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About Human Rights & Human Biotechnology


Claims to universal human rights depend, in part, on formal recognition of our common humanity. Many countries use human rights as a broad framework to think about regulatory options for human biotechnologies. International declarations also commonly use this framework. Examples include the Council of Europe's Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine and UNESCO's Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights.

The Convention on Biomedicine and Human Rights, like a number of other international agreements and declarations, rejects biotechnology applications that would alter the genomes of future generations. Manipulating genes in a manner that encodes inequality into our genes could easily unravel centuries of progress toward respecting human worth.



Is It Time To Stop Using Race In Medical Research?by Angus ChenNPRFebruary 5th, 2016Medical researchers often use race to define health risks. But a geneticist and a sociologist (Dorothy Roberts) say racial categories don't accurately reflect who people are, and that science has to change.
Taking race out of human geneticsby Michael Yudell, Dorothy Roberts, Rob DeSalle & Sarah TishkoffScienceFebruary 5th, 2016"We believe the use of biological concepts of race in human genetic research—so disputed and so mired in confusion—is problematic at best and harmful at worst. It is time for biologists to find a better way."
Expert: Parents often won't take surrogate kids with defectsby Rod McGuirkAssociated PressFebruary 3rd, 2016Baby Gammy, left by intended parents with his poor surrogate mother in Thailand, was one of several cases of surrogate children abandoned, an expert told a parliamentary inquiry.
DNA Got a Kid Kicked Out of School—And It’ll Happen Againby Sarah ZhangWiredFebruary 1st, 2016Genetic discrimination. Get used to those two words together. With DNA tests cheap and readily available, the potential for discrimination based on the results has gone way up.
A Conversation With No Más Bebés Filmmakers Virginia Espino and Renee Tajima-Peñaby Tina VasquezRH Reality CheckFebruary 1st, 2016Get a glimpse into the making of No Más Bebés, the documentary that looks into the sterilization of Mexican women during the late 1960s and early 1970s in Los Angeles County.
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.
‘No Más Bebés’: Documentary Highlights History of Forced Sterilizations in L.A.by Sonali KolkhatkarTruthDigJanuary 21st, 2016The film covers a grisly era of California history—the forced sterilization of untold numbers of poor, mostly Latino, Spanish-speaking women in the 1960s and 70s.
Whiteness and “Making a Murderer”: Manitowoc, the “One-Branch Family Tree” and the Sinister Race Science of “Degenerate Whites”by Kate TuttleSalonJanuary 7th, 2016The Avery clan’s reputation as "trouble" echoes myths planted by inane, racist eugenicists in the early 1900s.
Study: Transparency Lacking in Biomedical Literatureby Anna AzvolinskyThe ScientistJanuary 4th, 2016"There is a growing momentum and appreciation for the importance of open science and recognition that our scientific enterprise may not be serving the public interest by sequestering data."
Whatever Happened to Human Experimentation?by Carl ElliottHastings Center ReportJanuary 1st, 2016The choice to abandon the word “experiment” is emblematic of a larger movement beginning in the 1990s, in which many bioethics scholars moved from being critics of the research enterprise to being its champions.
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