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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.



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 DNA Sequencer in Every Pocketby Ed YongThe AtlanticApril 28th, 2016Oxford Nanopore Technologies, who severed financial ties with DNA sequencing monolith Illumina in 2013, is "desperately thinking of ways of bringing them down”, in particular: 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.
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 American Gordon Lake, the 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, 2016CA biotech BioMarin Pharmaceuticals has completed Phase 2 of a drug clinical trial 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, an industry hoping 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 only allowing CRISPR gene editing in human embryos for basic research purposes.
Eric Lander talks CRISPR and the infamous Nobel ‘rule of three’by Joel AchenbachThe Washington PostApril 21st, 2016At the Aspen Institute, Lander urged scientific modesty with 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 it's usefulness and precision is 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, 2016PRENDA accuses minority women of racially discriminating against their own fetuses; the proposed federal bill aimed at decreasing abortion access “is absurd on its face.”
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, 2016Experiments 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, precision medicine might be limited to those who can afford the expense.
Identity, disability and the genomeby Felicity BoardmanBioNewsApril 11th, 2016It is vital that the voices of families living with the very genetic diseases to be targeted by germline gene editing are heard--it is their lives and stories that offer us the most valuable insights into what we stand to lose.
Should Heritable Gene Editing Be Used on Humans?by Marcy Darnovsky & George ChurchWall Street JournalApril 10th, 2016The medical potential is enticing, but the technology raises biological, ethical, social, and political concerns.
Couple who lost young sons, become grandparents by surrogacyby Eram AghaThe Times of IndiaApril 9th, 2016Using a son's sperm which was frozen before his cancer treatment, the couple will raise their twin granddaughters born on April 8.
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, 2016In the 1990’s more than 300,000 women-mostly poor and indigenous-were sterilized in Peru by a birth control program run by president Alberto Fujimori.
Stem cell agency okays $150 million ‘powerhouse’by David JensenCapitol WeeklyApril 8th, 2016California agency approved financing terms for a proposed public-private company hoped to accelerate the creation of long-sought 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, 2016Contract awarded is of unclear relevance to Baseline project, which aims to collect genetic, clinical data on 10,000 patients.
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.
Health Canada all but ignores illegal ad for surrogate, cash for egg donors, internal documents revealby Tom BlackwellNational Post [Canada]December 13th, 2015Evidence shows that Health Canada has not just turned a blind eye, but has been complicit with illegal activity.
Policing the ethics police: Research review boards face scrutiny as feds propose new rulesby Sabriya RiceModern HealthcareDecember 12th, 2015Critics say Institutional Review Boards are too lax, have unqualified members, are riddled with conflicts of interest, and are overwhelmed by the volume of studies they must review.
Livetweeting #GeneEditSummit: Democratized Debate or Segregated Conversations?by Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesDecember 10th, 2015Though #GeneEditSummit was trending on Twitter, inclusive public debate must be more robust than the livetweeting of insular stakeholder meetings.
Stem Cell Researcher to Reddit: "Ask Me Anything" on Human Genetic Modificationby Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesDecember 10th, 2015UC Davis researcher Paul Knoepfler fielded 100s of questions on the social and technical implications of genetically modifying human cells.
More Questions than Answers at Gene Editing Summit [cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Chloe PostonGenes to GenomesDecember 9th, 2015"Marcy Darnovsky reminded the room of the societal implications of germ line editing, warning that parents will want to choose traits that society values most."
F.D.A. Attention to Inaccurate Lab Tests Defers Hopes of “Precision Medicine”by Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical TimesDecember 9th, 2015If we lose trust in medical tests, the foundation of “precision medicine” could fall apart.
Gene Editing: Hope, Hype, and Cautionby Daniel CallahanThe Hastings Center Bioethics ForumDecember 8th, 2015In the debate on germline gene editing, speculative harms are treated as fear mongering while speculative benefits are allowed to run wild.
Future proofingby Editorial BoardNatureDecember 8th, 2015Global discussions on human gene editing and climate change should not sidestep hard decisions on issues that will affect future generations.
About Us, Without Us: Inclusion in the Threat of Eradicationby Teresa Blankmeyer BurkeImpact EthicsDecember 8th, 2015Disability rights advocates are still excluded from conversations (such as the International Summit on Human Gene Editing) that involve the survival of our communities.
