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About Race & Human Biotechnology


Racist ideas and practices have marred the history of science, with low points including the eugenics movement and medical experiments on vulnerable populations. Public awareness and social oversight are needed to ensure that these sorts of occurrences are not repeated.

Today, some geneticists and biomedical researchers are searching for genetic differences between racial groups, raising concerns that these biological variations may be used to justify inequitable outcomes that are created by social, environmental, and economic forces. However well-meaning, this could lead to gross abuse.

Genetic researchers have been particularly interested in indigenous peoples. Their reproductive insularity has led to a genetic homogeneity that can facilitate searches for correlations between specific genes and phenotypic traits. Many indigenous people object to this work for a variety of practical and ethical reasons, including the patenting and commercialization of genetic information, the lack of fully informed consent, the potential for genetic discrimination, and the disproportionate allocation of public funds to genetic research rather than to direct health care and prevention programs.



The Real Problem With Sperm Banksby Keli GoffThe Daily BeastOctober 7th, 2014A woman recently sued a sperm bank that mistakenly sent her sperm from a black donor instead of a white donor. The lawsuit highlights the lack of regulation of an industry that has life and death implications and is not regulated accordingly.
Reproducing Raceby Dov FoxThe Huffington PostOctober 6th, 2014It is troubling for donor services to accentuate race in ways that invite parents to exclude wholesale from their consideration all donors of a particular race.
State to Send Out About 200 Eugenics Paymentsby Meghann EvansWinston-Salem JournalOctober 1st, 2014The first eugenics compensation payments are to be sent out by Oct. 31, and a second payment will be sent to victims next year.
Lawsuit: Wrong Sperm Delivered to Lesbian Coupleby Meredith RodriguezChicago TribuneOctober 1st, 2014An Ohio woman is suing her sperm bank, alleging that the company mistakenly gave her vials from an African-American donor, a fact that she said has made it difficult to raise her daughter in an all-white community.
An End to Sterilization Abuses in California Prisonsby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 26th, 2014The signing of SB 1135 into California law by Gov. Jerry Brown is an important victory in the fight for the remembrance of our state's eugenic history and its ongoing implications.
Under the Skinby Nathaniel ComfortNatureSeptember 18th, 2014Three recent books focus on whether race is biological and therefore "real." But this question is a dead end, a distraction from what is really at stake in this debate: human social equality.
San Francisco Lawmakers Could Pass Resolution Against Sex-Selective Abortion Bansby Nina Liss-SchultzRH Reality CheckSeptember 10th, 2014A resolution opposes sex-selective abortion bans on the basis that they perpetuate racial stereotypes that are harmful to women and communities of color.
A Manifesto for Playing God with Human Evolutionby Carl ElliottNew ScientistSeptember 8th, 2014Fancy living forever, or uploading your mind to the net? The Proactionary Imperative embraces transhumanist dreams, but reminds why we need medical ethics.
"We're All One of Troy's Babies": A Celebration of Troy Dusterby Victoria Massie, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 21st, 2014On Friday, August 15th, I was one among a multitude of people finding a seat in Booth Auditorium at UC Berkeley Law School for the event “Celebrating Troy Duster.”
Troy Duster’s Garden of Plugged-In Scholarship, and How it Grewby Barry BergmanNewsCenterAugust 20th, 2014An overview of the CGS co-sponsored event to honor Troy Duster's landmark works on the racial implications of drug policies and genetic research, his role as adviser and friend, and his fierce activism.
Moving on from Nicholas Wade to Continuing Concerns about Scientific Racismby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesAugust 14th, 2014Over 140 geneticists publicly criticized Nicholas Wade for distorting their work; but that is unlikely to stop such abuse permanently, and many issues still deserve airing.
Tuskegee Todayby Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostAugust 8th, 2014Last week marked the 42nd anniversary of the Tuskegee syphilis study and many people took the opportunity to examine its relevance to the treatment of human research subjects today.
Geneticists Say Popular Book Misrepresents Research on Human Evolutionby Ewen CallawayNature NewsAugust 8th, 2014More than 130 leading population geneticists have condemned a book arguing that genetic variation between human populations could underlie global economic, political and social differences.
Tuskegee, Todayby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesAugust 7th, 2014Last week marked the 42nd anniversary of the Tuskegee syphilis study and many people took the opportunity to examine its relevance to the treatment of human research subjects today.
North Carolina and Genetics: From Sterilization to Research Subjectsby Victoria Massie, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 7th, 2014In the twentieth century, North Carolina was one of dozens of states that targeted certain citizens for eugenic sterilization. Today, in a town outside Charlotte, biotech researchers are asking for urine and blood samples and offering $10 gift cards to WalMart in exchange.
No ‘Rainbow Families’: Ethnic Donor Stipulation at Fertility Centre ‘Floors’ Local Womanby Jessica BarrettCalgary Herald [Canada]July 25th, 2014A Calgary woman was shocked to learn of a policy at the city’s only fertility treatment centre that restricts patients from using sperm, eggs or embryos from donors who do not match their ethnic background.
Bering Strait Theory, Pt. 6: DNA, Blood Types and Stereotypesby Alex Ewen Indian Country Today Media NetworkJuly 19th, 2014The use by geneticists of the pseudo-scientific classifications of American Indians has been unfortunate.
Race, Genetics and Voting?by Ian Haney LópezMoyers & CompanyJuly 18th, 2014Naturalistic assumptions about race mislead liberals in their effort to fathom race’s astringent power, shifting the focus from social dynamics to inherited essences.
