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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.



Breaking Taboo, Swedish Scientist Seeks To Edit DNA Of Healthy Human Embryos[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPRSeptember 22nd, 2016CRISPR gene editing human embryos is a step toward attempts at producing genetically modified humans. It's not a technology to be taken lightly.
Why we need a law to prevent genetic discriminationby Yvonne Bombard, Ronald Cohn & Stephen SchererThe Globe and Mail [Canada]September 19th, 2016After unanimous passage through Canada's Senate, Bill S-201 on genetic data is now presented before the House of Commons.
Human Chimera Research’s Huge (and Thorny) Potentialby Paul KnoepflerWiredSeptember 19th, 2016Stem cell researcher notes a range of ethical questions on the table if the NIH moves forward with lifting its research ban.
US toughens rules for clinical-trial transparencyby Sara ReardonNature NewsSeptember 16th, 2016Under new HHS rule, researchers must register information on the design and results of trials within 21 days of enrolling their first patient-- regardless of outcome.
‘Motherless babies!’ How to create a tabloid science headline in five easy stepsby Gretchen VogelScience MagazineSeptember 14th, 2016A modest research report on cell division is translated as a hyperbolic breakthrough. Gretchen Vogel critiques the flaws of hype-driven, click-bait journalism.
Peru Fails to Deliver for Indigenous Womenby Shena CavalloopenDemocracySeptember 12th, 2016~300,000 poor, rural, and indigenous people forcibly sterilized according to state "quotas", but public prosecutor says no "crimes against humanity" charges for state actors.
When Evolution Fights Back Against Genetic Engineeringby Brooke BorelThe AtlanticSeptember 12th, 2016Gene drive raises irreversible threats to ecosystems and unpredictable consequences that cannot be vetted in controlled lab settings.
Seeking to Join Editas, Intellia, CRISPR Therapeutics Makes Long Awaited IPO Pushby Ben FidlerXconomySeptember 12th, 2016Emmanuelle Charpentier’s biotech firm files to go public (~$90M), joining other CRISPR-Cas9 co-discoverers: Jennifer Doudna (Intellia, $108M, 5/2016) and Feng Zhang (Editas, $98M, 2/2016).
DNA Dragnet: In Some Cities, Police Go From Stop-and-Frisk to Stop-and-Spitby Lauren KirchnerProPublicaSeptember 12th, 2016Private police databases expanding with DNA “voluntarily” collected from minors, without oversight or right to challenge.
Will Genetic Engineering Really Change Everything Forever? [Video Review]by Elliot HosmanSeptember 8th, 2016The hype surrounding CRISPR gene editing and a future of designer babies is on playback with a popular new video. Is its optimism justified? And who decides what’s inevitable?
Scandals Waiting to Happen: Institutional Conflicts of Interest at California Stem Cell Agencyby Pete ShanksSeptember 8th, 2016StemCells Inc., which has received tens of millions of dollars from the state-funded stem cell agency, paid its president a hefty sum when he joined its board a week after resigning his position.
Victory: Eggs-for-Research Bill Dies in California Legislatureby Emily Galpern, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 8th, 2016A bill that would have expanded the commercial markets for human eggs, putting women’s health at risk, never made it to the Governor’s desk.
Remembering Ruth Hubbardby Marcy DarnovskySeptember 8th, 2016Ruth Hubbard — biologist, feminist scholar, social justice advocate, and critic of what she termed “the gene myth” — has died.
5 Reasons Why We Need People with Disabilities in the CRISPR Debatesby Emily Beitiks, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 8th, 2016“Why do I have to keep justifying my existence?” How gene editing policy discussions reproduce ableist assumptions and generate advocacy fatigue.
Women Freeze Eggs to Gain Time to Find the Right Partners Study Findsby Nicola DavisThe Guardian September 7th, 2016With annual storage costs and low success rates, "fertility insurance" doesn't address root causes of delayed parenthood.
FDA Warns Against Widely Used Ovarian Cancer Screening Testby Sheila KaplanSTATSeptember 7th, 2016Despite extensive annual use, the tumor biomarker test has not proven to be reliable nor effective.
Passing My Disability On to My Childrenby Sheila BlackNew York TimesSeptember 7th, 2016Drawing on personal experience, Sheila Black challenges the logic of creating "designer babies" with screening or modifying technologies.