Debate begins over ethics of genetic editing[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks]by Michael CookBioEdgeDecember 5th, 2015Varying degrees of caution emerged at the Summit on Human Gene Editing.
The Human Germline Genome Editing Debateby Charis ThompsonImpact EthicsDecember 4th, 2015The range of views expressed at the International Summit on Human Gene Editing underscores the need for broader and more inclusive public discussion.
Human gene editing is a social and political matter, not just a scientific oneby Marcy DarnovskyThe GuardianDecember 4th, 2015The organizing committee kicked the can down the road, leaving the door open for gene editing for human reproduction.
No designer babies, but summit calls for cautious research[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Lauran NeergaardAPDecember 3rd, 2015The organizing committee argued that gene editing tools are nowhere near ready to use for pregnancy, but that research on embryos can proceed as society continues to grapple with the ethical questions.
Florida Police Used a Smidgen of DNA to try to Fully Reconstruct an Alleged Criminal's Faceby Erin BrodwinBusiness InsiderDecember 2nd, 2015Parabon Nanolabs recently analyzed some remnants of DNA from a crime scene — not for fingerprints, but to create a digital likeness of the alleged criminal's face.
This Week, Top Geneticists Want to Decide If GMO Humans Are OK [cites CGS’ Marcy Darnovsky]by Alex PearlmanVICE MotherboardDecember 2nd, 2015Using gene editing tools for reproduction "would be a radical rupture with past human practices that could have irreversible and reverberating impact on society.”
Scientists, Ethicists Debate Future of Gene Editing[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Karen PallaritoHealthDayDecember 2nd, 2015Stakeholders weigh in on new genetic engineering tools which could "all too easily open the door to new forms of inequality and discrimination."
Genetically engineered children?by Marcy DarnovskyThe HillDecember 1st, 2015The powerful new gene editing tools now under consideration in D.C. could be used for scientific and medical breakthroughs, or misused to undermine human rights and human equality.
Opposition mounts to genetic modification of human embryos[cites CGS and consultant Pete Shanks]by Julie SteenhuysenReutersNovember 30th, 2015A group of U.S. scientists and activists call for a global ban on the use of new tools to edit the genes of human embryos or gametes for assisted reproduction.
US scientists urge ban on human genetic modification[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks]by Ryan RifaiAl JazeeraNovember 30th, 2015A new report and sign-on statement argue that genetic modification of children and future generations could have irreversible effects on humanity.
We Need a Moratorium on Genetically Modifying Humansby Paul KnoepflerSlateNovember 30th, 2015The technology for potentially creating designer babies has progressed much faster than the deliberation of societal implications and permissible uses.
Extreme Genetic Engineering and the Human FutureReclaiming Emerging Biotechnologies for the Common GoodThe Center for Genetics and Society and Friends of the Earth examine the human applications of synthetic biology. This 50-page report challenges claims that this new set of genetic engineering techniques should be seen as "the future of manufacturing, engineering and medicine."
Future of human gene editing to be decided at landmark summit[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Ian SampleThe GuardianNovember 28th, 2015A "global discussion" will ask whether humans should rewrite the DNA of future generations.
A Controversial Rewrite For Rules To Protect Humans In Experimentsby Rob SteinNPRNovember 25th, 2015The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is proposing a major revision of the Common Rule, the first change proposed in nearly a quarter-century, prompting concerns.
San Diego Blood Donors Get Free Genome Sequencingby David WagnerKPBSNovember 24th, 2015Illumina is asking 70 San Diego Blood Bank donors to consent to free sequencing to compile a DNA database for researchers working in the field of "precision" medicine.
First CRISPR Gene Drive in Mosquitoes Aims to Eradicate Malariaby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewNovember 23rd, 2015The scientific community is at odds over whether it is safe to release a "selfish" gene into the wild.
F.D.A. Targets Inaccurate Medical Tests, Citing Dangers and Costsby Robert PearThe New York TimesNovember 23rd, 2015Inaccurate and unreliable medical tests are prompting abortions, unnecessary surgeries, putting tens of thousands of people on unneeded drugs and raising medical costs.
Putting a Price on Human Eggs Makes No Senseby Debora SparFortuneNovember 21st, 2015No one wants to deal with the ugly reality that egg donation is not donation at all, but a high price paid for a piece of one’s body.
Open Letter Calls for Prohibition on Reproductive Human Germline Modificationby Center for Genetics and SocietyExperiments aimed at creating genetically modified humans are unneeded from a medical view, extremely risky to any resulting children, and profoundly dangerous from a social perspective. Now is the crucial moment for taking a clear public stand.