Rethinking 21st Century Racism on the Way Homeby Victoria MassieGeneWatchJuly 17th, 2014When American genetic ancestry meets the ancestral homeland, DNA acquires a degree of contingency from which it cannot escape. This may serve as a means to rethink what potential there is of reifying the idea of "race" as we have known it.
The Fault in Our DNA: Reviews of A Troublesome Inheritance and Inheritanceby David DobbsThe New York TimesJuly 10th, 2014Nicholas Wade's book is deeply flawed, deceptive and dangerous. Sharon Moalem’s account reminds us that whatever its promise, genetics yet stands at a humble place.
Highly Placed Media Racistsby Steve RendallFAIRJuly 2nd, 2014Nicholas Wade's views raise questions about his tenure at The New York Times, and about corporate media vigilance on coverage of racism.
Implications of Genetic Diversity in Mexicoby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 25th, 2014Two genomic surveys, one of Mexicans and one of self-identified Latinos, raise questions about the scientific use of cultural terms, and also hold implications for personalized medicine.
White Rabbitby Patricia J. WilliamsThe NationJune 23rd, 2014In a guise of scientific seriousness, Nicholas Wade’s new book revives the discredited ideas of history’s most notorious racists.
Eugenicists Never Retreat, They Just Regroup: Sterilization and Reproductive Oppression in Prisonsby Loretta RossRH Reality CheckJune 12th, 2014Women in California prisons have been illegally sterilized, nearly four decades after sterilization abuse guidelines were implemented at the state and the federal level.
A Troublesome Controversyby Pete ShanksThe Huffington PostJune 9th, 2014Nicholas Wade's A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History has been out for a month, and the fuss seems to be dying down. So, is "scientific racism" dead? Unfortunately, it's too soon for that particular funeral.
Wading into Racismby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 6th, 2014A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History has been out for a month, and the fuss, such as it was, seems to be dying down, but the underlying issues remain significant.
Report Debunks Conservative Case for Sex-Selection Abortion Bansby  Jessica Mason PiekloRH Reality CheckJune 4th, 2014The new report identifies six major inaccuracies commonly associated with legislation seeking to ban sex-selection abortions.
Charging Into the Minefield of Genes and Racial Differenceby Arthur AllenThe New York TimesMay 15th, 2014Few areas of science have contributed more to human misery than the study of racial difference. In A Troublesome Inheritance, Nicholas Wade argues that scientists need to get over their hang-ups and jump in.
Things to Know When Talking About Race and Geneticsby Agustín FuentesPsychology TodayMay 13th, 2014The assertion that humans are divided into “continental races” and that these lead to differences in genetically based social behaviors is just bad science.
The Genes Made Us Do Itby Jonathan MarksIn These TimesMay 12th, 2014A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History is a paranoid, anti-intellectual screed. According to author Nicholas Wade, scientists are misleading you about race in order to set their own egalitarian political agenda.
Nicholas Wade: Genes, Race and Anthropologyby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 8th, 2014Is Nicholas Wade shocked and horrified that his new book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, is getting support from racists? Really, what did he expect?
Infertility, Endured Through a Prism of Raceby Tanzina VegaThe New York TimesApril 25th, 2014Black women may face infertility more often than white women but are less likely to seek medical help, and their struggles are compounded by cultural issues.
Stress Alters Children's Genomesby Jyoti MadhusoodananNatureApril 7th, 2014Growing up in a stressful social environment leaves lasting marks on young chromosomes, a study of African American boys has revealed.
Discriminatory “DNA Sweeps”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 31st, 2014A DNA sweep of “all black and brown migrant workers” at farms in Canada has led to a complaint against the Ontario Provincial Police department alleging misconduct and racial profiling.
In Research Involving Genome Analysis, Some See a ‘New Racism’by Paul VoosenThe Chronicle of Higher EducationMarch 24th, 2014Variation among geographic populations is real, but there are no categories of race that segment human populations, and there are no mysterious qualities ‘in the blood’ that justify the belief in racial superiority.
Hitler’s Favorite American: “Biological Fascism” in the Shadow of New York Cityby Paul MartinSalonMarch 23rd, 2014Eugenicists advocated three ways of dealing with the perceived problem of bad genes: immigration restrictions, the prevention of “unfit” marriages, and involuntary sterilization of “defective” individuals in state care.
OPP Faces Scrutiny Over DNA Testing Sweep that Brought Racial-Profiling Complaintby Tim AlamenciakThe StarMarch 17th, 2014Ontario’s independent police watchdog says seeking DNA from 100 farm workers whose sole similarity was skin colour raises "the spectre of racial profiling."
The Rent-a-Womb Boomby Adrienne VogtThe Daily BeastMarch 3rd, 2014Who really profits from India’s multimillion-dollar surrogacy industry? Adrienne Vogt explores the uncertain future of the subcontinent’s baby business.
The Dangerous “Science” of Gregory Clark, as Read in The New York Timesby Matt RubenPhiladelphia MagazineFebruary 26th, 2014The pseudo-scientific notion that genetics explains why elite families and groups remain on top has surfaced again in a recent New York Times column.
Osagie K. Obasogie Speaks With Skip Gates About Colorblindness and Race[with CGS's Osagie Obasogie]by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.Oxford University Press's BlogFebruary 18th, 2014No one had done research on race and blindness. The question simply had not been asked, which speaks to the strength of the assumption that race isn’t all that important to blind people.
