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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.



Recruiter Matchtech changes name to Gattaca - same as the hit Hollywood movie about eugenicsby Alan ToveyThe TelegraphJuly 18th, 2016The company claims they did not even consider the connection to the film when they chose the new name.
How Do You Regulate the Digital Health Revolution?by Laura EntisFortuneJuly 18th, 2016Digital health apps and other startups may claim to be more effective than they actually are.
The White House Is Pushing Precision Medicine, but It Won’t Happen for Yearsby Mike OrcuttMIT Technology ReviewJuly 18th, 2016Costs are high and the science is not developed enough.
Do CRISPR enthusiasts have their head in the sand about the safety of gene editing? by Sharon BegleySTATJuly 18th, 2016Off-target effects and other concerns around genome editing should be taken more seriously.
U.N. rights panel urges Kuwait to amend broad DNA testing lawby Stephanie NebehayReutersJuly 15th, 2016The compulsory DNA testing would be a significant violation of people's privacy.
Pro and Con: Should Gene Editing Be Performed on Human Embryos? by John Harris & Marcy DarnovskyNational GeographicJuly 15th, 2016Darnovsky and Harris debate germline gene editing.
The Direct-to-Consumer Stem Cell Industry in the USby Pete ShanksJuly 15th, 2016There are more stem-cell clinics than anyone suspected, and it’s not clear that they are operating with proper supervision.
The EEOC’s Final Rule on GINA and Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs to Take Effect This Monthby Jennifer K. WagnerGenomics Law ReportJuly 14th, 2016The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act now has updated regulations around health information obtained from employees' spouses.
At Gene Editing Meeting, Scientists Discuss God, Racism, Designer Babies[originally published as "At Gene Editing Meeting, Scientists Discuss God, Racism, Designer Babies"]by Nidhi SubbaramanBuzzFeedJuly 14th, 2016Opponents of germline gene editing have strong concerns both around the safety and ethics of altering reproductive cells.
CRISPR Bébés | New Questions on 3P-IVF | Gene Drives | Speed Limits | "Schizophrenic Felon" SpermOur monthly newsletter Biopolitical Views & News rounds up our commentary and recent news stories. Here's the July issue!
A Medical Mystery of the Best Kind: Major Diseases Are in Declineby Gina KolataThe New York TimesJuly 14th, 2016Improvements in treatment and prevention account for only part of the decline.
$10 Million California Stem Cell Award for Creation of a New 'Lifeline" for Kidney Disease by David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJuly 13th, 2016The Humacyte study will conduct research with 350 patients.
Resumed stem cell study by EditorialThe Korea TimesJuly 13th, 2016Stem cell research in Korea has been slow due to a data fabrication incident, but research has recently been approved.
Puffing Cryonics in New Scientist?by Pete ShanksJuly 13th, 2016New Scientist is a popular science magazine that sometimes prioritizes popularity over science.
Considering Gene Editingby Jef AkstThe ScientistJuly 12th, 2016A public meeting in Washington, DC continues an international committee investigation into precision DNA editing.
How China is rewriting the book on human originsby Jane QiuNature NewsJuly 12th, 2016Fossil finds in China are challenging ideas about the evolution of modern humans and our closest relatives.
Frozen Eggs and Heated Debatesby Angel Petropanagos, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJuly 12th, 2016What’s missing and what’s misrepresented in public debates about social egg freezing?
One Country's Disturbing Project to Build a Complete DNA Databank of Every Citizen and Foreign Visitor Is Already Underway by Ava KofmanAlternetJuly 11th, 2016The Gulf nation of Kuwait plans to build the world’s largest DNA database this year.
Gene Editing: The Dual-use Conundrumby Janet PhelanNew Eastern OutlookJuly 11th, 2016Genome editing, particularly germline editing, has been declared a “weapon of mass destruction.”
Don’t Eat the Yellow Rice: The Danger of Deploying Vitamin A Golden Riceby Ted GreinerIndependent Science NewsJuly 11th, 2016Nobel laureates advocate for yellow rice that is neither safe nor effective.
CAR-T Deaths Cannot Be Goodby Derek LoweScience AAAS July 8th, 2016The deaths will likely move other biotech companies to conduct research with extra caution.
Sustainable Week: Fixing Our Broken Moral Compass[citing CGS’ Elliot Hosman]by Chuck SternBTRtoday July 8th, 2016Elliot Hosman critiques genetic determinism and encourages holding institutions accountable for their harmful actions.
Why scientists' failure to understand GM opposition is stifling debate and halting progress by Sarah HartleyThe ConversationJuly 7th, 2016There are both scientific and social problems with the GM crop "Golden Rice."
Eugenics bill passes Houseby Kevin EllisShelby StarJuly 7th, 2016North Carolina bill will ensure eugenics victims’ compensation is not counted as income.
Biotech execs in search of human guinea pigs find eager subjects: themselvesby Elizabeth PrestonSTATJuly 7th, 2016Self-experimentation has both perks and downfalls.
President Obama’s 1-million-person health study kicks off with five recruitment centersby Jocelyn KaiserScience MagazineJuly 7th, 2016The early stages of the biobank are set in motion.
Medicine’s next stepby Barack ObamaThe Boston GlobeJuly 7th, 2016The Obama administration's precision medicine initiative will collect health data from at least a million people.
In clinical trials, for-profit review boards are taking over for hospitals. Should they?by Sheila KaplanSTATJuly 6th, 2016Commercial IRBs often have conflicts of interest.
Price Gouging and the Dangerous New Breed of Pharma Companiesby A. Gordon SmithHarvard Business ReviewJuly 6th, 2016Some pharmaceutical companies prioritize profits instead of research.
US firm begins to market Cambodia-based surrogacy serviceby Will Jackson & Vandy MuongThe Phnom Penh PostJuly 6th, 2016Surrogacy Cambodia markets cross-border surrogacy despite the Cambodian government's tacit disapproval of surrogacy.
Sweden’s national DNA database could be released to private firmsby Tom MendelsohnARS TechnicaJuly 6th, 2016The country has a closely guarded registry of every citizen under the age of 43.
Fresh concerns raised over controversial 'three parent baby' therapy which aims to eliminate inherited diseaseThe Irish ExaminerJuly 6th, 2016Research has shown adverse effects on metabolism and lifespan, among other concerns.
Why science needs progressive voices more than ever by Alice BellThe GuardianJuly 6th, 2016After Brexit, science must speak up for those who have been marginalized.
A Nation Ruled by Science Is a Terrible Ideaby Jeffrey GuhinSlateJuly 5th, 2016Logic and rationality can erase the nuances of people's lives.
These People Were Likely Victims of a Swedish Eugenics Institutionby Jordan G. TeicherSlateJuly 5th, 2016A photographer highlights the photos of eugenics victims whose stories have been ignored over the years.
Influential Scientific Journal Rips Effort to Loosen Stem Cell Research Rulesby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJuly 5th, 2016Proposed treatments have not received FDA approval due to inefficacy and safety concerns.
FDA should stand firm on stem-cell treatmentsby Editorial BoardNatureJuly 5th, 2016Regulation around stem cell treatments is critical, given that many of the treatments don't even work.
Find the time to discuss new bioweaponsby Malcolm DandoNature World ViewJuly 5th, 2016The Biological Weapons Convention must undergo reassessment, given emerging scientific dangers.
California Drug Price Plan Is Criticized by Patient Advocatesby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesJuly 4th, 2016Pharmaceutical companies fear the new Drug Price Relief Act.
'False Hopes, Sizable Profits' -- The Nation's Largely Unregulated Stem Cell Clinicsby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJuly 1st, 2016"The clinics use hope as a marketing tool. A weapon," writes Paul Knoepfler.
The "Outing" of Sperm Donor 9623by Hasmik DjoulakianBiopolitical TimesJuly 1st, 2016A lawsuit by families who used the sperm of a "schizophrenic felon" lands at the complicated intersection of fertility clinic negligence, genetic reductionism, disability, and eugenics.
British Woman, 60, Wins Legal Round in Fight to Give Birth to Grandchildby Dan BilefskyThe New York TimesJune 30th, 2016Issues of informed consent have been re-evaluated.
Unproven Stem Cell Clinics Proliferate in the U.S.by Dina Fine MaronScientific AmericanJune 30th, 2016570 websites advertise unproven therapies for sports injuries and conditions including autism, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
A DNA Test Won’t Explain Elizabeth Warren’s Ancestryby Matt MillerSlateJune 29th, 2016Could more data that would improve the precision of ancestry tests? Probably not — in fact, it might get more complicated.