California Judge Orders Frozen Embryos Destroyed[cites CGS Fellow Lisa Ikemoto]by Andy NewmanThe New York TimesNovember 19th, 2015A superior court judge in San Francisco ordered the thawing and destruction of a divorced couple's frozen embryos, enforcing the terms of the couple's pre-divorce agreement.
Scientists may soon be able to 'cut and paste' DNA to cure deadly diseases and design perfect babiesby Tanya LewisBusiness InsiderNovember 19th, 2015CRISPR gene editing tools are being proposed for a wide range of uses, many of which pose risks to ecological systems and human society.
CRISPR Gene Editing: Proofreaders and Undo Buttons, but Ever "Safe" Enough?by Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesNovember 19th, 2015Recent trends include research reports of "spellcheck" and "undo" functions associated with CRISPR gene editing, and a shift toward greater caution about germline applications.
Gene Therapy: Comeback? Cost-Prohibitive?by Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesNovember 19th, 2015Recent CRISPR news sometimes confuses germline modification - which should be put off limits - and gene therapy, which presents its own set of social and ethical risks to resolve before rushing to market.
New Rules Proposed to Address Privacy and Trust in the Precision Medicine Initiativeby Katayoun Chamany, Biopolitical Times guest contributorNovember 19th, 2015The US Precision Medicine Initiative's goal of a million sequenced genomes is helping to propel a revision to the Common Rule governing human subject research.
Move Over, Jony Ive — Biologists Are the Next Rock Star Designersby Liz StinsonWIREDNovember 18th, 2015A biotech startup that calls itself an "organism design foundry" and works with designers and artists is part of a US bioeconomy that already generates $350 billion annually.
Gene Manipulation In Human Embryos Provokes Ethical Questions[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Rahel GebreyesHuffPost LiveNovember 17th, 2015CGS's Marcy Darnovsky discusses the social implications of leveraging CRISPR gene editing tools to pursue enhanced children.
Better Babiesby Nathaniel ComfortAeonNovember 17th, 2015The long and peculiar history of the designer human, from Plato’s citizen breeders to Nobel sperm banks, and the latest iteration of human genetic perfectability: CRISPR gene editing.
End ‘stem cell tourism,’ experts urgeby Michael CookBioEdgeNovember 14th, 2015Stem cell scientists appear to have oversold their product. Now patients, tired of waiting for the cures they were promised, are seeking unproven stem cell-based treatments that are causing more harm than good.
[China] Couples in China making babies through assisted reproductionChina DailyNovember 14th, 2015Half of the 90 million Chinese women now allowed to have a second child are between the ages of 40 and 49, and many couples are turning to assisted reproduction clinics.
Why FBI and the Pentagon are afraid of gene drivesby Sharon BegleyStat NewsNovember 12th, 2015Officials from DARPA to the United Nations bioweapons office are concerned about the potential of “gene drives” to alter evolution in ways scientists can’t imagine.
[Cambodia] Gov’t to Crack Down on Surrogacy Clinicsby Chea Takihiro & Jonathan CoxKhmer TimesNovember 11th, 2015Surrogacy companies are moving their “wombs for rent” services from Thailand to Cambodia, but government officials plan to classify surrogacy as a form of human trafficking.
Theranos isn’t the only diagnostics company exploiting regulatory loopholesby Arielle Duhaime-RossThe VergeNovember 11th, 2015Startups are taking advantage of an FDA exception to offer diagnostic health tests to consumers without peer review or verification of health claims.
The Risks of Assisting Evolutionby Elizabeth AlterThe New York TimesNovember 10th, 2015Crispr-Cas9 and gene drive allow us to bend evolution to our will, but will they spark an ecological catastrophe?
British police face deluge of foreign DNA requests if UK joins EU crime database, says reportby David BarrettThe TelegraphNovember 8th, 2015Officials warn that innocent Britons could be branded criminals if the UK joins a controversial EU project.
Eggs unlimitedby Jennifer Couzin-FrankelScienceNovember 6th, 2015OvaScience's fertility procedure appalls some reproductive biologists, and is currently not permitted in the US. But the company is marketing its treatment in Canada and some analysts are upbeat.
