibit was the first to be exclusively devoted to the history of eugenics in California.|
|Discussing the ethics of altering human genes, San Francisco ChronicleSeptember 30th, 2004At an event sponsored by the UC Berkeley Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism, CGS's Marcy Darnovsky and author Bill McKibben spoke to an overflow crowd about the challenges of the new human genetic technologies and California's Prop 71.|
|Cell divide[Quotes CGS's Richard Hayes], San Francisco Bay GuardianSeptember 29th, 2004"Proponents of a state plan for stem-cell research would like you to believe only the religious right opposes it. But some of the strongest critics are hardly Christian conservatives."|
|Posthuman Enough?, BioScienceMarch 30th, 2004Will we say "enough" and set up the controls necessary to prevent the transformation of a portion of the human population into superpeople?|