Hateful politics infiltrate human genome editing debate in Franceby Elliot HosmanJune 29th, 2016New campaign calling for an international moratorium on CRISPR embryos experiments launched by prominent anti-abortion, anti-LGBT French group.
Gene-therapy trials must proceed with cautionby EditorialNatureJune 28th, 2016Past mistakes, which have ranged from harmful to deadly, must be prevented from recurring.
This scientist is trying to stop a lab-created global disasterby Kristen V. BrownFusionJune 27th, 2016"If we misuse our power, we lose the trust. That is the tightrope we walk," says Kevin Esvelt.
The Supreme Court decision that's shaking up biotechby Damian GardeSTATJune 27th, 2016A lower court's decision will stand: Sequenom can't patent its prenatal gene test because it is based on a natural biological process.
What does Brexit mean for bioethics?by Xavier SymonsBioEdgeJune 25th, 2016The UK may not leave the Council of Europe, the umbrella organization for the Committee on Bioethics.
All about the base: New businesses eye the opportunities in managing genome dataThe EconomistJune 25th, 2016Currently, one firm - Illumina - controls 70% of a market worth $3.3 billion in 2015.
CRISPR Therapeutics adds $38M to Series B pot, but lags behind Parkerby Ben AdamsFierce BiotechJune 24th, 2016An NIH committee has backed a study funded by billionaire Sean Parker that will attempt to alter the T cells of 15 people with cancer.
Bill covering in vitro fertilization for injured veterans clears the House by Seattle Times StaffThe Seattle TimesJune 23rd, 2016Veterans Affairs is closer to paying for in vitro fertilization for injured soldiers seeking to have children.
A Cautionary Tale of "Stem Cell Tourism"by Gina KolataThe New York TimesJune 22nd, 2016A patient who sought dubious stem cell therapies now has an aggressive tumor in his spine that doctors don't know how to treat.
23andMe Sells Data for Drug Searchby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJune 21st, 201623andMe is monetizing DNA rather the way Facebook makes money from our "likes." What’s more, it gets its customers to pay for the privilege.
Federal Oversight Group Has Complaints But Says Yes To CRISPR Trialby Alex LashXconomyJune 21st, 2016Despite worries about conflict of interest, an NIH committee voted to let researchers move ahead with a clinical trial that could be the first use of CRISPR-Cas9 in a human treatment.
Book Review: Discounted Life - The Price of Global Surrogacy in Indiaby Ëlo LuikBioNewsJune 20th, 2016Rudrappa locates surrogacy within the histories of politics and control as well as aspiration, nationalism and modernisation that the bodies of working-class Indian women have long been subjects of and subjected to.
Money Behind First CRISPR Test? It’s from Internet Billionaire Sean Parkerby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJune 20th, 2016Parker’s foundation is unusual because it says it will control patents on research it funds and even bring treatments to market.
Read Sonia Sotomayor’s Atomic Bomb of a Dissent Slamming Racial Profiling and Mass Imprisonmentby Mark Joseph SternSlateJune 20th, 2016Her dissent explains the extent to which police violate predominantly black and brown people's bodily integrity during "stop and frisk" procedures.
Do women who donate their eggs run a health risk?by Sandra G. BoodmanThe Washington PostJune 20th, 2016Health advocates say that donors are being falsely reassured that the process is safe, without being told that there is no definitive research.
Japanese city backs egg-freezing scheme to boost birthrate by Associated Press [Urayasu, Japan]The Guardian June 20th, 2016The city of Urayasu is allocating £600,000 for a project in which women will receive a substantial discount to freeze their eggs.
Workers May Soon Have To Share Health Data — Or Pay A Penaltyby Stephanie M. LeeBuzzFeed NewsJune 18th, 2016Ever thought about joining your work’s wellness program? The consequences of opting out could soon get stiffer.
Subsidised egg freezing isn’t the answer to Japan’s birth rateby Angel PetropanagosNew ScientistJune 17th, 2016The health risks of egg retrieval make Japan's publicly-funded egg freezing initiative a poor solution to the country's problem of population shrinkage.
Good riddance to a repugnant California cap on family aidby The Times Editorial BoardThe Los Angeles TimesJune 16th, 2016The “maximum family grant” discouraged women on welfare from having more children.
First Human Test of CRISPR Proposedby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJune 16th, 2016The proposed cancer treatment is an immune therapy in which a patient’s own blood cells will be removed and genetically altered.
Promising gene therapies pose million-dollar conundrumby Erika Check HaydenNature NewsJune 15th, 2016Economists, investors and medical insurers can’t figure out how to pay for gene therapy treatments.
Gene drive debate must include voices from Africa, elsewhereby Richard Nchabi KamwiSTATJune 15th, 2016The conversations have been missing the perspectives of representatives from malaria-affected countries, largely in South and Central America, Africa, and southern Asia.
Should We Sequence the DNA of Every Cancer Patient?by Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJune 14th, 2016A startup plans to give free genetic tests to 100,000 cancer patients in order to steer them to drug companies.
"Safe" call? My thoughts on the latest mitochondrial replacement paper by Ted MorrowTed's BlogJune 14th, 2016The reaction from many has been upbeat, but my reading of the paper is different. Despite all the warnings about mitonuclear mismatching, it is apparently glossed over by scientists and science communicators alike."
Myriad Genetics Refuses To Accept That People Have A Right To Access Their Own DNA Sequencesby Glyn MoodyTech DirtJune 13th, 2016Despite major court rulings against gene patents, Myriad still refuses to release information from its huge DNA database built over years of sequencing patients' BRCA genes.
House votes to expand compensation for eugenics victims by Colin CampbellThe News & ObserverJune 13th, 2016The North Carolina House voted to expand a program to compensate people who were sterilized by the state government from 1929 to 1974.
DEA Wants Inside Your Medical Records to Fight the War on Drugsby Christopher MoraffThe Daily Beast June 9th, 2016The agency wants access to millions of private health files without a warrant, including those of two transgender men who are taking testosterone.
The National Academies’ Gene Drive study has ignored important and obvious issues by Jim ThomasThe Guardian June 9th, 2016Some important gaps in the study include an analysis of The report ducks questions about militarization, commercialization, and food security, but acknowledges there is "insufficient evidence to support the environmental release of gene drives."
Mitochondrial Replacement Hype Goes Nuclear Including by Wellcome Trustby Paul KnoepflerThe NicheJune 9th, 2016A new paper shows serious and difficult safety hurdles, but the UK media and some UK scientists are engaging in hype, claiming the exact opposite.
Interview: “Democratic deliberation” and bioethicsby Nelson Michael & Xavier SymonsBioEdgeJune 8th, 2016A member of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues discusses the state of US bioethics.
Genetically engineered bugs to fight malaria and Zika? Not so fast, experts sayby Joel AchenbachThe Washington PostJune 8th, 2016The use of "gene drive" technologies threaten incalculable harm to ecosystems worldwide.
UK Researchers Now Say Three-Person Embryo Technique Doesn't Work; Propose New Methodby Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJune 8th, 2016New research shows the mitochondrial manipulation technique recently legalized in the UK faces major unknowns.
Unheard Publics in the Human Genome Editing Policy Debateby Elliot HosmanJune 8th, 2016The socially dangerous prospect of using genome editing tools for human reproduction underlies the need for caution in modifying embryos in basic research.
FDA chief aims to recruit 100 million Americans for precision medicine researchby Meghana KeshavanSTAT NewsJune 7th, 2016President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative set a goal of recruiting a million volunteers to hand over their genetic and health data. The new head of FDA thinks that’s far too modest.
Biden unveils launch of major, open-access database to advance cancer researchby Laurie McGinleyThe Washington PostJune 6th, 2016The Vice President says the Genomic Data Commons will encourage collaboration among scientists, and will protect patient privacy.
Big Biotech is here — and it’s starting to look a lot like Big Pharma by Meghana KeshavanSTAT NewsJune 6th, 2016The market characteristics and goals of biotech companies align increasingly with those of pharmaceutical companies.
Swiss back genetic testing of embryos (again)by Celia LuterbacherSwiss InfoJune 5th, 2016Testing embryos can prevent transmission of serious genetic diseases, but also threatens discrimination against people with disabilities and a "slippery slope toward eugenics."
A 'family spat' spills out in public, as scientists debate effort to build a human genome by Andrew JosephSTAT NewsJune 4th, 2016Although it’s not a goal of the project, brewing up a complete synthetic human genome could lead, in theory, to the formation of an actual person, sans parents.