As Companies Collect More Health Data, Cops Will Ask To See It[cites CGS' Elliot Hosman]by Stephanie M. LeeBuzzfeedNovember 5th, 2015Law enforcement will request what users share with health technology companies, from DNA to step counts. The nature and number of those requests are largely unknown.
CRISPR Gene Editing to Be Tested on People by 2017, Says Editasby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewNovember 5th, 2015The test, to treat a rare form of blindness, would likely be the first to use CRISPR to directly edit the DNA of a person.
Everything you need to know about why CRISPR is such a hot technology[cites CGS]by Dominic BasultoThe Washington PostNovember 4th, 2015Venture capital is responding to the hype surrounding new genetic engineering tools, but many are concerned by the controversial proposition of genetically modifying new humans.
How Much Should a Woman Be Paid for Her Eggs?by Jacoba UristThe AtlanticNovember 4th, 2015Is the money a woman receives for her eggs payment for her services, her discomfort, or her biological property?
Would you edit your unborn child’s genes so they were successful?by Mairi LevittThe GuardianNovember 3rd, 2015A parent’s desire to do the best for their child could create problems.
'Somebody has to be the icebreaker': Aussies seeking babies turn to Cambodiaby Lindsay MurdochSydney Morning HeraldOctober 30th, 2015A booming surrogacy industry chased out of Thailand and Nepal has established itself in Cambodia, where human trafficking laws and a lack of surrogacy regulation could produce fraught legal battles.
Genetic testing evolves, along with health and ethics debatesby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesOctober 30th, 2015The FDA approved 23andMe to provide carrier tests, turning the personal genomics service into a direct-to-consumer family-planning tool, but without the genetic counselor to explain carrier status risks.
Genetic Surveillance: Consumer Genomics and DNA Forensicsby Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2015As more biotech companies move to “cash in on the genome,” we need to connect the conversations on personal genomics, DNA forensics, immigration, and biological discrimination.
Human Gene Editing Frequently Asked QuestionsOctober 29th, 2015Should we as a society condone the genetic modification of future human beings? Here we take on some common questions about gene editing the human germline.
Fresh Territory for Bioethics: Silicon Valleyby Susan GilbertBioethics Forum The Hastings Center October 28th, 2015Biomedical researchers and Silicon Valley are increasingly looking to each other for access to human subjects and new ventures, raising questions about informed consent and the security of private genetic data.
Who Owns Molecular Biology?by Yarden KatzBoston ReviewOctober 28th, 2015A researcher at the Broad Institute explores the patent issues surrounding CRISPR-Cas gene editing, and argues for a more just sharing and distribution system for scientific research.
NAS Human Gene Editing Meeting: Agenda & Public Participationby Paul KnoepflerThe NicheOctober 26th, 2015The National Academies have released a draft agenda for the upcoming summit on human gene editing.
[UK] Women "are being given false hope" over freezing eggsby Harriet MeyerThe GuardianOctober 24th, 2015Fertility experts say the UK agency that regulates fertility treatments is not doing enough to make clear the success rates of freezing and banking their eggs.
Making Indigenous Peoples Equal Partners in Gene Researchby Ed YongThe AtlanticOctober 23rd, 2015After leaving a partnership with NIH in 2003, the Akimel O’odham (Pima) tribe is retaining control of their bio samples and shaping the goals of a diabetes project with genomic researchers.
Cops Want To Look At 23andMe Customers’ DNAby Stephanie M. LeeBuzzFeedOctober 21st, 2015The FBI and other agencies have asked for — and been denied — five users’ data, according to a new transparency report on the company's website, and chain of custody could be a legal obstacle for future requests.
23andMe Will Resume Giving Users Health Databy Andrew PollackThe New York TimesOctober 21st, 2015Two years after a forced hiatus from providing consumers with genetic health probabilities, the FDA has cleared 23andMe to provide carrier status and lactose intolerance tests.
Indigenous peoples must benefit from scienceby Dyna RochmyaningsihNature NewsOctober 20th, 2015The triple helix of science, the private sector, and government have driven the world’s economy since the Industrial Revolution, but to drive sustainable development, science must empower rural communities — not just serve industry and governments.
What's Your DNA Worth? The Scramble to Cash In On The Genome[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Alex LashXconomyOctober 20th, 2015Vast pools of genomic data may unlock health secrets, but what is the risk of "sharing" our data for biotech corporate profits, and is it greater than the nebulous future rewards?