Scientific Racism's Long History Mandates Cautionby A'ndrea Elyse MesserPenn State NewsFebruary 14th, 2014Medical and scientific researchers need to be careful that the growth of genomics does not bring about another resurgence of scientific racism.
'There is no DNA Test to Prove You're Native American'by Linda GeddesNew ScientistFebruary 13th, 2014DNA testing is changing how Native Americans think about tribal membership. Yet anthropologist Kim Tallbear warns that genetic tests are a blunt tool, and tribal identity not just a matter of blood ties.
Ancient Genome Stirs Ethics Debateby Ewen CallawayNatureFebruary 12th, 2014The remains of a young boy buried some 12,600 years ago in Montana have revealed the ancestry of one of the earliest populations in the Americas.
On Race, Medicine, and Reproduction: An Interview with Dorothy Robertsby Sophia SeawellBluestockings MagazineFebruary 4th, 2014The idea that social inequality has innate causes is a powerful way of trying to justify an unjust power arrangement.
On Race and Medicineby Keith NorrisThe ScientistFebruary 1st, 2014While age and gender are strongly associated with biological differences that may have a significant impact on disease susceptibility and treatment response, the role of race/ethnicity is far less clear.
How Blind People See Raceby Francie LatourBoston GlobeJanuary 19th, 2014Osagie Obasogie set out to find out what ‘race’ means to people who’ve never been able to see skin color.
Can a Blind Person Be a Racist? [Excerpt]by Osagie ObasogieScientific AmericanJanuary 10th, 2014Racist attitudes are not rooted in the ability to actually "see" the color of someone’s skin.
Racism Accelerates Aging In African-American Men, New Study Suggests by Macrina Cooper-WhiteThe Huffington PostJanuary 8th, 2014A new study suggests that racial discrimination actually accelerates aging at the cellular level by shortening telomeres.
A Short History of Biological Explanations for Povertyby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 2nd, 2014“The Biological Inferiority of the Undeserving Poor” sketches the history of biological explanations for social ills, and warns that we should pay close attention to their current resurgence.
The Biological Inferiority of the Undeserving Poorby Michael B. KatzSocial Work and Society International Online JournalDecember 24th, 2013The biological definition of poverty reinforces the idea of the undeserving poor, which is the oldest theme in post-Enlightenment poverty discourse.
The Case for a New Biopoliticsby Marcy DarnovskyYouTubeDecember 11th, 2013A talk at UC Berkeley Extension for Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvouz (LASERs), a national program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversation with an audience.
24,000-Year-Old Body Shows Kinship to Europeans and American Indiansby Nicholas WadeThe New York TimesNovember 20th, 2013The genome of a young boy buried in eastern Siberia some 24,000 years ago has turned out to hold two surprises: his DNA matches that of Western Europeans and also a large proportion of the DNA of living Native Americans.
Review: The Sports Geneby J. P. Harpignies, Biopolitical Times guest contributorBiopolitical TimesOctober 17th, 2013David Epstein’s new book is unfortunately named. Sports Genes? – with an emphasis on the question mark – would have been more accurate. Nonetheless, the author provides a thoughtful exploration of some very tricky terrain.
My Problem with "Taboo" Behavioral Genetics? The Science Stinks!by John HorganScientific AmericanOctober 4th, 2013Last spring, I kicked up a kerfuffle by proposing that research on race and intelligence, given its potential for exacerbating discrimination, should be banned. Now Nature has expanded this debate with "Taboo Genetics."
Outsourcing a Life[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Stephanie M. LeeSan Francisco ChronicleSeptember 30th, 2013The Akanksha Infertility Clinic in Anand, India allowed a San Francisco Chronicle reporter and photographer full access to its facilities, except for the delivery room.
Studying How The Blind Perceive Race[Discusses the work of CGS's Osagie Obasogie]by Kat ChowNPRSeptember 29th, 2013Blinded by Sight: Seeing Race in the Eyes of the Blind hits shelves in November.
30 Years Later, A MacArthur 'Genius' Reflects[Discusses the work of CGS's Osagie Obasogie]by Kat ChowWGBH NewsSeptember 26th, 2013Former MacArthur Foundation fellow Ramón Gutiérrez calls Osagie Obasogie's work on how blind people understand race the most interesting research he's come across lately.
Havasupai, HeLa, and the Fallacy of Neutral Scienceby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesAugust 28th, 2013A recent claim that misuse of Havasupai DNA was a “fairy tale” has stirred up heated debates about informed consent and scientific ethics.
More Concerns Over Familial DNA Searchingby Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesAugust 28th, 2013A recent paper by Rori Rohlfs et. al., and two accompanying videos, suggest that real concerns still remain with familial searching in California's DNA databases.
Involuntary Sterilization Then and Nowby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesAugust 28th, 2013North Carolina will be the first US state to offer compensation to victims of state-sponsored forced sterilization programs. The decision marks a milestone in the long struggle for recognition of this tragic history, but what about the questionable sterilizations still taking place today?
African Genes Tracked Backby Erika Check HaydenNatureAugust 27th, 2013Scientists say that they have traced a reverse migration that, in two steps, carried genes from the rest of the world back to southern Africa, long before European colonizers arrived.
What DNA Testing Reveals About India’s Caste System by Dan KedmeyTimeAugust 27th, 2013New research reveals that genetic mixing between castes in India ended 1,900 years ago, around the same time the caste system was being codified in religious texts.
Righting a Wrong: NC to Pay Victims of Forced Sterilizationby Kimberly JohnsonAljazeera AmericaAugust 23rd, 2013Many states had eugenics programs; North Carolina will be the first to provide financial compensation.