25 Scientists Just Made A $1 Billion Pitch To Build A Human Genome From Scratchby Nidhi SubbaramanBuzzFeedJune 2nd, 2016Drew Endy and Laurie Zoloth argue the project fails to ask a basic question: “Is developing capacities to synthesize human genomes a good idea?”
Scientists Announce HGP-Write, Project to Synthesize the Human Genomeby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesJune 2nd, 2016Synthesizing a human genome "immediately raise[s] numerous ethical and philosophical red flags," NIH director Francis Collins said.
Scientists Say They Hope To Create A Human Genome In The Labciting CGS' Marcy Darnovskyby Rob SteinNPRJune 2nd, 2016"The worry is that we're going to be synthesizing entire optimized human genomes...to produce synthetic human beings that they see as improved models," said Marcy Darnovsky.
California's StemCells, Inc., Flatlines; A Look at the Implicationsby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJune 1st, 2016The company's sudden shutdown surprised and shocked some, but it also demonstrated the level of risk in stem cell research.
On Cyborgs and Gene Editing: Lessons from Orphan Blackby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical Times guest contributorJune 1st, 2016The television show takes a cue from science fiction author Donna Haraway and engages the dangers of human genetic modification.
Genes Are Overratedby Nathaniel ComfortThe AtlanticJune 1st, 2016The discovery of DNA wasn’t predestined, nor does it dictate our destiny—and current ideas about it may die.
Mayo Clinic lands $142 million from NIH to build precision medicine biobankby Bernie MonegainHealthcare IT NewsMay 31st, 2016Mayo Clinic will provide infrastructure to store, analyze, and host data as part of a program that aims to enroll one million people to boost President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative.
Finally allowed 2nd child, older Chinese parents turn to IVFby Louise WattUS News & World ReportMay 29th, 2016China's decision to allow all married couples to have two children is driving a surge in demand for fertility treatment among older women.
Opioids: Can a Genetic Test Identify an Addict in the Making?by Kristina FioreMedPage TodayMay 29th, 2016Two companies engage in "laboratory developed tests" to determine the role of genetics in addiction.
British scientist can genetically modify human embryos, ethics committee saysby Lydia WillgressThe Telegraph [UK]May 27th, 2016Following HFEA approval in February, a local ethics committee approves Kathy Niakan's program to CRISPR human embryos for basic research.
How should we pay for gene therapy?by Aaron Carroll (The Incidental Economist)Academy Health BlogMay 27th, 2016Unless pricing is regulated, gene therapies will likely be too expensive for most people to afford.
What It Means To Be Human Is Changing Thanks To Gene Editingby Joe Matthews (Zócalo Public Square)Huffington PostMay 27th, 2016“We might be splitting in class between those who can afford to manage our children eugenically and those who cannot.”
Netherlands gives green light for growing human embryos by Agence France-PresseThe GuardianMay 27th, 2016The Dutch government sanctions "limited research" to help infertile couples and to tackle hereditary or congenital diseases.
How Gene Testing Forced Me to Reveal My Private Health Informationby Jody AllardViceMay 27th, 2016Genetic testing can yield inconclusive results and undermine people's privacy and access to life, disability, and long-term care insurance.
As an industry giant invests in science fairs, we all invest (for better or worse) in biotechby Carl ZimmerSTATMay 26th, 2016School science fairs have evolved into sites of biotech and biomedical sponsorship and cultivation.
Ethical Questions Loom Over Efforts to Make a Human Genome from Scratchby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewMay 25th, 2016Printing genomes on demand could mean custom-built organisms, difficult ethical questions, and profits for a handful of companies.
Will Modern Genetics Turn Us Into Gene “Genies”?[Collection of brief essays]by Marcy Darnovsky, Dan Sarewitz, Samuel Weiss Evans, Arvis Sulovari, Eric A. WidraZócalo Public SquareMay 24th, 2016Contributors discuss their stances on the dangers and potential benefits of gene manipulation.
Four steps to rebuild trust in biologyby Filipo Lentzos & Nicholas EvansThe GuardianMay 23rd, 2016Secrecy, safety breaches and controversial experiments are risking the reputation of biomedical science.
Bayer Offers to Buy Monsanto for $62 Billionby Michael J. de la Merced & Chad BrayThe New York TimesMay 23rd, 2016The merger would increase Bayer's scale of operations, whose politics and practices are similar to those of Monsanto.
Genome games: A secret meet and a controversyby Pete ShanksDeccan ChronicleMay 22nd, 2016A complete lack of transparency around a gathering to discuss synthetic human genomes triggers anger worldwide.
Is Egg Freezing Only for White Women?by Reniqua AllenThe New York Times [Opinion]May 21st, 2016In the context of egg freezing's unknown risks and success rates, black women are being excluded from "fertility insurance" conversations and face stigma.
Debate rages over use of fresh stem cell eggsby Shin Sung-Sik, Kang Ki-Heon, and Esther ChungJoongang Daily [South Korea]May 20th, 2016Some South Korean scientists want the government to let them use fresh women's eggs for cloning-based stem cell research.
Why is Congress trying to weaken the FDA's oversight of dangerous drugs?by Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesMay 19th, 2016With looser standards for drug approval, the "21st Century Cures Act" would grant pharmaceutical companies greater leeway in selling their products.
Bill Banning Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy Consideredby Tanya LewisThe ScientistMay 19th, 2016A US Senate committee is considering extending a ban on federal funds for research involving genetically modifying human embryos, which includes germline mitochondrial manipulation techniques.
UK should freeze mitochondrial replacement as Egli paper ID’s serious problemby Paul KnoepflerThe NicheMay 19th, 2016New research, which shows that transfer of one egg's nucleus into another egg might bring along diseased mitochondria, warrants putting an immediate hold on all efforts to use the technique in humans.
It's not just stem cell research that's overhyped—medical science spin is a widespread problemby Kelly CroweCBC NewsMay 18th, 2016The International Society for Stem Cell Research is urging scientists to manage public expectations.
In Search For Cures, Scientists Create Embryos That Are Both Animal And Humanby Rob SteinNPRMay 18th, 2016"You're getting into unsettling ground that I think is damaging to our sense of humanity."
Orphan Black emphasizes the science in its sci-fi with a disturbing chapter on eugenicsby Caroline FramkeVoxMay 15th, 2016The BBC America series about human clones is now tackling the personal, scientific, and societal implications of eugenics, gene editing, and germline engineering.
The disturbing thing that happens when you tell people they have different DNAby Ana SwansonWonkblog [The Washington Post]May 13th, 2016A new study suggests that emphasizing essential differences based on genetics can encourage aggression between groups and stir support for war.
Scientists Hold Secret Meeting to Consider Creating a Synthetic Human Genomeby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesMay 13th, 2016An invitation to the Harvard meeting said the primary goal “would be to synthesize a complete human genome in a cell line within a period of ten years.”
Top scientists hold closed meeting to discuss building a human genome from scratch[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Ike SwetlitzSTATMay 13th, 2016If we can build a synthetic genome — and eventually, a creature — from the ground up, then what does it mean to be human?
Comment - Closed Harvard Meeting on Human Genome Synthesis[Press statement]May 13th, 2016A new low for scientific accountability, the semi-secret meeting looks like a move to privatize the current conversation about heritable genetic modification.
Federal Microbiome Project Aims to Solve Tiny Riddles of Scienceby Gardiner HarrisThe New York TimesMay 12th, 2016The latest federal scientific "moonshot" will focus on microbiomes, with the hope of medical, environmental, and agricultural benefits.
After rivals’ IPOs, will CRISPR Therapeutics go public or stay buttoned-down?by Damian GardeSTATMay 12th, 2016Like CRISPR Therapeutics, Intellia and Editas were once cagey about their development pipelines, but in documents filed with the government prior to their IPOs, they had to spell out the what, when, and how of their work.
In science, follow the money – if you canby Paul D. Thacker & Curt FurbergThe Los Angeles TimesMay 12th, 2016Disclosure and restrictions do not harm academic freedom. These policies still allow scientists to pursue research, while ensuring that public health is not put at risk in service of corporate profit.
Is academic achievement written into your DNA? It’s complicatedby Sharon BegleySTATMay 11th, 2016Behavioral genetics has long been notorious for claiming complex behaviors are the inevitable product of inherited genes. Altogether 74 genes explain less than .05% of differences in education levels.