The Perils of Planned Extinctionsby Claire Hope CummingsProject SyndicateSeptember 6th, 2016Instead of taking time to fully consider the ethical, ecological, and social issues of gene-drive technology, many are aggressively promoting its use in conservation.
Another Scathing Report Causes More Eminent Heads to Roll in the Macchiarini Scandalby Gretchen VogelScience MagazineSeptember 6th, 2016Fallout continues from a scandal involving patient deaths after a surgeon implanted artificial tracheae seeded with stem cells.
Stem Cell Company Paid $443,500 to Former Head of State Agency That Funds Researchby David JensenThe Sacramento BeeSeptember 1st, 2016Conflict-of-interest allegations have dogged the agency since it was created in 2004 by California voters to use state bond proceeds to finance stem cell research.
Two Women Pregnant after Having Ovarian Mitochondria Injected into EggsThe Japan TimesAugust 30th, 2016Some experts are calling for a careful response to the new procedure, as its safety and effects have not yet been scientifically verified.
Sperm Donor at Heart of Canadian Lawsuits Admits He Lied to Company Xytex, Police Sayby Diana MehtaThe Canadian PressAugust 30th, 2016Amidst pending lawsuits, Sperm Donor 9623 has turned himself in to the police for "falsifying paperwork."
Why Gene Tests for Cancer Don't Offer More Answersby Jessica WapnerScientific AmericanAugust 29th, 2016Genetic profiling of tumors has a long way to go. Many patients learn that their cancers have mutations for which no drug exists
Forget Ideology, Liberal Democracy’s Newest Threats Come From Technology and Bioscienceby John NaughtonThe GuardianAugust 28th, 2016Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, reviewed here, argues that "In the 21st century, those who ride the train of progress will acquire divine abilities of creation and destruction, while those left behind will face extinction."
Adopted Koreans, Stymied in Search of Birth Parents, Find Hope in a Cotton Swabby Marie Tae McDermottNew York TimesAugust 27th, 2016In search for birth family connections, South Korean adoptees turn to the personal genomics industry for answers.
Why India’s New Surrogacy Bill Is Bad For Womenby Sharmila RudrappaThe Huffington PostAugust 26th, 2016In an attempt to regulate surrogacy, the bill has further deregulated the industry and opened the possibilities for deeper harms to working class women.
The Little-Known History of the Forced Sterilization of Native American Womenhttp://daily.jstor.org/the-little-known-history-of-the-forced-sterilization-of-native-american-women/August 25th, 2016Both the IHS and its dark history of forced sterilization were the result of longstanding, often ham-fisted attempts to "address" American Indians’ health care needs.
FBI’s New DNA Process Produces More Matches in Suspect Databaseby Devlin BarrettWall Street JournalAugust 25th, 2016In May, the Bureau reduced the number of genetic locations required for a potential match (from 10-13 to 8-9 loci), resulting in thousands of new "hits."
New Surrogacy Bill Bars Married Couples with Kids, NRIs, Gays, Live-ins, Foreignersby Express News ServiceThe Indian ExpressAugust 25th, 2016The draft bill permits only "altruistic surrogacy" for childless couples who have been married for at least five years.
Surrogacy Still Big Business in Shanghai Despite National Banby Alice YanSouth China Morning PostAugust 25th, 2016Since China's one-child policy relaxed two years ago, the surrogacy industry has been expanding despite recent police raids.
Kuwait’s new DNA collection law is scarier than we ever imaginedby Daniel RiveroFusionAugust 24th, 2016National security policies require residents, citizens, and visitors to submit DNA samples, shaping new definitions of the country's citizenship.
Babies’ Health Could Be Affected by Variation in IVF Nutrientsby Jessica HamzelouNew Scientist August 24th, 2016Pharmaceutical companies keep the "recipe" of IVF culture media a secret, but research suggests long-term health effects for resulting children.
Accessible Synthetic Biology Raises New Concerns for DIY Biological Warfareby Joseph NeighborVICE MotherboardAugust 23rd, 2016The monopoly on biology once held by governments and universities has been broken, posing significant challenges for the international community.
Experimental Cancer Therapy Holds Great Promise — But at Great Costby Meghana KeshavanSTATAugust 23rd, 2016Patients undergoing immunotherapy clinical trials with CAR-T cells are at risk for deadly cytokine release syndrome, but pharmaceutical companies are racing to get FDA approval.