Is Individuality the Savior of Eugenics?by Nathaniel ComfortScientific AmericanAugust 23rd, 2013Once defined as “the science of human improvement through better breeding,” eugenics has roared back into the headlines in recent weeks in both Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll personae.
Blind People Can Still Identify Race (And Be Racist)[Quotes CGS's Osagie Obasogie]by Rose EvelethSmithsonianAugust 22nd, 2013Many non-racist people like to call themselves “color blind,” as in “blind to the color of someone’s skin.” But what about people who are actually blind?
Guess What? Racism Isn't Good Scienceby Jesse LarnerHuffington PostAugust 21st, 2013Jason Richwine is back, still defending his previous work, and still not addressing the problems with IQ tests or the fact that the "science" he looks to has been greatly problematized.
The Empire Strikes Backby Jonathan MarksAnthropomicsAugust 19th, 2013New claims about the geneticist who collected samples from Native Americans to study diabetes, and then piggybacked research on schizophrenia without consent, compels us to revisit the case.
Study Probes DNA Search Method that Led to 'Grim Sleeper' Suspectby Eryn BrownLos Angeles TimesAugust 15th, 2013DNA-based familial searches may mistakenly identify individuals in a forensic database as siblings or parents of an unknown perpetrator, when in fact they are distant relatives.
Race Matters When a Patient Needs a Stem Cell or Marrow Transplantby Arthur AllenWashington PostAugust 5th, 2013If you become ill with a blood cancer or other disease that requires a stem cell transplant, here’s an uncomfortable fact: Your race matters. Diversity is a strength in much of life, but it’s a curse when finding a stem cell donor match.
Talent Or Skill?: Honing In On The Elusive 'Sports Gene'by David EpsteinNPR NewsAugust 5th, 2013Most of human ancestry occurred in Africa, so the most genetic diversity is there. You might find the fastest ten runners and the slowest ten runners, but nobody is looking for the slowest ten.
Russian-Speakers who Want to Make Aliya Could Need DNA Testby Asher ZeigerThe Times of IsraelJuly 29th, 2013The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office says would-be immigrants from the former Soviet Union may be asked to prove Jewish bloodline.
Supreme Court Strikes a Hard Blow to Tribal Sovereignty in Adoption Case by Aura BogadoThe NationJune 25th, 2013The court appears to have ruled as if it was deciding the issue based on race.
Inside the Stem Cell Shell Gameby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJune 18th, 2013Sociologist Ruha Benjamin examines the California stem cell initiative from a social justice perspective.
Should Police Use DNA to Investigate a Suspect’s Family Members?by Nanibaa’ A. Garrison, Rori V. Rohlfs, and Stephanie M. Fullerton, Biopolitical Times guest contributorsJune 11th, 2013A DNA-based technique called familial searching can help police solve serious crimes. It can also be abused in ways that expose innocent people to unwarranted police surveillance.
Mexican Americans Sterilized Disproportionately in California Institutions, Study Saysby Roque PlanasThe Huffington PostJune 5th, 2013A new study shows definitively that Mexican Americans were disproportionately sterilized in California during the first half of the 20th century.
Welcome to the “Genetic Panopticon”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 5th, 2013In a forceful blow to the Fourth Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that police can collect DNA from people who have been arrested – but who have not been convicted, and may never be.
Spirometry: A Built-in ‘Correction’ For Race?by Lundy BraunBrown UniversityJune 3rd, 2013A device that measures lung capacity automatically makes “corrections” for the patient’s race, but a review of the underlying research finds that race is rarely defined or skillfully considered.
Quest for 'Genius Babies'?by Colleen FlahertyInside Higher EdMay 29th, 2013Controversy about a cognitive genomics project raises concerns that a new generation of eugenicists may be coming of age.
Groups File Suit Against Arizona Law that Bans Abortion Based on Race, Gender Selectionby Howard FischerEast Valley TribuneMay 29th, 2013A coalition of rights groups are suing to overturn a two-year-old Arizona law banning abortion for race or gender selection.
Race Is Not Biologyby Merlin ChowkwanyunThe AtlanticMay 23rd, 2013How unthinking racial essentialism finds its way into scientific research.
What We Mean When We Say 'Race Is a Social Construct'by Ta-Nehisi CoatesThe AtlanticMay 15th, 2013If you tell me that you plan to study "race and intelligence" then it is only fair that I ask you, "What do you mean by race?"
The Dark Art of Racecraftby Ta-Nehisi CoatesThe AtlanticMay 13th, 2013Jason Richwine takes his place in a long history of research on race and IQ, one of the most discredited fields of study in modern history.
Conservative Immigration Scholar: Black and Hispanic Immigrants Are Dumber Than European Immigrantsby Adam SerwerMother JonesMay 8th, 2013Jason Richwine, who coauthored a Heritage Foundation study on immigration, didn't just argue that certain minorities are dumber in his scholarship—he also said it at a public panel.
Confusion Reigns on Genes, Race, and Alzheimer’sby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesApril 13th, 2013Wildly divergent headlines vividly illustrate the depth and breadth of the confusion that plagues our thinking about racial categories in genetic research.
Shifts in the Global Body Market: Access or Exploitation?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 1st, 2013PlanetHospital claims that new surrogacy regulations in India have ruined a “golden opportunity” and paints Mexico and Thailand as the surrogacy frontiers – where it happens to have business arrangements.