Three Cambridge startups are on a mission to fix broken genesby Robert WeismanThe Boston GlobeMay 11th, 2016Editas, Intellia, and CRISPR Therapeutics aim to cure diseases from cancer to blood disorders, but these would-be gene editors also must navigate a new round of ethical questions.
Meet The Scientists Fighting For More Studies On Genes And Racial Differences In Healthby Peter AldhousBuzzFeedMay 11th, 2016Many question if medicine should seek genetic differences based on a social construct like race, diverting research away from environmental health impacts.
Indian woman gives birth at ~70 with help of IVFby Andrew MarszalThe Telegraph [UK]May 10th, 2016Post-menopausal births with donor eggs are increasingly common in India, where couples are often under intense social pressure to have children.
What the man in the street thinks about human enhancement[citing CGS consultant Pete Shanks]by Michael CookBioEdgeMay 7th, 2016Polls show that more than 80% of people surveyed thought babies should not be genetically modified for increased intelligence or sporting ability.
Scientists are trying to use CRISPR to fix everything. What’s wrong with that?by Emily McManusTED IdeasMay 5th, 2016A historian of eugenics asks: "Will individuals start making decisions to use new biotech to improve themselves and their children?"
Hacking CRISPR: Patents, Gene Therapy & Embryosby Elliot HosmanMay 5th, 2016As gene editing experiments on human embryos spread, piecemeal hacks of CRISPR are outpacing discussions of the futures it might enable.
I Want To Put A Baby In You: The Curious Case Of Louisianaby Ellen TrachmanAbove the LawMay 4th, 2016Instead of reasonable regulation, the pending Louisiana bill transparently limits the types of people who can enter surrogacy arrangements.
Google's DeepMind shouldn't suck up our NHS records in secretby Randeep RameshThe Guardian [US]May 4th, 2016The revelation that 1.6 million patients’ records are being used by the company’s artificial intelligence arm rings alarm bells.
Why this lab-grown human embryo has reignited an old ethical debate[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Patrick MonahanScience/AAASMay 4th, 2016It’s easy to obey a rule when you don’t have the means to break it. Now two teams report growing human embryos nearly that long, prompting some scientists and bioethicists to contend that it’s time to revisit the so-called 14-day rule.
New advances in growing human embryos could prompt ethical firestorm[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Eric BoodmanSTATMay 4th, 2016Changing the 14-day rule is an explosive question in an era when CRISPR gene-editing has sparked fears about “designer babies.”
Cultural Influences Reflected in Divergent US vs UK Human Embryo Research Policies[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Eli Y. AdashiThe JAMA ForumMay 3rd, 2016Reactions to CRISPR gene editing experiments depend upon a country's existing laws and regulation.
Dead could be brought 'back to life' in groundbreaking projectby Sarah KnaptonThe Telegraph [UK]May 3rd, 2016A US biotech firm received permission to recruit 20 clinically dead patients for a stem cell treatment.
The gene editor CRISPR won’t fully fix sick people anytime soon. Here’s whyby Jocelyn KaiserScience/AAASMay 3rd, 2016After more than two decades of ups and downs, veterans of the gene therapy field are wary of raising expectations about CRISPR for treating diseases.
As China’s one-child policy ends, surrogacy services rise in the U.S.by Kevin SmithSan Gabriel Valley TribuneApril 30th, 2016“I’ve been contacted by 15 to 18 agencies out of China... 90 percent of them don’t have any patients. They’re just new agencies trying to make a buck."
With CRISPR in Humans On the Horizon, Will the Public Back Intellia?by Alex LashXconomyApril 29th, 2016Intellia and Editas both lack what so many biotech investors crave: data from human clinical trials. As they race to the clinic, it's hard to tell if either company will pay off.
Let people most affected by gene editing write CRISPR rulesby Jessica HamzelouNew ScientistApril 29th, 2016The US National Academies' committee on human gene editing held a discussion in Paris at the French National Academy of Medicine.
A Single $249 Test Analyzes 30 Cancer Genes. But Do You Need It?by Sarah ZhangWIREDApril 28th, 2016Color Genomics is marketing gene tests for 30 cancers, but doctors caution that our ability to sequence DNA has far outpaced our ability to understand what the results mean.
A DNA Sequencer in Every Pocketby Ed YongThe AtlanticApril 28th, 2016Oxford Nanopore Technologies, which severed financial ties with DNA sequencing monolith Illumina in 2013, is "desperately thinking of ways of bringing them down.” These include a USB-powered sequencer called the MinION.
Meet The New CEO Of The $22 Billion Genomics Company You've Never Heard Ofby Christine FarrFast CompanyApril 27th, 2016Gene-sequencing giant Illumina is expanding to direct-to-consumer tests and perhaps brand partnerships, says new CEO Francis deSouza.
Editorial: Editing human genes the CRISPR wayby Editorial BoardThe Chicago TribuneApril 27th, 2016Can we trust scientists and governments to set ethical boundaries for research and therapeutic use — and then stick to them? We're skeptical.
Here Are the Medals Given to Eugenically Healthy Humans in the 1920sby Ella MortonAtlas ObscuraApril 26th, 2016People were judged alongside livestock at state fairs in better baby and fitter family contests.
Gay couple win custody battle against Thai surrogate motherby Oliver HolmesThe Guardian [US]April 26th, 2016The central juvenile and family court ruled in favor of the American biological father of 15-month-old Baby Carmen.
Dwarfism, Chemical Limb Lengthening, and Informed Consentby Joseph StramondoInternational Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics BlogApril 25th, 2016A California biotech company is testing a drug designed to "normalize" annual growth but not address health complications of dwarfism.
Inside the Hidden Global Supply Chain for Frozen Sperm, Eggs, and Embryosby Sarah ZhangWIREDApril 25th, 2016Ever-changing laws and attitudes, which vary not only country by country but within a country, can make transportation logistically difficult.
God’s Red Pencil? CRISPR and The Three Myths of Precise Genome Editingby Jonathan LathamIndependent Science NewsApril 25th, 2016CRISPR is the latest platform in a 70-year-old "gospel of precision" used to justify moving quickly with new chemical and biological technologies, despite decades of disasters and unintended consequences.
US moves to sell gene-edited mushrooms fuel doubts over British ban on GM importsby Robin McKieThe Guardian April 23rd, 2016The USDA approved CRISPR-modified crops, but a European regulatory committee's delays are dismaying some UK researchers.
Why Does Silicon Valley Want to Get So Many Women Pregnant?by Sarah EmersonMotherboard [VICE]April 22nd, 2016Women’s fertility apps have found a profitable niche in the predominantly male tech scene. The tech industry hopes they’ll deliver a lot of valuable private information.
AstraZeneca launches project to sequence 2 million genomesby Heidi LedfordNature NewsApril 22nd, 2016One of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies is partnering with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Craig Venter's Human Longevity to look for rare genetic differences between individuals.
Save the Mosquitosby Ashley DawsonJacobinApril 22nd, 2016We should fight Zika with better public health, not genetically modified mosquitos.
Japanese scientists given green light to modify fertilized human eggs[citing CGS]RT [Russia Today]April 22nd, 2016A government bioethics panel in Japan is allowing CRISPR gene editing in human embryos only for basic research purposes.
Eric Lander talks CRISPR and the infamous Nobel ‘rule of three’by Joel AchenbachThe Washington PostApril 21st, 2016Lander urged scientific modesty about new gene editing tools: “We are terrible predictors of the consequences of the changes we make.”
Scientists unveil the ‘most clever CRISPR gadget’ so farby Sharon BegleySTATApril 20th, 2016A new "base editing" method attempts to switch out individual letters of DNA, but its usefulness and precision are unclear.
Kuwait Becomes First Country to Collect DNA Samples From All Citizens and Visitors: Reportby Seung LeeNewsweekApril 19th, 2016Kuwait will use mobile centers to collect samples from citizens, and take cheek swabs at airports on all visitors. Anyone faking DNA samples faces up to seven years in prison.
Here’s Why that Race-Sex Abortion Ban Bill is So Discriminatoryby Sital KalantryWomen's eNewsApril 19th, 2016The bill accuses women of racially discriminating against their own fetuses.
Human Experimentation: Rethinking The 'Bad Old Days'by Barron LernerForbesApril 19th, 2016The horrors in our medical past require that we not brush them aside as just wrong but that we look hard at why they happened.
Gene-editing research in human embryos gains momentumby Ewen CallawayNature NewsApril 19th, 2016Research experiments are now approved in Sweden, China and the United Kingdom.