For Some Refugees, Safe Haven Now Depends on a DNA Testby Katie WorthPBS FrontlineOctober 19th, 2015The US is requiring refugees to prove they're related through a DNA test — often impossible to obtain in war-torn countries — causing worries about an unreasonably narrow genetic definition of family.
Egg Donors Challenge Pay Ratesby Tamar LewinThe New York TimesOctober 16th, 2015A judge has certified a federal class action lawsuit by women who argue that ART industry guidelines that limit compensation for eggs to $10,000 constitute "illegal price-fixing."
Could Having Your DNA Tested Land You in Court?by Claire MaldarelliPopular ScienceOctober 16th, 2015Police in Idaho accused a man of an unsolved murder via partial DNA matching based on DNA records obtained from Ancestry.com.
American Surrogate Death: NOT the Firstby Mirah RibenHuffPost BlogOctober 15th, 2015Brooke Lee Brown's death "underscores the ethical problem with asking women to serve as surrogates for non-medical reasons." Is death simply an occupational hazard in the surrogacy industry?
[India] Blanket ban likely on NRIs, PIOs, foreigners having kids through surrogacyThe Economic TimesOctober 15th, 2015A draft bill limits intended parents to Indian residents, allows single and divorced women to contract as surrogates, and addresses healthcare for women during surrogacy.
Four Synthetic Biology Inventions That Flummox the Fedsby Kelly ServickScienceOctober 15th, 2015As researchers develop ways to genetically engineer living organisms, studies highlight the lack of clarity about which US regulatory agency would be charged with approval or oversight.
Handheld DNA reader revolutionary and democratising, say scientistsby Ian SampleThe GuardianOctober 15th, 2015The $1,000 device is not designed to read human genomes, but it can quickly identify bacteria and viruses, and spot different gene variants in sections of human genetic code.
The CRISPR Germline Debate: Closed to the Public?by Elliot HosmanBiopolitical TimesOctober 15th, 2015Recent CRISPR media coverage focuses on hype rather than engaging the ethical and social implications of the groundbreaking technology—even as many call for public inclusion in the genome editing debate.
After Asilomarby EditorialNature NewsOctober 14th, 2015Scientist-led conferences are no longer the best way to resolve debates on controversial research, and scientists who wish to self-regulate ignore public outcry at their peril.
Where in the world could the first CRISPR baby be born?by Heidi LedfordNature NewsOctober 13th, 2015Nature surveys the legal landscape of 12 countries with well-funded biological research and finds variety of bans on human genome editing in research or reproduction.
Feminists, get ready: pregnancy and abortion are about to be disruptedby Eleanor RobertsonThe GuardianOctober 12th, 2015A clinical trial of uterine transplants will begin soon in the UK. Are artificial wombs on the horizon?
Video Review: Talking Biopolitics[cites CGS and CGS fellow Lisa Ikemoto]by Rebecca DimondBioNewsOctober 12th, 2015George Annas spoke with Lisa Ikemoto about his new book on genomic medicine and genetic testing.
What's Missing From Ontario's IVF Policy?by Vanessa GrubenOttawa CitizenOctober 11th, 2015The province should require collection of anonymized data on IVF use, success rates, and complications; it should also address the information needs of children conceived via donor gametes.
Sky-high price of new stem cell therapies is a growing concernby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesOctober 9th, 2015Late-stage clinical trials of two treatments backed by California's $6-billion stem cell program are underway. Will Californians be able to afford them?
Genes can’t be patented, rules Australia’s High Courtby Michael SlezakNew ScientistOctober 7th, 2015The decision is considered stronger than the similar one by the US Supreme Court.
DNA At the Fringes: Twins, Chimerism, and Synthetic DNAby Erin E. MurphyThe Daily BeastOctober 7th, 2015DNA tests are thought to be conclusive, but our genetic material acts in mysterious ways. Chimerism, for example, may "undermine the very basis of the forensic DNA system."
UNESCO Calls for More Regulations on Genome Editing, DTC Genetic Testingby StaffGenomeWebOctober 6th, 2015The organization's International Bioethics Committee reaffirms its support for a moratorium on modifying the human germline.
Designer babies crawl closerby Laurie ZolothCosmos MagazineOctober 5th, 2015Embryo engineering has been rejected by every ethics committee that has ever considered it.
CRISPR-Cpf1: Hype by Association by Elliot HosmanOctober 2nd, 2015Amid Nobel Prize predictions for CRISPR-Cas9 research, a new CRISPR associated protein takes the media and science community by storm, even as its utility remains unclear.