Beyond Tokenistic Inclusion: Science, Citizenship, and Changing the Questions by Ruha BenjaminHuffington PostMarch 25th, 2013The scientific community prides itself on free and open inquiry, and yet when it comes to raising questions about the social and political implications of our work, a peculiar form of self-censorship seems to be at work.
Racial Differences in Allergy Rates: Genes or Environment?by Diane ToberBiopolical TimesMarch 21st, 2013Popular news outlets too often depict inconclusive research as fact, and this tendency seems particularly strong when the topic is related to race and genetics.
Race as Biology in The New York Times by Diane ToberBiopolitical TimesFebruary 21st, 2013A prominent science writer’s troubling choice of words about “race” suggest that it is biological reality rather than social category.
Too Much InformationSupreme Court 2013: Why collecting DNA from people who are arrested won’t help solve more crimes.by Brandon L. Garrett and Erin MurphySlateFebruary 12th, 2013Research shows that police solve more crimes not by taking DNA from suspects who have never been convicted, but by collecting more evidence at crime scenes.
Israel Admits Targeting Ethiopian Jews for Compulsory Contraception by Diane ToberBiopolitical TimesFebruary 7th, 2013Israeli government officials have admitted to coercing Ethiopian Jewish immigrant women into taking long-acting contraceptive injections.
Will Pre-Conviction DNA Collection Become the National Norm?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesFebruary 7th, 2013The United States Supreme Court will hear a case later this month that will determine the legality of collecting DNA from people who are arrested for but not convicted of any crime.
Proposal to Collect DNA From Immigrants Too Orwellian: Opinion by Opinion staffDaily NewsJanuary 31st, 2013Undocumented immigrants should not be required to submit DNA samples as a condition of staying in the United States.
3 Years After Inception, a DNA Technique Yields Little Success for the Policeby Joseph Goldstein and J. David GoodmanThe New York TimesJanuary 27th, 2013The process of turning crime-scene DNA into a family tree of possible leads has been quietly undertaken in more than two dozen cases in New York City since 2009, but there have as yet been no cases solved due to a lead generated by a "family search."
Israel Admits Ethiopian Women Were Given Birth Control Shots by Talila NesherHaaretzJanuary 27th, 2013The Health Ministry director general has instructed gynecologists not to inject women with the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera if they do not understand the ramifications of treatment.
Sickle Cell Test Gets NCAA OK Despite Docsby Cole PetrochkoMedPage TodayJanuary 21st, 2013The National Collegiate Athletic Association has approved mandatory confirmation of sickle cell trait status in Division III student athletes, despite the objections of the American Society of Hematology.
Privacy Fear for DNA Dragnetby Tony WallStuff (New Zealand)January 20th, 2013A district court judge who is a world expert in forensic DNA has called for a public debate on the use of familial DNA testing, saying it raises serious privacy issues and has the potential to subject entire families to life-long genetic surveillance.
Book Review: Anne Pollock’s Medicating Race[Quotes CGS's Osagie Obasogie]by Colin HalversonSomatosphereJanuary 7th, 2013Medicating Race is a meditation on the history and present state of racialized (specifically African American) forms of heart disease.
DNA Ancestry Testing: What Can it Say about Native American Identity?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesDecember 20th, 2012The question of who belongs to what Native American tribe is rife with political, social, and legal implications. Do DNA ancestry tests provide answers or add another layer of misunderstanding?
The End of Race History? Not Yetby Osagie K. ObasogieNew Scientist December 14th, 2012Two books explain how the idea that we live in a post-racial world conflicts with ongoing uses of race in science.
N.C. House will Consider Eugenics Payouts Againby Patrick GannonStar News OnlineDecember 13th, 2012The North Carolina House will again pursue legislation in 2013 to compensate residents sterilized decades ago by a state-sanctioned board.
Welcome to DownTown Abbeyby Jane RidleyPage Six MagazineDecember 6th, 2012New York City's modern-day dukes and duchesses blur the lines between upstairs and downstairs, demanding their household help provide everything from donated eggs to properly behaved aquatic animals.
The Definitive Book on the Strange History of BiDilby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesDecember 6th, 2012Jonathan Kahn's new Race In A Bottle is an extraordinary account of the birth, life, and death(?) of the first drug to receive FDA approval for a specific racial group.
U.S. Fertility Care: Ignoring Minorities? by Jim HawkinsThe Huffington PostDecember 1st, 2012A new report about the websites of U.S. fertility clinics details the vast over-representation of white babies. Could this be behind the relative lack of racial minorities using fertility treatments?
Tesla, Eugenics And Rationalizing Dehumanizationby Alex KnappForbesNovember 19th, 2012Famed inventor Nikola Tesla was an ardent supporter of eugenics, predicting universally established eugenics by the year 2100.
Law Lags as Aussies Employ Overseas Surrogate Mums[radio transcript]by Damien CarrickABC (Australia) RadioNationalOctober 23rd, 2012Though surrogacy is illegal in Australia, a child is born in India to Australian parents every day. What are the legal and ethical dimensions of hiring a woman from another country as a surrogate?
DNA Analysis: Far From an Open-and-Shut CaseForensic evidence is widely considered to be the result of purely objective lab tests, but there's growing proof that psychological bias plays a partby Vaughan BellGuardian [UK]October 13th, 2012DNA forensics can become less a case of "matching barcodes" than one of deciding whether any one of the numerous and disjointed "barcode fragments" seem to fit the original.
Economics and Genetics Meet in Uneasy UnionUse of population-genetic data to predict economic success sparks war of words.by Ewen CallawayNatureOctober 10th, 2012A paper about to be published in a prestigious economics journal claims that a country’s genetic diversity can predict the success of its economy. Critics of the study see genetic determinism, and even racism.