CRISPR: Pursuit of profit poisons collaborationby Jacob S. SherkowNature April 13th, 2016Overzealous efforts to commercialize technology can damage science.
One Thing that Could Stop the Rise of Gene Editing: Insurance Companiesby Jason KoeblerMotherboard [VICE]April 12th, 2016If insurance companies refuse to cover potential new treatments involving gene editing, they might be limited to those who can afford the expense.
Identity, disability and the genomeby Felicity BoardmanBioNewsApril 11th, 2016The voices of families living with the genetic diseases to be targeted by germline gene editing must be heard. It is their lives and stories that offer the most valuable insights into what we stand to lose.
Should Heritable Gene Editing Be Used on Humans?"YES" by George Church; "NO" by Marcy Darnovskyby Marcy Darnovsky & George ChurchWall Street JournalApril 10th, 2016Are there potential benefits? Are the risks to individuals and to society are too great?
Couple who lost young sons, become grandparents by surrogacyby Eram AghaThe Times of IndiaApril 9th, 2016A couple will raise their twin granddaughters, born in a surrogacy arrangement that used their dead son's sperm.
CIA’s Venture Capital Arm Is Funding Skin Care Products That Collect DNAby Lee FangThe InterceptApril 8th, 2016Skincential Sciences developed a patented technology that removes a thin outer layer of the skin for a youthful "glow"... and DNA collection.
Meet the feminists who are trying to stop the ‘dictator’s’ daughter from becoming presidentby Manuel RuedaFusionApril 8th, 2016More than 300,000 Peruvian women, most of them poor and indigenous, were sterilized by a birth control program run by president Alberto Fujimori during the 1990s.
Stem cell agency okays $150 million ‘powerhouse’by David JensenCapitol WeeklyApril 8th, 2016The agency approved financing terms for a proposed public-private company that it hopes will accelerate the creation of stem cell therapies.
Second Chinese team reports gene editing in human embryosby Ewen CallawayNature NewsApril 8th, 2016In a "proof of principle," 4 of 26 human embryos targeted were successfully modified with CCR5Δ32, a mutation that causes HIV resistance.
Google’s biotech venture hit by ethical concerns over deal with luxury clinicby Charles PillerSTATApril 7th, 2016Verily Life Sciences, Google's ambitious biotech offshoot, has stirred concerns about conflicts of interest.
10th Anniversary Baby Markets Congressby Elliot HosmanApril 7th, 2016Legal scholars, social scientists, advocates, and filmmakers grapple with assisted reproduction.
Op-ed: Minding our makeupby Anna Foster & Parmida JafariThe Varsity [University of Toronto]April 4th, 2016Students have an obligation to understand the pros and cons of CRISPR. Its implications will directly affect our generation.
CRISPR dispute raises bigger patent issues that we’re not talking aboutby Shobita ParthasarathyThe ConversationApril 4th, 2016CRISPR patents will confer enormous control over how the controversial technology develops, and what kinds of human genetic engineering might become commercially available.
The disturbing reason some African American patients may be undertreated for painby Sandhya SomashekharThe Washington PostApril 4th, 2016A recent study shows that many white medical students and residents believe inaccurate and at times "fantastical" differences based on race.
The Paradox of Precision Medicineby Jeneen InterlandiScientific AmericanApril 1st, 2016Early attempts to tailor disease treatment to individuals based on their DNA have met with equivocal success, raising concerns about a push to scale up such efforts.
The Surrogacy Cycleby Abby RabinowitzThe Virginia Quarterly ReviewMarch 31st, 2016Promising an escape from poverty, transnational surrogacy has left many Indian women with little to show for their efforts. What went wrong?
Report Shows Theranos Testing Plagued by Problemsby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesMarch 31st, 2016The company used unqualified personnel, stored samples at improper temperatures, and failed to ensure that the quality control for an important blood-clotting test was acceptable before reporting results for patients.
IVF Ban lifted in Costa Rica: a success for reproductive rights?by Lynn M. MorganPLOS BlogsMarch 30th, 2016After years of political gridlock in the only western hemisphere country to ban IVF, Costa Ricans will finally have access to assisted reproduction.
Inside the garage labs of DIY gene hackers, whose hobby may terrify youby Kristen V. BrownFusionMarch 29th, 2016At the 2015 Gene Editing Summit in D.C., David Baltimore lamented that CRISPR had been overhyped. “It’s not something you can do in a garage,” he said. He was wrong.
‘Minimal’ cell raises stakes in race to harness synthetic lifeby Ewen CallawayNature NewsMarch 24th, 2016Craig Venter’s latest creation comes as CRISPR gene-editing methods provide alternative ways to tinker with life’s building blocks.
MIT research suggests possibility of gene therapy to treat ADHDby Lindsay KalterBoston HeraldMarch 23rd, 2016Controversial research in mice, seeking a genetic link to ADHD, may eventually lead to clinical attempts to "introduce genetic material that might be missing from the human."
‘Baby Carmen’ surrogacy custody trial opensby APBangkok PostMarch 23rd, 2016An American-Spanish couple open a high-profile custody battle for a baby girl born to a Thai surrogate mother, who wanted to keep the child when she found out they were gay.
Number of British women freezing their eggs soarsby Press AssociationThe GuardianMarch 23rd, 2016According to an HFEA report, the success rate of using frozen eggs was 14%, compared with an average 26% success rate of IVF using fresh eggs.
Ma Na Sapna – A Mother’s Dreamby Gabriele Werner-Felmayer & Carmel Shalev, Biopolitical Times guest contributorsMarch 23rd, 2016A 2013 film on transnational surrogacy in India brings a sensitive view of the surrogate mothers who are otherwise largely invisible, and allows them to speak for themselves.
Should Parents of Children With Severe Disabilities Be Allowed to Stop Their Growth?by Genevieve FieldThe New York Times MagazineMarch 22nd, 2016Caring for people with severe mental and physical limitations becomes harder as they get older. Some parents believe medically stunting them is the answer — but is it ethical?
Surrogate mother who sold same babies twice sentenced for fraudby Agence France-PresseThe GuardianMarch 22nd, 2016A French woman was given a suspended sentence for defrauding two gay couples who hired her, and four couples were fined for making commercial surrogacy arrangements with her.
Apple Wants The iPhone To Record Every Aspect Of Your Healthby Stephanie M. LeeBuzzFeedMarch 22nd, 2016By letting iPhone users share their DNA with researchers and update their doctors, Apple is diving deeper into its vision of a complete ecosystem of your health and medical information
I Can't Breatheby Anne Fausto-SterlingBoston ReviewMarch 21st, 2016The belief in racial essentialism means that the medical curriculum pays scant attention to the means by which the social experience of race produces disease.
Are We Ready For Designer Babies?by Claire MaldarelliPopular ScienceMarch 21st, 2016The CRISPR gene editing debate can’t just occur within the walls of a conference center. As its power comes into focus, public discussion should proceed in tandem.
Placenta test for autism risk sparks serious concernby Ann GriswoldSpectrum NewsMarch 21st, 2016“There are no published data to support the new test as a screening tool."
Whose Body, Whose Property, What Choice?by Alison Irvine & Katayoun Chamany, Biopolitical Times guest contributorsMarch 21st, 2016A recent panel at The New School brought together speakers on health psychology, queer studies, law, life sciences, and more to discuss bodies purchased for labor and care in assisted reproduction.
Chinese parents hiring surrogate moms in Japan through underground brokerageThe MainichiMarch 19th, 201674 wealthy Chinese couples have gone to Japan to have children via women paid as surrogates, the majority of whom are also from China.
Texas Woman Is the First Person to Undergo Optogenetic Therapyby Katherine BourzacMIT Technology ReviewMarch 18th, 2016Beyond the implications for treating blind people, this gene therapy trial is also being watched by the neuroscience community.
Why Surrogacy Laws Must Be Established — the Story of the Ott-Dahlsby Keston Ott-DahlHuffPostMarch 18th, 2016When my partner Andrea became a surrogate for another lesbian couple we had no idea we would end up starting over as new parents.
A look inside the Czech Republic’s booming fertility holiday industryby Amy SpeierThe ConversationMarch 17th, 2016An estimated 20,000 IVF cycles were completed in the Czech Republic in 2006, a quarter for foreign couples. By 2014, that number had grown to 30,000, a third for foreign couples.