Ontario to Cover In-Vitro Fertilization Treatments[Canada]by Rob FergusonThe StarOctober 1st, 2015Ontario has become the second Canadian province to cover some of the costs of IVF.
List of Speakers for NAS Meeting on Human Gene Editingby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogOctober 1st, 2015A preliminary list of speakers for the National Academies' international summit on human gene editing has emerged, showing a troubling lack of diversity.
Womb transplants given UK go-aheadBBCSeptember 30th, 2015Ten women will be chosen for a clinical trial that will transplant a donated uterus, monitor organ acceptance for a year, and initiate up to two IVF pregnancies before removing the transplant.
Scientists Find Gene Editing with CRISPR Hard to Resist[quotes Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks]by Cameron ScottHealthlineSeptember 29th, 2015CRISPR is so cheap and easy to use, we may be genetically engineering human embryos before we have time to decide if we should.
DARPA Gives MIT Lab $32 Million to Program Living Cellsby Alexandra OssolaPopular ScienceSeptember 29th, 2015The contract will allow synthetic biology and computer scientists to join forces with chemical, pharma, food, energy, agriculture, and biotech companies. What DARPA hopes to gain remains vague.
Limits of Responsibility: Genome Editing, Asilomar, and the Politics of Deliberationby J. Benjamin HurlbutHastings Center ReportSeptember 28th, 2015What justifies the notion that CRISPR has caught us off guard or that it is appropriate for experts to retreat into secluded spaces to define the parameters of public debate?
Born that way? ‘Scientific’ racism is creeping back into our thinking. Here’s what to watch out for.by W. Carson Byrd & Matthew W. HugheyWashington PostSeptember 28th, 2015Recent studies show the media and white communities embracing the idea of racial genetic differences, twisting history and circumventing effective policy strategies.
The Messy, Complicated Nature of Assisted Reproductive Technology[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by J. Wesley JuddPacific StandardSeptember 28th, 2015A California court ART case shows that even when there is a contract, the issues are far from black and white.
Why the Majority of Sperm Donations in Canada Are from the U.S.[Canada]by Jim BrownCanadian Broadcasting CorporationSeptember 27th, 2015Only 5-10% of donated sperm in Canada is from domestic donors; the majority comes from US providers who, unlike their counterparts north of the border, are paid.
Who has your DNA—or wants itby Jocelyn KaiserScienceSeptember 25th, 2015More and more groups are amassing computer server–busting amounts of human DNA. At least 17 biobanks that hold, or plan to hold, genomic data on 75,000 or more people.
Couples Left in Limbo as They Await Ontario IVF Funding Decision [Canada]by Elizabeth ChurchThe Globe and MailSeptember 25th, 2015In 2014, the Ontario government pledged to fund one IVF cycle, but 18 months later, couples struggling with infertility are still waiting.
What If Tinder Showed Your IQ?by Dalton ConleyNautilusSeptember 24th, 2015Hypothetical scenarios from a future in which human genetic engineering is pervasive.
Ohio Abortion Bill Stokes Old Tensions between Disability and Abortion Rights Advocatesby Emma ManiereBiopolitical TimesSeptember 24th, 2015A round-up of recent articles and commentaries about Ohio’s HB 135, which would ban abortions sought due to fetal diagnoses of Down syndrome.
A $6 Billion Question: Affordability of California's Stem Cell Therapiesby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportSeptember 23rd, 2015The California stem cell agency will cost taxpayers $6 billion by 2020. But the agency isn't discussing what any therapies are likely to cost, or whether it should focus on affordable treatments.
Down Syndrome Blood Test Sparks Abortion Debateby Amy Dockser MarcusWall Street JournalSeptember 21st, 2015Advocates worry that more accurate prenatal tests will lead more people to end pregnancies without understanding how life with Down syndrome has dramatically changed.
Center for Genetics and Society comments on First Application to Pursue Genome Editing Research in Human Embryos[Press statement]September 18th, 2015"If scientists and the regulatory agency in the UK are serious about responsible use of powerful new gene altering technologies, they won't be rushing ahead in ways that could open the door to genetically modified humans."
Prosecutor backs expanded DNA testingby Evan AllenBoston GlobeSeptember 17th, 2015A new Massachusetts bill would allow police officers to obtain genetic material at the point of felony arrest — creating what Justice Scalia calls the "genetic panopticon."