Humans of the Future Could Be Much Faster Than Usain Bolt or Michael PhelpsSouth China Morning PostAugust 23rd, 2016We could be getting closer to the post-human era, where we modify our own genetics to the point that we're less recognisably "human" than ever before.
Gene Mapping May Not Be for Everyoneby Karen WeintraubUSA TodayAugust 22nd, 2016Genetic tests reveal variations in the genome that might not cause problems but could lead to unnecessary medical tests, anxiety and treatments.
Staying Ahead of Technology’s Curvesby Doug HillBoston GlobeAugust 21st, 2016Embracing disruptive technologies without trying to anticipate and prepare for their potential consequences is now, more than ever, a bad idea.
These New Stem Cell Treatments Are Expensive — and Unprovenby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesAugust 19th, 2016"Stem cells have become a medical buzzword," Paul Knoepfler notes. "I see a lot of businesses using direct marketing to patients to take advantage of that."
Hacking life: Scientists ‘recode’ DNA in step toward lab-made organismsby Sharon BegleySTATAugust 18th, 2016It may not be long before scientists assemble genomes of higher organisms, as George Church proposed to do for the human genome.
In CRISPR Fight, Co-Inventor Says Broad Institute Misled Patent Officeby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewIs an email between competing researchers a smoking gun in the billion-dollar battle over patent rights for gene editing?
ExAC Project Pins Down Rare Gene VariantsNature EditorialAugust 17th, 2016A new study found only 9 of 192 variants were actually linked to pathogenic disease despite ongoing use in diagnosis and treatment.
In the Fight for Our Genes, Could We Lose What Makes Us Human?by Ziyaad BhoratopenDemocracyAugust 17th, 2016When genetics become the next currency for corporations and governments we risk the commercialization and politicization of who we are on a level far deeper than our skin.
What happens when anyone can edit genes at home? We’re about to find outby Dyllan FurnessDigital TrendsAugust 15th, 2016Scientists express concern about the unintentional consequences of gene editing starter kits proliferating in biohacking communities.
Illumina Would Like You to Sequence More DNA, Pleaseby Sarah ZhangWIREDAugust 15th, 2016The leader of the DNA sequencing market has a start-up accelerator program to find new applications for its technology.
Public policy must address technology’s impact[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by John M. HeinThe Sacramento BeeAugust 13th, 2016“We need to develop habits of mind, or habits of social interaction, that will allow for some very robust public participation on the use of these powerful technologies,” says Marcy Darnovsky.
Ethical questions raised in search for Sardinian centenarians' secretsby Stephanie KirchgaessnerThe GuardianAugust 12th, 2016Samples from residents of Sardinia’s "Blue Zone," who are famed for longevity, have been sold to a for-profit British research firm.
Scientists break 13-year silence to insist 'three-parent baby' technique is safeby Ian JohnstonThe IndependentAugust 11th, 2016The researchers conclude the technique "can produce a viable pregnancy." But the pregnancy they established resulted in miscarriage.
Diversity, disability and eugenics: An interview with Rob Sparrowby Xavier SymonsBioEdgeAugust 11th, 2016Philosophers and the medical profession have been way too swift to make judgments about other people’s quality of life. We're not as far from the bad old eugenics as many think.
Inside New York’s Radical Egg-Freezing Clinic for Women[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Lizzie Crocker & Abby HaglageThe Daily BeastAugust 10th, 2016Extend Fertility in Manhattan offers egg freezing at half market price. It’s also the first standalone practice of its kind in the U.S.
Finding Good Pain Treatment Is Hard. If You’re Not White, It’s Even Harder.by Abby GoodnoughThe New York TimesAugust 9th, 2016Researchers have found evidence of racial bias and stereotyping in recognizing and treating pain among people of color, particularly black patients.
The Human Genome Is Having Its Facebook Momentby Whet MoserChicago MagazineAugust 9th, 2016In less than a decade, as many people could have their genomes sequenced as use the social networking site (~1.7 billion monthly users).
Human Gene Editing: A Timeline of CRISPR Cover StoriesWith recent gene editing tools, a number of high-profile media are featuring CRISPR on their covers and front pages. We gather highlights since early 2015, along with opinion polls, TV shows, and editorial board statements.