New Director's Experience a Plus for MSU, but his Controversial Views Concern Someby Matthew MillerLansing State JournalOctober 6th, 2012The newly appointed vice president of research at Michigan State University holds controversial views about genes and intelligence.
Complete Video Now Online for Eugenics in California: A Legacy of the Past?by Center for Genetics and SocietyBiopolitical TimesSeptember 28th, 2012A video recording of a public event at Berkeley School of Law about the legacies of eugenics in California.
Using Race in Medicine? Seven Guidelines for Doing so Responsiblyby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 17th, 2012A recent commentary in Scientific American notes the difficulties of dealing with race in medical research and points to seven helpful guidelines.
Race-Based Medicine: Déjà Vu All Over Again? by Osagie ObasagieBiopolitical TimesSeptember 6th, 2012A new drug may lead us to at least partially revisit the debate about race-based medicine.
Transhumanist Web Series Likely to Disappoint Transhumanistsby Emily BeitiksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 6th, 2012A new web-based digital series looks at a transhumanist future with an eye to social justice and finds it frightening.
Forensic Test Can Predict Hair and Eye Colour From DNAby Paul RinconBBC NewsAugust 24th, 2012Scientists have developed a forensic test that can predict both the hair and eye colour of a possible suspect using DNA left at a crime scene.
Stop and Swab: Dramatic Increases in DNA Police Databasesby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesAugust 20th, 2012DNA databases continue to grow exponentially as more U.S. states allow police to seize DNA samples from people who have been arrested but not convicted, and from those suspected of misdemeanors as well as felonies.
North Carolina Survivors of Eugenic Sterilization are Passed Over Againby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 28th, 2012The North Carolina Senate has turned down compensation for living victims of the state-sponsored forced sterilization program that continued into the 1970s.
The Place of Race in Understanding Healthby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 27th, 2012Anne Fausto-Sterling considers the meaning of race in health disparities, comparing the work of three prominent scholars who may shake up the status quo.
Bodies with HistoriesThe New Search for the Biology of Raceby Anne Fausto-SterlingBoston ReviewJune 25th, 2012A lot of medical research money is now devoted to finding genetic differences between races that may explain health disparities, but many students of biology and race think that is a bad idea.
Stop and Frisk -- and DNA Test? by Jason SilversteinHuffington PostJune 22nd, 2012Taking DNA samples from people arrested, but not convicted of a crime, has the potential to make our already racially biased justice system even more problematic.
Designer Babies in Popular Cultureby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 21st, 2012The Whitest Kids U’Know’s comedic parody of genetic counseling is reminiscent of a similar scene in GATTACA.
Payments for Victims of Eugenics Are Shelvedby Kim SeversonThe New York TimesJune 20th, 2012North Carolina’s effort to compensate people who were sterilized under a widespread eugenics program that stretched into the 1970s all but died in the State Senate on Wednesday.
When California Decided Who Could Have Children and Who Could Notby Jeremy RosenbergLos Angeles TimesJune 18th, 2012California's "Asexualization Act" of 1909 gave the go-ahead for the state to sterilize more than 20,000 men and women against their will.
Genetic Purity Tests for Politiciansby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 14th, 2012A Hungarian member of parliament has a certificate stating that his genetic ancestry is neither Jewish nor Roma, which set off a storm of protest.
Genome Test Slammed for Assessing ‘Racial Purity’by Alison AbbottNatureJune 12th, 2012Hungary’s Medical Research Council has asked public prosecutors to investigate a genetic-diagnostic company that certified that a member of parliament did not have Roma or Jewish heritage.
Ancestry Testing Goes for Pinpoint Accuracyby Ewen CallawayNatureJune 6th, 2012Commercial ancestry testing is now taking advantage of whole-genome scans, providing more accuracy, though a still imperfect picture of geographical origins.
Race Under the Microscope: A New Video by the Center for Genetics and Societyby Emily BeitiksBiopolitical TimesMay 31st, 2012A new video by the Center for Genetics and Society explores how genetic research and its commercial by-products are reviving harmful and false assumptions about race.
DNA Study Seeks Origin of Appalachia's Melungeonsby Travis LollerAssociated PressMay 24th, 2012Varied claims have been made about the origins of a group of dark-skinned Appalachian residents. Some thought they originally came from Portugal, but a new DNA study shows a different story.
Race Under the Microscope: Biological Misunderstandings of Raceby Center for Genetics and SocietyMay 24th, 2012A CGS video explains how new genetic technologies are reviving old myths about biological race and perpetuating social inequality.
Eggs From a Different Perspectiveby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesMay 17th, 2012Mainstream coverage of egg freezing fails to bring a diversity of perspectives into the conversation.
NC Bill Supports Compensation for Eugenics Victimsby Martha WagoonerNew ObserverMay 16th, 2012Victims of North Carolina's decades-long forced sterilization program would receive $50,000 each under a bill filed Wednesday that would make the state the first to compensate people who lost their child-bearing abilities under the once-common practice.
Island's Genetic Quirk: Dark Skin, Blond Hairby Sindyan N. BhanooNew York TimesMay 3rd, 2012A new scientific finding in the Solomon Islands helps problematize the notion of biological race.
$10.3 Million for Eugenics Compensation by Herbert L. WhiteCharlotte PostApril 25th, 2012North Caroliona Governor Bev Perdue’s proposed budget will include $10.3 million for people involuntarily sterilized by the state.