As Ontario Set to Roll Out IVF program, Panel Urges Those Older than 42, Severely Obese be Excluded[Canada]by Tom BlackwellNational PostSeptember 14th, 2015The recommendations are aimed at avoiding the cost overruns that doomed a similar plan for government funding of IVF in Quebec.
Stem Cell Experts Support Using CRISPR In Human Embryosby Steph YinPopular ScienceSeptember 10th, 2015Bioethicist Art Caplan responds that "human embryo work is interesting, but to me it should be completely theoretical. We don’t know what we’re doing yet."
Genetic testing firms in China happy to sell your DNA secretsby Staff ReporterWant China TimesSeptember 10th, 2015As 23andMe strikes a slew of pharma and biotech deals, it's an open secret that sequencing companies can't make money on tests, but rely on the value of big bio data to drug developers.
Genetics: Dawkins, redux [Book review]by Nathaniel ComfortNatureSeptember 10th, 2015For a time, Dawkins was a rebellious scientific rock star. Now, his critique of religion seems cranky, and his immovably genocentric universe is parochial.
GM embryos 'essential', says reportby James GallagherBBCSeptember 10th, 2015A stem cell consortium issues a statement advocating for germline gene editing of human embryos, and that GM babies may be "morally acceptable" under some circumstances in the future.
Fast Forward-Pause-Stop: The 3-Speed Human Germline Debateby Lisa C. Ikemoto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 10th, 2015CRISPR’s rapid uptake has spurred proposals from moratoria to get-out-of-the-way optimism, but ad hoc responses aren’t enough when there is so much at stake.
Disability and the Politics of Abortion by Judith LevineSeven Days [Vermont]September 9th, 2015We must not use technology to cull fetuses that might have differently abled bodies. We cannot allow abortion law to rescue them at the cost of their mothers' freedom.
"Moonshot Medicine": Putative Precision vs. Messy Genomesby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 9th, 2015The promise is "personalized" genetic treatment plans; the reality is that most health disparities are environmental.
The Moral Imperative for Psychologistsby George Annas, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 9th, 2015Is Steven Pinker’s recent essay a hidden plea to save scientific research from the perversion of ethically unfettered technological progress?
Why there’s an urgent need for a moratorium on gene editingby Vivek WadhwaWashington PostSeptember 8th, 2015Changing human DNA creates a frightening ethical grey zone; no one is prepared for an era when editing DNA is as easy as editing a Microsoft Word document.
Biotech Imagination: Whose Future is this?by Jessica CussinsSeptember 8th, 2015A feature in PLOS Biology highlights insider predictions about the next ten years in genetics and genomics with unanimous optimism. But whose future is this?
Does Down Syndrome Justify Abortion?by Mark Lawrence SchradNew York TimesSeptember 4th, 2015In a typical pregnancy, women who choose to have an abortion are often saddled with shame and social stigma. Meanwhile, there remains significant stigma associated with being the parent of a child with special needs.
Pinker's Damn: A Naive Rejection of Controls Over Genetic Engineeringby Stuart Newman, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 4th, 2015Steven Pinker's credulous optimism concerning human germline modification ignores a record of complicity by some scientists, and appropriation of the work of others, in abuses by industry and government.
Kuwait's War on ISIS and DNAby Dawn FieldOxford University Press BlogSeptember 3rd, 2015Amid other national genomic projects, Kuwait's mandatory DNA collection is the first use of DNA testing at the national-level for security reasons, counter-terrorism.
Calls for IVF laws to be changed to take advantage of gene editing technique by Steve ConnorThe IndependentSeptember 2nd, 2015A statement by medical research funders in the UK suggests that benefits of modifying the human germ-line could outweigh the ethical objections.
Personal Responsibilityby EditorialNatureSeptember 1st, 2015The US Precision Medicine Initiative needs to tread carefully when revealing health and genetic data to participants.
Australian Families in Limbo as Nepal Joins India and Thailand in Banning Commercial Surrogacy [Australia]by Lauren WilsonNews.com.auSeptember 1st, 2015The Supreme Court of Nepal issued an interim order putting an immediate stop to commercial surrogacy services.
Giant study poses DNA data-sharing dilemmaby Sara ReardonNature NewsSeptember 1st, 2015As the US Precision Medicine Initiative pushes forward, whether to provide sequenced genetic information to biobank donors is an unresolved question of ethics, privacy, and medical utility.