To Err is Biotechnological: Reflections on Pew’s Human Enhancement Surveyby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 9th, 2016Biotechnologies aimed at human enhancement come with a guaranteed set of deficits, inadequacies, inconveniences, and risks.
Mind your genes! The dark legacy of eugenics lives onby Natasha MillerABC [Australia]August 8th, 2016The misguided science of behavioral genetics and the social engineering potential of CRISPR show we have much to remember about the history of eugenics.
How biotech executives profit from legal insider tradesby Damian GardeSTATAugust 8th, 2016Biotech bigwigs might be gaming an insider trading loophole to offset losses after failed clinical trials.
Do Olympians Have Better Genes Than You And Me?by Christina FarrFast CompanyAugust 6th, 2016Genetic tests aimed at discerning the genetic basis for athletic ability could be used coercively, and are undermined by important environmental factors.
Silicon Valley was going to disrupt capitalism. Now it’s just enhancing itby Evgeny MorozovThe GuardianAugust 6th, 2016Tech giants thought they would beat old businesses but the guardians of capitalism are using data troves to become more, not less, resilient.
The surprisingly small benefit of some very (expensive) Big Ideasby Joe GibesBioethics @ TIUAugust 5th, 2016A new article in JAMA looks at the unfulfilled hype that has become entrenched in the fields of stem cells, genetics, and electronic health records.
Booming demand, state protections attract commercial surrogate birthingby Kathy RobertsonSacramento BeeAugust 5th, 2016California has more surrogacy regulation than most states. But the founder of an agency comments, "Anybody in the whole world – even a felon – can open an agency. There is no licensing, no background check."
The Human Egg Business: More Media Coverage of California Cash-for-Eggs Legislation[citing CGS]by David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportAugust 5th, 2016AB 2531, backed by the fertility industry, would remove caps on payments for egg retrieval, thus inducing women to gamble with their health.
The $100,000-Per-Year Pill: How US Health Agencies Choose Pharma Over Patientsby Fran QuigleyTruthoutAugust 5th, 2016Big Pharma wasn't always the beneficiary of US government-funded medicine breakthroughs. Then came the 1980s and the Bayh-Dole Act.
Questions about Deaths in Cancer Trials using Gene-Altered Cellsby Katherine DrabiakBiopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 5th, 2016Excitement about immunotherapy and gene therapy approaches to cancer has eclipsed ethical questions about seven recent deaths in clinical trials.
Many pediatric clinical trials go unpublished or unfinishedby Ed SilvermanSTATAugust 4th, 2016Of 559 clinical trials, 19% were discontinued. Of 455 completed trials, 30% never published results. Over 69,000 children participated.
NIH Plans To Lift Ban On Research Funds For Part-Human, Part-Animal Embryosby Rob SteinNPRAugust 4th, 2016Concerns include the inadvertent creation of animals with partly human brains, endowing them with some semblance of human consciousness or human thinking abilities. (Public comment until September 4.)
What Ever Happened to Cloning?[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Kimberly LeonardUS News & World ReportAugust 4th, 2016Twenty years since Dolly, the field of cloning remains highly inefficient for animals and too unethical to attempt with humans.
Bill to expand market in women’s egg donations would undermine safeguards[citing CGS]by Deborah OrtizSacramento BeeAugust 4th, 2016Let’s not repeal a law that safeguards the health of women. We can support biomedical research without putting women’s health at risk.
In crisis-hit Venezuela young women seek sterilisationby Alexandra UlmerReutersAugust 3rd, 2016Food shortages, inflation, crumbling medical sector, and anti-abortion climate have caused a growing number of women to reluctantly opt for tubal ligations.
Why gene-therapy drugs are so expensiveby N.L.The EconomistAugust 3rd, 2016British pharmaceutical company GSK announced it will charge US$665,000 for a gene therapy for ADA-SCID (aka "bubble boy disease").
The Case Against Public Investment in Reproductive Genetic Modificationby Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 3rd, 2016Philosopher Tina Rulli argues that three-person IVF germline modification is not a “life-saving” medical therapy.
Peter Thiel Is Very, Very Interested in Young People's Bloodby Jeff BercoviciInc.August 1st, 2016The controversial venture capitalist believes transfusions may hold the key to his dream of living forever.