North Carolina Leads the Way in Compensation for Eugenic Sterilization Victimsby Emily BeitiksBiopolitical TimesMarch 22nd, 2012Will North Carolina’s efforts to compensate victims of eugenic sterilization encourage other states to follow suit?
California's Dark Legacy of Forced Sterilizationsby Elizabeth Cohen and John BonifieldCNNMarch 15th, 2012North Carolina's recent confrontation with its eugenic history raises the question: Will California move to confront its own eugenic history?
Payment Set for Those Sterilized in Programby Kim SeversonNew York TimesJanuary 11th, 2012The task force assigned the difficult task of deciding how much to compensate the victims of a North Carolina sterilization program settled on a number on Tuesday.
Gov. Cuomo Plan Pushes DNA Samples from All People Convicted of a Crime in New York State of State initiative would add DNA from all misdemeanors to databaseby Glenn BlainNew York Daily NewsJanuary 8th, 2012In his State of the State Address Wednesday, Gov. Cuomo called for a vast expansion of the state’s DNA database to include samples from persons convicted of “all crimes,” including misdemeanors.
Republican Bill Exploits Concerns about Sexism and Racism to Undermine Abortion Rightsby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesDecember 15th, 2011Opponents of abortion rights are deploying a disingenuous tactic – claiming deep concern about sex selection and abortions purportedly based on race – to promote their cause.
Thousands Sterilized, a State Weighs Restitutionby Kim SeversonNew York TimesDecember 9th, 2011A task force is calculating North Carolina's obligation to the estimated 7600 victims of its eugenics program from 1933 to 1977, but the issues go deeper than just a dollar amount.
How to Use $90? Buy a Gene Ring, or Burn for Warmth?by Doug PetBiopolitical TimesDecember 8th, 2011ConnectMyDNA is marketing the “Gene Ring,” which it baselessly claims can reveal your genetic compatibility to other Gene Ring purchasers, and your ties to foreign countries.
Bill Would Ban Abortions Based on Sex or Raceby David Crary, Associated Press National WriterABC NewsDecember 6th, 2011House Republicans sponsor a bill to ban abortions based on sex, race; critics call it ploy to undermine broader rights.
Francis Galton's Novel about Eugenicsby Michael MarshallNew ScientistDecember 5th, 2011The unpublished novel of eugenicist Francis Galton has been published in fragments by the University College London on the 100th anniversary of his death.
Dystopian "In Time" and Inequalities in Our Timeby Emily BeitiksBiopolitical TimesDecember 1st, 2011The dystopian future of Andrew Niccol's new film, In Time, resonates with current inequalities.
Eggs From Young Asian Women In High DemandCBS San FranciscoNovember 14th, 2011Infertile Asian couples seeking eggs for IVF are finding few young Asian women who are willing to donate. In response, some couples are willing to pay as much as $100,000 for the perfect egg.
The Life Penalty: Sterilizing Californiaby Kris PickelCBS SacramentoNovember 10th, 2011From 1909 to 1964, California laws not only allowed for, but also expanded, the practice of sterilization, where people were forced to undergo the procedure for a wide range of reasons.
Eugenics Past And Present, Driven By Race, Class, Economicsby M.B. ReillyEurasia ReviewNovember 10th, 2011Historian Wendy Kline finds that eugenics is not a concept confined to past decades, nor to locales outside the United States.
Why Do We Care About Our Ancestors?The rise of genetic testing has made genealogy more popular than ever -- and transformed our concept of identity.by Eviatar ZerubavelSalonNovember 7th, 2011The rise of genetic testing has made genealogy more popular than ever - and transformed our concept of identity. What we now need is a sociological understanding of ancestry and descent.
Victims speak out about North Carolina sterilization program, which targeted women, young girls and blacksby Michelle Kessel and Jessica HopperRock CenterNovember 7th, 2011Victims of eugenic sterilization speak out in North Carolina, where they have yet to receive compensation, medical care or counseling from the state.
Bitter Fight to Determine Who Is an American Indian Turns to DNA Testingby James TaylorIndian Country Today Media NetworkOctober 13th, 2011For political and economic reasons, many Indian tribes are turning to DNA tests to determine tribal criteria, raising many concerns.
DNA Forensics: Setting the (Fool’s) Gold Standardby Doug PetBiopolitical TimesOctober 13th, 2011Emerging DNA forensic techniques require urgent scientific and legal scrutiny.
All That Glitters Isn’t Goldby Osagie K. Obasogie and Troy DusterThe Hastings Center ReportOctober 12th, 2011Expanded uses of DNA forensics suggest new ethical, legal, and social implications, but the National Research Council’s 2009 report obscured these concerns.
Kaufman on Scientists’ Complicity in Media Misrepresentations of the Relationship Between Race, Genetics, and Health Disparitiesby Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesOctober 7th, 2011A McGill epidemiologist draws attention to what seems like a peculiar situation concerning science reporting on the relationship between race, genetics, and health disparities.
Celebrating Dorothy Roberts and Fatal Inventionby Doug PetBiopolitical TimesOctober 6th, 2011The Center for Genetics and Society co-sponsored two events celebrating Dorothy Roberts' new book, Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-Create Race in the Twenty-First Century.
Do Health and Forensic DNA Databases Increase Racial Disparities?by Peter A Chow-White and Troy DusterPLOS MedicineOctober 4th, 2011The issue of the "digital divide" is a growing concern in health and forensic DNA databases, reflecting structural disparities in biomedical research and policing inseparable from racial disparities.
