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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.



The Rights of Donor-Conceived Offspringby Naomi Cahn, Biopolitical Times guest contributorApril 15th, 2015While their parents’ choices affect them as children, donor-conceived children grow up, and many become curious about their origins. The law’s tight focus on the parent-child relationship excludes legal questions relating to donor-conceived adults.
Markingson case: University of Minnesota can't regain trust under current leadershipby Arne H. CarlsonStar TribuneApril 13th, 2015We will not see meaningful reform of research on human subjects so long as leaders responsible for years of denials and stonewalling remain in charge.
The Conflict Between Human Rights And Biotechnological Evolutionby Srinivas RamanEurasia ReviewApril 11th, 2015Genetically modifying humans has the potential to violate human rights and freedom and could possibly lead to catastrophic consequences for the human race if legalized and encouraged.
Calling for “More than a Moratorium” on Human Germline Modificationby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 9th, 2015A broader array of critical responses and policy suggestions follows recent reports that the gene-editing technique CRISPR has been used to genetically modify human sperm, eggs or embryos.
Human Genetic Engineering Demands more than a Moratoriumby Sheila Jasanoff, J. Benjamin Hurlbut and Krishanu SahaThe GuardianApril 7th, 2015Expert calls for a moratorium on germline gene engineering are no substitute for richer public debate on the ethics and politics of our biotechnological futures.
Public interest group condemns human germline modification efforts, supports research moratorium, calls for US prohibition[Press Statement]March 19th, 2015We're at a watershed moment in determining whether human genetic technologies will be used in the public interest and for the common good, or in ways that are dangerous and socially pernicious.
With World Watching, UK Allows Experiments to Genetically Alter Babiesby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 4th, 2015Despite several possibly insurmountable legal and safety hurdles, the House of Lords gave the final approval needed to move into fertility clinics the embryo modification techniques referred to as “mitochondrial donation.”
Why Racism is not Backed by Scienceby Adam RutherfordThe Guardian March 1st, 2015As we harvest ever more human genomes one fact remains unshakeable: race does not exist.
A primer on DNA forensicsby Blair CrawfordOttawa CitizenFebruary 18th, 2015Improved technology and automation means DNA profiles can now be done in a matter of days and, in the future, the wait could be reduced to just hours. But DNA evidence is hardly infallible.
Genetic Testing and Tribal Identityby Rose EvelethThe AtlanticJanuary 26th, 2015The question of genetic testing, and particularly genetic testing to determine ancestral origins, is controversial for many Native Americans.
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