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About Biopolitics, Parties, Pundits & Human Biotechnology


Policy decisions about human biotechnologies have typically been debated among elite commissions and experts. But controversy is increasingly spilling over into mainstream news media and political debates.

This trend has been most notable in the United States, with the emergence of human embryonic stem cell research as a political issue. Stem cell debates at the policy level have made this discussion far more visible to the public.

The Bush Administration's restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research elevated the issue to the front pages of newspapers. Shortly after its announcement in 2001, partisan battle lines were drawn in ways that mirror the abortion rights divide.

Republicans hoped that opposition to research that destroys embryos would increase support among their party's religious conservative base. Democrats countered by assembling a coalition of patient advocates, biomedical researchers, and biotechnology entrepreneurs and appealed to moderate swing voters and Republicans who they believed would be swayed by promises of cures.

There were some notable exceptions to this partisan line-up. Some conservatives support embryonic stem cell research; some liberals and progressives who support the research in principle criticize aspects of its conduct and regulation. Unfortunately, the polarized debate has frequently distorted facts while obscuring a range of important social issues unrelated to the moral status of embryos.



New DNA Tech: Creating Unicorns and Curing Cancer for Real?by David Ewing DuncanThe Daily BeastMarch 30th, 2015We have the earth-shattering technology in our handsóbut even its inventors worry about its awesome power to alter our genetic future.
Bioethics Commission Releases Final Neuroscience Report as Part of BRAIN Initiative: Focuses on Controversial Topics that Must be Addressed if Neuroscience is to Progress and be Applied Ethicallyby Misti Ault AndersonThe blog of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues March 26th, 2015The President requested that the Bioethics Commission consider the ethical issues associated with neuroscience research and the application and implications of neuroscience research findings.
Lisa Ikemoto Guest Piece on Human Germline Genetic Modificationby Lisa C. IkemotoKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogMarch 23rd, 2015The call for a moratorium is as much a game changer as the technology itself. It creates an opportunity for research transparency and open exchange between the scientific community and the lay public.
Scientists Urge Temporary Moratorium On Human Genome Editsby Rob SteinNPRMarch 20th, 2015A technology called CRISPR could allow scientists to alter the human genetic code for generations by making genetic changes in a human egg, sperm or embryo. Leading biologists and bioethicists are calling for a worldwide moratorium.
A Tipping Point on Human Germline Modification?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 19th, 2015Amidst reports that human embryos have been modified using the gene editing technique CRISPR, several groups of scientists have issued statements proposing moratoria on human germline genome editing.
States aren't Eager to Regulate Fertility Industry[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Michael OlloveUSA TodayMarch 19th, 2015The Utah Legislature has ventured into the "Wild West of the fertility industry" by passing a law giving children conceived via sperm donation access to the medical histories of their biological fathers.
California and your DNA: Is it a healthy relationship? by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 16th, 2015While every state across the country takes part in newborn screening, each state differs in how it handles the blood cards and the genetic information they hold. In California, those cards are stored indefinitely and potentially rented out for a broad array of uses.
The Many Ethical Implications of Emerging Technologies by Nayef Al-RodhanScientific AmericanMarch 13th, 2015Brainlike computer chips, smart pharmacology and other advances offer great promise but also raise serious questions that we must deal with now.
Get Genetic Testing and Cheat the System?by Robert KlitzmanCNNMarch 13th, 2015Many people undergo genetic testing on their own and pay out of pocket, allowing them to keep the result to themselves.
23andMe Adds On: More About The Gene-Test Makerís Drug R&D Ambitionsby Alex LashXconomyMarch 12th, 2015"We definitely think genetics should be married with all the other info being tracked. That will come in time."
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