Editorial Precision? Snapshot of CRISPR germline in the newsby Hasmik DjoulakianAugust 1st, 2016Five questions about how the media talks about germline editing.
It's time for a conversation on parental surrogacy rulesby Celine CooperMontreal GazetteJuly 31st, 2016Is Montreal inching closer to relaxing or even abandoning its entrenched disapproval of procreative surrogacy?
35 couples used surrogates since new law in placeThe Nation [Thailand]July 31st, 2016Government agencies will track outcomes for women working as surrogates and children born in surrogacy arrangements, and analyse information on ways to improve regulations.
How Your Health Data Lead A Not-So-Secret Life Onlineby Angus ChenNPRJuly 30th, 2016The vast majority of mobile health apps on the marketplace aren't covered by the federal law protecting health data, HIPAA.
Stem Cell Therapies Are Still Mostly Theory, Yet Clinics Are Flourishingby Gina KolataThe New York TimesJuly 28th, 2016570 clinics in the United States are offering untested stem cell therapies.
How British are you? Mapped: DNA testing shows the most Anglo-Saxon regions in UK by Hannah FurnessThe Telegraph [UK]July 28th, 2016AncestryDNA reveals British people's genealogies vary by region and are less clearly defined than people tend to think.
Editas signs genome-edited stem cell pact with GSK, Biogen biotech partnerby Ben AdamsFierce BiotechJuly 28th, 2016Editas Medicine has a hand in a number of gene therapy initiatives.
When Baby-Making Moves From the Bedroom to the Laboratoryby Natalie SchreyerMother JonesJuly 28th, 2016"You want to get the best car," says Hank Greely. "Why don't you want to get the best baby?"
Congress wrestles with providing fertility benefits for injured veterans and servicemembersby Karoun DemirjianThe Washington PostJuly 27th, 2016Senator Patty Murray believes the ban on IVF and other fertility options is outdated.
Guardian ad litem bills gay couple $100K for report questioning surrogacyby Debra Cassens WeissABA Journal Daily NewsJuly 27th, 2016The judge was extremely critical of surrogacy and his remarks have since been called “unduly harsh” by another judge.
We’re on the cusp of a gene editing revolution, are we ready?by EditorialNew ScientistJuly 27th, 2016Fast-moving genetic technologies may be on the road to outpacing public acceptance and debate.
Can genes really predict how well you’ll do academically?by Daphne MartschenkoThe ConversationJuly 26th, 2016Genetic intelligence research has eugenic histories and may minimize the role of social and political environments.
Human Enhancement Freaks People Out, Study Finds; Designer Babies Might 'Meddle With Nature'by Ed CaraMedical DailyJuly 26th, 2016Survey reveals more wariness than excitement for genetic technologies that would 'enhance' people.
Human Enhancement: The Scientific and Ethical Dimensions of Striving for Perfectionby David MasciPew Research CenterJuly 26th, 2016Genetic technologies raise questions ranging from the technical to the social.
Medical schools must play a role in addressing racial disparitiesby Jocelyn Stried, Margaret Hayden, Rahul Nayajk & Cameron NuttSTATJuly 25th, 2016A legacy of racial injustice has shaped the institutions that train our doctors. This inequity recapitulates itself in medical curricula.
Craig Venter’s Latest Productionby Arlene WeintraubMIT Technology ReviewJuly 25th, 2016For now, at least, it's "only the rich who can pay right now for genome sequencing."
Taking Genomic Data Globalby Elizabeth WoykeMIT Technology ReviewJuly 25th, 2016Precision medicine startups are now focusing on Asia.
Turning back the biological clock comes at a price by Rhiannon Lucy CosslettThe GuardianJuly 25th, 2016Egg freezing is marketed as the answer to precarious young lives yet excludes most of those it claims to help.
'Activist judge' compares surrogacy to human traffickingby Daniel BiceMilwaukee-Wisconsin Journal SentinelJuly 24th, 2016The couple was forced to take second and third mortgages out on their home, but they were finally granted parental rights.
Chinese parents look to genes to see what talents their child hasby Yang XiGlobal TimesJuly 24th, 2016Some parents believe this helps them make parenting decisions, including what extracurricular activities their children pursue.