You can’t retract a designer baby: #CRISPR, social justice, & risksby Paul KnoepflerThe NicheMarch 17th, 2016If human modification were done in the germline, how would you effectively reverse an unexpectedly deleterious hard-wired change in all of those cells? The reality is that it would be impossible.
The Limits of Personalized Medicineby Timothy CaulfieldThe AtlanticMarch 16th, 2016A new study suggests that knowing their genetic risk of disease doesn’t motivate people to change their behavior.
Jordan Schnitzer Gets a Son—and a Court Battle[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Nigel JaquissWillamette WeekMarch 16th, 2016A Portland real estate mogul used science and the law to select the sex of his child born via surrogate. The baby's parentage is now in dispute.
If we’re not careful, epigenetics may bring back eugenic thinkingby Maurizio MeloniThe Conversation [UK]March 15th, 2016In focusing on the environment as a cause for many unwanted conditions, epigenetics has the potential to advance social justice, but its problematic implications have arisen before.
The Government seem more interested in our genes than our voicesby Edward Hockings & Lewis CoyneThe GuardianMarch 15th, 2016Policymakers in the UK are moving forward with plans to turn genetic information into potentially lucrative data. Can we trust our institutions with our genomes?
Of evil mice and men: Can we blame crime on our genes?by Alan MartinAlphrMarch 14th, 2016Various studies are finding genetic and mental indicators for criminal behaviour - in lab mice.
People Are Going To Prison Thanks To DNA Software — But How It Works Is Secretby Stephanie M. LeeBuzzFeedMarch 12th, 2016Private companies are developing cutting-edge DNA analysis software used to convict people, but source codes are protected from independent validation because they are "trade secrets."
When Gene Tests for Breast Cancer Reveal Grim Data but No Guidanceby Gina KolataThe New York TimesMarch 11th, 2016Despite the push for precision medicine, doctors are confronted with ballooning genetic data and limited treatment options.
Jennifer Doudna: The Promise and Peril of Gene Editingby Alexandra WolfeWall Street JournalMarch 11th, 2016Some scientists have called for a moratorium on using gene-editing techniques to bring about heritable genetic changes in humans.
Uterus Transplants: Identifying Stakeholders & Objectionsby Elliot HosmanMarch 10th, 2016Clinical trials have migrated from Sweden to the US, and questions regarding safety, ethics, and social justice are mounting.
CRISPR Eugenics in The X Filesby Elliot HosmanMarch 10th, 2016In the comeback season finale, the show explores the use of human gene editing to combat global warming and overpopulation.
Cryonics Taken Apartby Pete ShanksMarch 10th, 2016Corey Pein has written an exposé of Alcor, the cryonics company he describes as "technophilic necromancers."
The perils of human gene editing for reproductionby Marcy DarnovskyWashington ExaminerMarch 8th, 2016Human gene editing for reproduction would be unsafe, is unneeded for medical purposes, and would be dangerously unacceptable on societal grounds.
My Genes, Myself?by Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times guest contributorMarch 8th, 2016We have become accustomed to ascribing agency to individual genes. But every now and then a story comes along that reminds us just how foolish we are.
Bad News Flash: Scientists Did Not Cure Autism, Cancer Or Alzheimer's by Steven SalzbergForbesMarch 7th, 2016Even when the science itself is good, bad reporting raises false hopes and eventually undermines the public’s confidence.
Forensics gone wrong: When DNA snares the innocentby Douglas StarrScience/AAASMarch 7th, 2016Biologist Greg Hampikian heads the Idaho Innocence Project, and uncovers instances where DNA evidence was false or misconstrued.
'Idiocracy' Is One of the Most Elitist and Anti-Social Movies Ever—Why Do Liberals Love Referencing It?by Adam JohnsonAlterNetMarch 4th, 2016"The pro-eugenics 2006 film finds a home with confused liberals who would rather blame bad breeding than structural classism and racism."
Over 80 surrogate babies born abroad for Irish parentsby Catherine ShanahanThe Irish ExaminerMarch 4th, 2016Ireland is drafting legislation covering surrogacy after a delegation trip to India where the majority of Irish couples go to engage a surrogate mother.
This genetics company claims it can sequence and analyze your entire genome for $999by Tanya LewisBusiness InsiderMarch 3rd, 2016With a doctor's referral, Veritas Genetics will offer smartphone interface and analysis of around 2,000 common clinical conditions.
The Brain Gets Its Day in Courtby Greg MillerThe AtlanticMarch 1st, 2016A new study found that the number of judicial opinions referencing neuroscience as evidence more than doubled between 2005 and 2012.
[Radio] Gene Editing for Individuals and their Families and Family Caregivers[an interview with CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Gordon AtherleyVoice AmericaMarch 1st, 2016A discussion of human gene editing, and the ways it should and not be used.
Frozen Eggs and Title IX[cites CGS’ Marcy Darnovsky]by Mary Ann MasonChronicle of Higher EducationFebruary 29th, 2016If you’re counting on that procedure to delay your family while you get your career going, think again.
CRISPR patent belongs to aliensby Sara ReardonNatureFebruary 29th, 2016Returning with a new season after over a decade, The X Files uses technologies like CRISPR gene editing to tell stories at the intersection of science, politics, and conspiracy theories.
Human Babies from CRISPR Pigsby Stuart NewmanHuffPost ScienceFebruary 29th, 2016300 years after Jonathan Swift, can anyone doubt that the grandchildren of some people born this year will be delivered fresh off the farm?
Cleveland Clinic Performs First Successful Uterus Transplant In The U.S.by Merrit KennedyNPRFebruary 26th, 2016This opens up another possible path to parenthood besides surrogacy or adoption for U.S. women who do not have a uterus, or who have a uterus that does not function.
DNA Under the Scope, and a Forensic Tool Under a Cloudby Carl ZimmerThe New York TimesFebruary 26th, 2016Cutting-edge technology has enabled analysis of ever-tinier genetic samples. But as the science pushes boundaries, some experts are raising reliability questions.
Illumina, the Google of Genetic Testing, Has Plans for World Dominationby Sarah ZhangWiredFebruary 26th, 2016As lucrative as its 90 percent slice is for Illumina now, the whole pie is likely to get even bigger in the future.
The End of Cross-Border Surrogacy?by Donna DickensonProject SyndicateFebruary 25th, 2016India, Nepal, Thailand, and Mexico have introduced measures that would limit or ban foreigners from hiring locals as surrogate mothers. Cambodia and Malaysia look likely to follow suit.
Researchers claim to have made artificial mouse sperm in a dishby David CyranoskiNature NewsFebruary 25th, 2016A study describes 12-month old mice born from eggs fertilized with artificial spermatids, but some are not convinced by the report.
The Possibility Of A Three-Parent Baby[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Indira LakshamananThe Diane Rehm ShowFebruary 25th, 2016A discussion about the science, ethics, and politics of a controversial technique that is a form of inheritable genetic modification.
The Troubling Rise of Rapid DNA Testingby Ava KofmanNew RepublicFebruary 24th, 2016Your DNA can now be read in less time than it would take to wait at a typical DMV. New portable rapid DNA devices may represent a giant leap backward for civil liberties.
Genetic information as “perceived disability”: Chadam v. PAUSD by Jennifer K. WagnerGenomics Law ReportFebruary 23rd, 2016Parents are alleging that a school district violated their son's rights when it transferred the boy to another school due to a genetic marker he carries.
China Builds a Faster Beagle in Gene-Editing Race With U.SBloomberg NewsFebruary 23rd, 2016U.S. companies racing to develop a promising gene editing technology are up against a formidable competitor -- the Chinese government.
Carrie D. Wolinetz of the NIH on gene editingby Xavier SymonsBioEdgeFebruary 23rd, 2016"Unlike non-heritable human gene editing, editing of embryos raises many scientific, safety, ethical, societal, and policy issues that need to be sufficiently considered and addressed."
What’s the difference between genetic engineering and eugenics?by Robert GebelhoffThe Washington PostFebruary 22nd, 2016Where we draw the line between "negative eugenics" and "positive genetic intervention" is a political question.
Cops Caught Forcing Scientists to Falsify DNA Tests To Get More Prosecutions — Now They’re Furiousby John VibesThe Free Thought ProjectFebruary 21st, 2016Three scientists who have worked for the New York State police crime lab for over 20 years are suing because of a "pro-prosecution" culture of corruption, coercion to commit fraud, and retaliation.