How We Should Rethink the Role of Technical Expertise in GMO Regulation[India]by Dhvani Mehta and Yashaswini MittalThe WireAugust 31st, 2015The regulation of GMOs represents a good opportunity to rethink the role of public participation and non-technical knowledge in environmental regulatory discourse in general.
Banning Abortion for Down Syndrome: Legal or Ethical Justification? by Bonnie SteinbockHastings Center Bioethics ForumAugust 26th, 2015Instead of passing an unenforceable and unconstitutional law, Ohio should devote its time to ensuring that all people with disabilities, Down syndrome or otherwise, get the resources and services they need.
Court: $50M verdict in Seattle-area ‘wrongful birth’ doesn't shock the conscienceby Levi PulkkinenSeattlePIAugust 26th, 2015A Washington appeals court upheld a $50 million verdict in favor of a couple whose son was born with severe birth defects that should have been spotted by genetic testing.
Alphabet/Google Isn’t Evil but Genetically Modifying Mosquitos Might Beby Mic WrightThe Next WebAugust 25th, 2015Recent biotech hype about using gene drive to reduce global malaria is best understood as a new chapter in humanity's historically poor record of forcibly changing ecosystems.
[Video] Is It Worth Your Time and Money to Freeze Your Eggs?[Interview with CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by StaffBroadly [VICE]August 24th, 2015This report investigates the commercial promises of Egg Banxx "freezing parties" while following a patient through the process of egg retrieval.
What Are You Doing with My DNA? by Diana KwonScientific AmericanAugust 21st, 2015The play “Informed Consent” explores deep ethical questions in genetics research.
Inside Illumina’s Plans to Lure Consumers with an App Store for Genomes by Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewAugust 19th, 2015The head of the largest gene-sequencing company envisions holding your DNA, then selling it to you little by little.
B.C. Company to Launch DNA Testing Service by Pamela FayermanVancouver SunAugust 19th, 2015British Columbia is grappling with regulatory and accreditation issues for a company planning to launch the first direct-to-consumer DNA testing service based in the province.
‘Scientific Ambitions Behind DNA Profiling Bill’by Vidya VenkatThe HinduAugust 16th, 2015A legal researcher discusses a modified draft bill that continues to raise several critical concerns relating to privacy, and ethical uses of DNA samples and the proposed DNA database.
Fertility Clinics Destroy Embryos All the Time. Why Aren’t Conservatives After Them?by Margo KaplanThe Washington PostRepublicans’ efforts to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood will hurt vulnerable women most.
Surgeons Smash Records with Pig-to-Primate Organ Transplantsby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewAugust 12th, 2015A biotech company is genetically engineering pigs so that their organs might work in people.
Putting Ourselves in Harm's Way: Thoughts on Pinker and the Role of Bioethicsby Nathaniel Comfort, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 12th, 2015Nathaniel Comfort confronts Steven Pinker and the legacy of biomedicine, arguing ethicists and historians need to "get in harm's way to spare harm to others."
Why it Matters that the FDA Just Approved the First 3D-Printed Drugby Dominic BasultoWashington PostAugust 11th, 20153D printers could fundamentally change the way patients take certain types of medicine.
Ageing and Fertility: Biology Comes Secondby Kirsty OswaldBioNewsAugust 10th, 2015As long as we live in a society that expects women to sacrifice so much more than men to be a parent, we might as well stop talking about biology.
IVF: Do Children Have the Right to Know if They're the Result of a Stranger’s Sperm or Egg Donation?by Linda GeddesThe IndependentAugust 10th, 2015A 2003 survey by the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge found that 47% of parents of kids conceived after egg donation had no intention of telling.
Can We Reverse the Ageing Process by Putting Young Blood into Older People?by Ian SampleThe GuardianAugust 4th, 2015As a business proposition, the transfusion of young blood raises all kinds of fears. It raises the spectre of a macabre black market, where teenagers bleed for the highest bidder, and young children go missing from the streets.
Four Problems with the DNA Databaseby Sharon FernandesTimes of IndiaAugust 2nd, 2015India's Human DNA Profiling Bill 2015 proposes to set up a national DNA database of criminals that will include rapists, murderers and kidnappers.
Congress Should Support Access to Post-Conviction DNA Testingby Kirk BloodsworthThe HillJuly 29th, 2015"If not for post-conviction DNA testing, I might still be in prison, or worse, I could have been executed."
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