Can this woman cure ageing with gene therapy?by Dara Mohammadi & Nicola DavisThe GuardianJuly 24th, 2016Elizabeth Parrish has tried out her company’s anti-aging gene therapy, but the biology of aging may be more complicated than we understand.
Uncle Sam Wants You — Or at Least Your Genetic and Lifestyle Informationby Robert PearThe New York TimesJuly 23rd, 2016The Precision Medicine Initiative will seek participants from various geographies and socioeconomic statuses across the country.
Should we pay women to donate their eggs for research? No, and here's why.[citing CGS’ Marcy Darnovsky, fellow Lisa Ikemoto]by Michael HiltzikThe Los Angeles TimesJuly 22nd, 2016The risks of egg retrieval, particularly long-term risks, are not yet understood due to a lack of studies.
Chinese scientists to pioneer first human CRISPR trialby David CyranoskiNature NewsJuly 21st, 2016Gene-editing technique to treat lung cancer is due to be tested in people in August.
Sperm Banks Accused of Losing Samples and Lying About Donorsby Tamar LewinThe New York TimesJuly 21st, 2016Sperm banks are not required to verify information provided by sperm donors.
Nudging patients into clinical trialsby Bradley J. FikesThe San Diego Union-TribuneJuly 20th, 2016Incentives include money and rewards such as iPads.
Gene Therapy Trial Wrenches Families as One Child’s Death Saves Anotherby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJuly 20th, 2016The new DNA fix stops a brain-destroying terminal illness, but only if it’s given early enough.
Fertility doc Antinori indictedASNAJuly 20th, 2016The fertility doctor is charged with forcibly removing eggs from a patient, who told police he bound and sedated her. The doctor has accused her of being a member of ISIS.
Roma women share stories of forced sterilisationby Renate van der ZeeAl Jazeera [Czech Republic]July 19th, 2016The systematic sterilisation of Roma women was state policy in the former Czechoslovakia. The Czech government has rejected a compensation law.
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.
Genome Tea Leavesby Sheldon KrimskyLos Angeles Review of BooksJuly 17th, 2016A review of Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Gene: An Intimate History and Steven Monroe Lipkin’s The Age of Genomes: Tales from the Front Lines of Genetic Medicine.
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 (Pro); Marcy Darnovsky (Con)National GeographicJuly 15th, 2016Harris: "Research on Gene Editing in Humans Must Continue"
Darnovsky: "Do Not Open the Door to Editing Genes in Future Humans"
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 Dark Secrets of this Now-Empty Island in Maineby David JesterAtlas ObscuraJuly 14th, 2016Malaga Island was home to a fishing community. But in 1911, a racist pseudoscience and greedy politicians changed all that.
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.
No One Should Edit The Genes Of Embryos To Make Babies, NIH Chief Says[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 about both the safety and social consequences of altering reproductive cells.
[September] Victory on CA Eggs-for-Research Bill | Gene Editing Changes Everything? | Jobs at CGSOur monthly newsletter Biopolitical Views & News rounds up our commentary and recent news stories. Here's the September 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.
Resumed stem cell study by EditorialThe Korea TimesJuly 13th, 2016Cloning-based stem cell research in Korea is set to resume, and will use nearly 600 human eggs.
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, 2016"Given the world as we know it, germline genetic enhancement could exacerbate the already obscene gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots.'"
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, 2016The office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment further on the inclusion of gene editing as a potential "weapon of mass destruction."
Don’t Eat the Yellow Rice: The Danger of Deploying Vitamin A Golden Riceby Ted GreinerIndependent Science NewsJuly 11th, 2016From the beginning, the purpose of "golden rice" was to be a tool for use in shaming GMO critics.
Sustainable Week: Fixing Our Broken Moral Compass[citing CGS’ Elliot Hosman]by Chuck SternBTRtoday July 8th, 2016Who decides what is good and bad, what is that person or entity's agenda?
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 "Golden Rice." Are its supporters using their privilege and authority to promote a particular technological solution to a political problem?
Eugenics bill passes Houseby Kevin EllisShelby StarJuly 7th, 2016The North Carolina bill will ensure that compensation payments to victims of the state's eugenic sterilization program are 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.
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.
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.
State should settle quickly with eugenics victimsThe Lincoln Times-NewsJuly 5th, 2016The General Assembly has allocated $10 million for 220 victims, but those funds have yet to be distributed.
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 of 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.
'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.
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