Harvard’s Eugenics Eraby Adam S. CohenHarvard MagazineFebruary 19th, 2016Given that Harvard affiliates will play a large role in genetic engineering, it is important to contemplate how wrong so many people tied to the University got it the first time—and to think hard about how, this time, to get it right.
This Entrepreneur Is Using Big Data to Help More Women Get Pregnantby Leena RaoFortuneFebruary 18th, 2016Celmatix’s algorithms compare a database of millions of women who have tackled fertility issues to a patient’s personal health and fertility data.
Caribou Bio’s New CRISPR Patent Isn’t About Gene Editingby Alex LashXconomyFebruary 18th, 2016A new patent highlights a lower-profile potential use for the "gene editing" biotechnology: genetic detection and analysis.
For Fertility Treatment, Wounded Veterans Have To Pay The Billby Quil LawrenceNPRFebruary 17th, 2016A law passed in 1992 made it illegal for the VA to pay for IVF, which some people oppose because embryos are often destroyed. But thousands of vets have injuries that make IVF their only option for having a family.
DNA sweeps pose wrenching ethical questionsby Carol GoarThe Star [Toronto]February 17th, 2016In the remote indigenous community of Garden Hill, Manitoba, police are collecting DNA samples from every male 15-66 years of age to find the killer of 11-year-old Teresa Robinson.
If You Want Life Insurance, Think Twice Before Getting A Genetic Testby Christina FarrFast CompanyFebruary 17th, 2016As genetic testing explodes, US federal law bans health insurers from denying coverage based on results. But the same doesn't apply for disability, life insurance, or long-time care.
A look into the bioethics of commercialized surrogacy by Clare FogartyThe McGill TribuneFebruary 16th, 2016Discussions centered on the Canadian law that criminalizes the payment of surrogate mothers.
Gene editing: The next frontier in America’s abortion wars[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Sarah KarlinPoliticoFebruary 16th, 2016"Fears about eugenics and a brave new world are concerns that are shared by people across the political spectrum."
Is a Surrogate a Mother?[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Michelle GoldbergSlateFebruary 15th, 2016A battle over triplets raises difficult questions about the extent to which contracts can deal with pregnancy, childbirth, and transferring parental rights in a commercial setting.
Cautious approach warranted for new gene-editing techniqueby Paul KnoepflerThe Sacramento BeeFebruary 13th, 2016We urgently need a moratorium on using CRISPR technology on future people, and a full public debate while we learn more about its potential positive and negative effects.
‘It smells of Big Brother’: Some question legality, effectiveness of Louisiana’s expansive DNA databaseby Bryn Stole & Danielle Maddox KinchenThe New Orleans AdvocateFebruary 13th, 2016In Louisiana, one of the first states to allow DNA to be taken at arrest, 340,000 of 500,000 DNA profiles are now from arrestees.
It should be safety-first on stem cell therapiesby EditorialThe Boston GlobeFebruary 12th, 2016The FDA appears poised to take comprehensive action that would strengthen the rules governing stem cell therapies, with a public hearing on April 13 to inform draft guidelines.
This CRISPR Momentby Françoise Baylis and Janet RossantThe WalrusFebruary 12th, 2016Editing human DNA the way we edit text—are we ready?
'Rogue scientists' could exploit gene editing technology, experts warnby Alan Yuhas and Kamala KelkarThe GuardianFebruary 12th, 2016A senior geneticist and a bioethicist agree with the US spy chief’s claim that gene editing technology could have huge, and potentially dangerous, consequences.
STAT-Harvard poll: Americans say no to ‘designer babies’by Sharon BegleySTATFebruary 11th, 2016Most Americans oppose using powerful new technology to "alter the genes of unborn babies," according to a new poll, even to prevent serious inherited diseases.
Race, Genetics, Societyby Elliot HosmanFebruary 11th, 2016We highlight recent research by CGS Advisory Board member Dorothy Roberts, a CGS position opening, and our recent news and resources on race and genetics.
Sure Genomics wants to sell private genetic profiles for $2,500, but it’s really testing the FDAby Arielle Duhaime-RossThe VergeFebruary 9th, 2016From a regulatory standpoint, Sure Genomics is treading on thin ice. The FDA has warned other companies about similar practices.
We Are This Close to "Designer Babies"[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Nina Liss-SchultzMother JonesFebruary 8th, 2016Issues to consider in light of the UK's approval of using CRISPR gene editing on human embryos for research.
We need to talk about egg freezingby Eva WisemanThe GuardianFebruary 7th, 2016It’s expensive, frustrating and can be traumatic. As more and more women make the choice to freeze their eggs, do they know exactly what they’re getting into?
The billion-dollar CRISPR patent battle: A case of big money shaping scienceby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesFebruary 5th, 2016"The real question is whether the future of the technology will be guided by the need to learn more, or the opportunity to earn more."
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."
Zika Virus Threat Puts Abortion Rights And Disability Rights On Collision Courseby Chloe AngyalHuffPost PoliticsFebruary 4th, 2016As the epidemic spreads, women's rights to abortion are a hot topic -- but what about the rights of the disabled?
A Cautious Approach to Mitochondrial Replacementby Françoise BaylisImpact EthicsFebruary 3rd, 2016While the motivation with mitochondrial replacement (MRT) is distinct from cloning, the transfer technology is the same. MRT can legitimately be seen as a “quiet way station” in which to refine the techniques essential for other genetic interventions (including cloning).
Pentagon to Offer Plan to Store Eggs and Sperm to Retain Young Troopsby Michael S. SchmidtThe New York TimesFebruary 3rd, 2016A pilot program will pay for troops to have their gametes frozen, in an effort to make military service more appealing and family friendly.
Center for Genetics and Society Comments on Just-Released Report on Germline Mitochondrial Manipulations[Press statement]February 3rd, 2016The National Academy of Medicine's report conclusion – that no ethical or policy considerations stand in the way of clinical investigations going forward – seems at odds with the many cautions, risks, and concerns that it raises.
Britian has jumped the gun on gene editing by Donna DickensonTelegraph [UK]February 2nd, 2016Particularly where the germline of humanity as a whole is concerned, caution and cooperation should prevail.
We Are Not Ready to Edit Human Embryos Yetby J. Craig VenterTimeFebruary 2nd, 2016Due to our insufficient knowledge, the slippery slope to human enhancement, and the global ban on human experimentation, we need to better understand the software of life before we begin re-writing this code.
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.
U.K. Scientists Given OK to Use ‘Gene Editing’ on Human Embryos[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by David MillsHealthlineFebruary 1st, 2016The experiments raise raised concerns over the possibility that “designer babies” will eventually be produced by using gene editing to alter the DNA of embryos.
Center for Genetics and Society Statement on UK Approval of Gene Editing Research Using Human Embryos[Press statement]February 1st, 2016“Is today's decision part of a strategy to overturn the widespread agreement that puts genetically modified humans off limits?”
We Need More Proof That Prenatal Gene Screens Are Beneficialby The EditorsScientific AmericanFebruary 1st, 2016Results from screening tests can be misleading. Industry and federal regulators are not doing enough to ensure that people get all the information they need.
A Monkey Circles in a Cageby Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 29th, 2016Researchers created transgenic monkeys with a gene duplication associated with Rett Syndrome autism in humans, raising concerns of the limits and ethics of using animal models in biomedical research.
Human Genetic Alteration and Gold Mines: California's Stem Cell Agency Takes a Hard Look at Research Standardsby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJanuary 27th, 2016The $3 billion California stem cell agency will convene a livestreamed day-long meeting to examine agency policies dealing with human gene editing.
The Battle Over CRISPR Could Make Or Break Some Biotech Companies[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Farai ChideyaFiveThirtyEightJanuary 25th, 2016CRISPR is caught up in public offerings and a patent dispute. If used to "edit" heritable traits, it could lead us into a world of genetic haves and have-nots.
Italy Considers Civil Unions — But May Add Penalties for Surrogacyby Trudy RingThe AdvocateJanuary 22nd, 2016As Italy’s Parliament prepares to debate a civil unions bill, some lawmakers have proposed an amendment punishing couples who use overseas surrogates to become parents.
Viet Nam welcomes its first surrogate babyby VNSViet Nam NewsJanuary 22nd, 2016In Viet Nam, only close relatives may act as surrogates, and the intended mother must be unable to have children for health reasons.
‘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.
Why Morphological Freedom Is a Fantasy: Your Body Isn't Just Your Own[cites CGS]by Sarah SloatInverseJanuary 21st, 2016Transhumanists claim complete freedom to modify their bodies, but that absolutist stance could endanger future generations.
Could DTC Genome Testing Exacerbate Research Inequities?by Christine Aicardi, Maria Damjanovicova, Lorenzo Del Savio, Federica Lucivero, Maru Mormina, Maartje Niezen & Barbara PrainsackThe Hastings Center ReportJanuary 20th, 2016The expansion of 23andMe’s database as a resource for genetic science may aggravate existing biases in disease research, leading to impoverished knowledge and exacerbated inequalities.
Mexico's Booming Business of Producing Babies for Foreigners Is About To Go Bustby Gabriela GorbeaVICE NewsJanuary 19th, 2016A reform approved by Tabasco's congress removes the surrogacy boom's main two markets — childless foreigners in general, and childless foreign gay couples in particular.
Down's Syndrome people risk 'extinction' at the hands of science, fear and ignoranceby Tim StanleyThe TelegraphJanuary 18th, 2016The true moral test of a society is not how pretty, sober or well organised it is – but how it treats its most vulnerable, even its most difficult, citizens.
Creativity Week: Playing God with CRISPR[cites CGS' Elliot Hosman]by Aubrey SandersBreakThru RadioJanuary 16th, 2016Elliot Hosman discusses one of the most profoundly consequential debates modern science has ever faced.
CRISPR Patent War: Billions at Stake for UC Berkeleyby Lindsey HoshawKQEDJanuary 15th, 2016Whoever gets the patent will set the terms for how the technology is used.
Jordan Middle School, other schools now up for renamingby Elena KadvanyPalo Alto WeeklyJanuary 13th, 2016Middle school students and their parents are objecting to their school being named for Stanford University founding president David Starr Jordan, because of his involvement in the eugenics movement.
Hemophilia Patient or Drug Seller? Dual Role Creates Ethical Quandaryby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesJanuary 13th, 2016Drugs for hemophilia are so lucrative, drugmakers are hiring patients and their relatives to gain an inside track and access in selling their products.
The Third Rail of the CRISPR Moonshot: Minding the Germlineby Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 13th, 2016Millions of dollars are flowing to biotech companies developing gene-editing therapies. Fortunately, most are publicly denouncing germline applications.
Take an online DNA test and you could be revealing far more than you realiseby Andelka Phillips The ConversationJanuary 12th, 2016Consumers shouldn't rely on the terms of personal genomics companies' contracts to protect their privacy or rights.
Bay Area biologist's gene-editing kit lets do-it-yourselfers play God at the kitchen tableby Lisa M. KriegerContra Costa TimesJanuary 11th, 2016"I want to democratize science," says Josiah Zaynor, who builds inexpensive CRISPR kits to encourage non-scientists to learn genome editing skills.
I fathered 800 children, claims sperm donorby Natalie Morton & Sarah BellBBC NewsJanuary 11th, 2016An unlicensed UK sperm donor has been connecting with intended parents online for 16 years, donating once a week and charging $50 a pop.
California’s Proposed Budget Upholds ‘Racist, Sexist, Classist’ Policyby Tina VasquezRH Reality CheckJanuary 11th, 2016The Maximum Family Grant is designed to discourage low-income mothers from having children.
Why Is Sperm So Damn Expensive?by Brittany MaloolyVICE BroadlyJanuary 10th, 2016On the sperm market, the amount of labor that's involved in obtaining so-called premium gametes drives sperm prices sky high.
Belgium's Top Ad Execs Are Donating Sperm and Eggs to Ensure the Nation's Creative Futureby Angela NatividadAdweekJanuary 8th, 2016The "vaguely eugenicist" campaign, called "Ad Babies," asks creative professionals to donate sperm and eggs.
False Inevitabilities and Irrational Exuberanceby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJanuary 8th, 2016In the aftermath on December’s gene editing summit, disquieting themes have emerged in some mainstream media and science blogs.
Surrogate Sues Father Over Tripletsby Brandy ZadroznyThe Daily BeastJanuary 6th, 2016In response to an intended parent's request to abort one of three fetuses, a pregnant plaintiff says she will carry them all to term and is suing to keep at least one of the babies.
Beer vs. Eugenics: The Good And The Bad Uses Of Statistics by Jerry BowyerForbesJanuary 6th, 2016Economists and other mathematical statisticians have an ethical obligation to reject the notion that research methods are ethically neutral.
King for a Day? On What’s Wrong With Changing the World for the Better by Roland NadlerLaw and Biosciences BlogJanuary 4th, 2016"It’s not so much about ethics (as we usually envision it) as about political philosophy. I’d exhort us to be quicker to ask: who died and made you king?"
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."
Historic CRISPR Patent Fight Primed To Become Head-To-Head Battleby Alex LashXconomyJanuary 4th, 2016A USPTO patent examiner recommends kicking Jennifer Doudna's application upstairs. The case will be decided under the old "first to invent" standard.
A startup that wants to start using a controversial gene-editing tool in people by 2017 just filed to go publicby Lydia RamseyBusiness InsiderJanuary 4th, 2016Editas Medicine, co-founded by Feng Zhang, is developing a CRISPR gene therapy for rare blindness with human trials planned for 2017.
The billion dollar babiesby Vandy Muong & Will JacksonThe Phnom Penh Post [Cambodia]January 2nd, 2016Now banned in India, Nepal and Thailand, the surrogacy industry is moving into Cambodia, but potential parents are being warned to stay away.
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.
The problem with science journalism: we’ve forgotten that reality matters mostby Brooke BorelThe GuardianDecember 30th, 2015It is the reporter's job to maintain skepticism, look beyond hypotheses and data, find conflicts of interest, trace the money, look at power structures, and see who is excluded or marginalized.
Lab Pays $4M to Settle Doctor-Kickback Claimsby Bianca BrunoCourthouse News ServiceDecember 30th, 2015Federal investigators found Pathway violated the False Claims Act by offering physicians and medical groups reimbursements of up to $20 for each saliva kit they submitted for genetic testing.
Screening sperm donors for autism? As an autistic person, I know that’s the road to eugenics[cites CGS]by Ari Ne'emanThe GuardianDecember 30th, 2015The London Sperm Bank and other clinics are using technology and making decisions to remove certain people from future generations.
Crackdown on Surrogacy 'to Continue' Even as Ban Idea Droppedby Liu Jiaying (trans. Li Rongde)Caixin Online [China]December 29th, 2015Lawmakers in China believe further consultation on the complex issue is needed, but surrogacy is still effectively banned.
Rulemaking Under Way for DNA Testing for Hawaiian Homelandsby  Jennifer Sinco KelleherABC NewsDecember 28th, 2015The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has proposed rules that would allow the use of DNA evidence to prove ancestry.
First GMO Corn, then Frankenfish, and Now — Get Ready for Designer Babies[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Janet PhelanActivist PostDecember 25th, 2015“The medical arguments are tenuous and the possible social consequences are grave” for modifying the human germline.
Synthetic Biology's Defense Dollars: Signals and Perceptions by Dr. Filippa LentzosPLOS BlogsDecember 24th, 2015DARPA aims to develop radically new, game-changing technologies for national security and to create technological surprises for its enemies.
Top Court Backs Sacking of Stem Cell Scientist Hwangby Yoon Min-sikThe Korea HeraldDecember 23rd, 2015The Supreme Court ruled that Seoul National University’s dismissal of Hwang Woo-suk, who fabricated his cloning research, was justifiable.
Biopolitical News of 2015by Elliot Hosman, Pete Shanks & Marcy Darnovsky, Biopolitical TimesDecember 22nd, 2015We highlight 2015’s breaking news stories about human biotech developments.
Top Biopolitical Times Posts of 2015by Elliot Hosman, Pete Shanks & Marcy Darnovsky, Biopolitical TimesDecember 20th, 2015Here are a few of our favorites blogs of 2015.
Ontario funds one cycle of IVF — while supplies lastby Alison MotlukCanadian Medical Association JournalDecember 16th, 2015Not all Ontarians who are eligible for a funded cycle of in vitro fertilization will necessarily get it, and it's not clear just how the 5000 annual spots will be allocated to individual patients.
Mexican State Votes to Ban Surrogacy for Gay Men and Foreign People by Associated Press in Mexico CityThe Guardian [UK]December 15th, 2015Tabasco was the only Mexican state to allow surrogacy, supposedly on a non-commercial basis.
Church May Back GM Embryos to Cure Inherited Diseasesby Oliver MoodyThe TimesDecember 14th, 2015The Church of England could agree to the genetic modification of human embryos.
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