Racial Disparities in Funding At NIHby Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesSeptember 22nd, 2011Mountains of evidence have shown that racial disparities are prevalent across the health sciences landscape. But new research shows that these disparities do not simply concern traditional issues such as relative rates of asthma or diabetes in certain populations, but also the funding mechanisms used to support scientific research.
Dorothy Roberts book presentation [video]Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century Co-sponsored by Center for Genetics and Society and Generations Ahead Tuesday, September 20, 2011 | Berkeley, CA
NIH Uncovers Racial Disparity in Grant Awardsby Jocelyn KaiserScienceAugust 19th, 2011An analysis of grant data from the National Institutes of Health found significant disparities in funding granted to black Ph.D. scientists and their white counterparts.
New Book on the Biopolitics of Raceby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesAugust 18th, 2011Dorothy Roberts' new book meets an urgent need: encouraging greater thought and public discussion on what new genetic technologies mean for society’s understanding of racial difference and its commitment to racial justice.
Eugenics Victim, Son Fighting Together for Justiceby Allen G. BreedABC NewsAugust 15th, 2011Eugenics victim and son see long struggle for justice and recompense on verge of bearing fruit.
DNA: Law requiring arrestees' samples struck downby Bob EgelkoSan Francisco ChronicleAugust 5th, 2011A California appeals court has struck down a voter-approved law requiring police to collect DNA samples from anyone arrested for a felony.
Race and bio-patents don't mixby Doug PetBiopolitical TimesAugust 3rd, 2011The Washington Post ran a piece drawing heavily on Jonathan Kahn's recent work, which examines how US patent procedure is forcing race into genetic and medical research.
Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines on Outsourcing Clinical Trialsby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesJuly 19th, 2011Fault Lines’ Zeina Awad offers a compelling inside look into the questionable business of using vulnerable populations from the developing world to test drugs that will not benefit them and will largely be consumed by Westerners.
Genetic Basis for Crime: A New Lookby Patricia CohenNew York TimesJune 19th, 2011Less than 20 years ago the National Institutes of Health abruptly withdrew funds for a conference on genetics and crime after outraged complaints that the idea smacked of eugenics. Now criminologists are cautiously returning to the subject.
UK Drops DNA Tests For Refugees And Asylum Seekers[United Kingdom]National Public RadioJune 17th, 2011Britain has dropped a policy of using DNA tests to identify the nationality of African refugees and asylum seekers after criticism that there is no scientific merit to the practice.
Honorary Degree For Henrietta Lacksby Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesJune 9th, 2011One of the most interesting ways in which Lacks has been recognized is the granting of a posthumous honorary degree (doctorate of public service) by Morgan State University
Rights watchdog calls for halt to DNA testing[Canada]CBC NewsMay 25th, 2011Canada's civil liberties watchdog is calling on investigators in a murder investigation to immediately stop voluntary DNA sampling, calling the practice coercive.
Annals of Human Genetics Does A Little “House Cleaning.” Sort Of.by Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesMay 19th, 2011In a former incarnation, a well-respected scholarly journal promoted eugenics. It has now put its archives online.
New Book on Race and Geneticsby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesMay 12th, 2011Science writer Alondra Oubré has just published an ambitious new book entitled Race, Genes, and Ability: Rethinking Ethnic Differences.
Racial Labels Have Limited Use In Personalizing Medicineby Eliza BarclayNPR BlogMay 9th, 2011A recent study suggests that using race as a stand-in for truly personalized genetic information may not work.
Hijacking Human Rights in Latin Americaby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorMay 3rd, 2011Prominent Catholic politicians and scholars are using human rights discourse to strengthen a transnational initiative to restrict reproductive rights.
Black Saltby Osagie K. ObasogieSlateApril 18th, 2011Should the government single out African-Americans for low-sodium diets?
Behind the New Arizona Abortion Ban by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesApril 7th, 2011The Arizona law that bans abortion for reasons of sex or race is part of a larger strategy to undermine abortion rights.
Brewer signs bill to ban race- and sex-selection abortions[Arizona]by Tessa MuggeridgeThe Tucson SentinelMarch 31st, 2011The Republican governor has signed into law a bill making Arizona the first state to ban abortions based on the race of a fetus and one of the few to ban abortions based on sex.
Here We Go Again: Why is the FDA Reifying Race as Genetic?by Jonathan Kahn, Biopolitical Times Guest ContributorMarch 17th, 2011If the FDA wants data on genes relevant to drug metabolism, then it should focus on the genes, not on race.
Past medical testing on humans revealedby Mike StobbeThe Washington PostFebruary 27th, 2011Much of this horrific history is 40 to 80 years old, but it is the backdrop for a meeting in Washington this week by a presidential bioethics commission.
State wants to collect your DNA on arrest, not convictionby Chris SullivanMyNorthwest.comFebruary 2nd, 2011There's a push in Washington state to start the collection process much earlier.
Clinical trials on trial[Commentary]by Osagie ObasogieThe New ScientistJanuary 22nd, 2011Vulnerable people are increasingly targeted as subjects for clinical research. Have we forgotten the lessons of past abuses?
A Mississippi prison sentence: 16 years and a kidneyby Doug PetJanuary 6th, 2011The governor of Mississippi releases imprisoned sisters under the condition one agrees to donate a kidney to the other.
Whodunit? by Jessica CerretaniBoston GlobeOctober 29th, 2010Family members' DNA may lead investigators to the answers, but using it as a forensic technique brings up some troubling questions.
Democrats and DNA Databases by Osagie K. ObasogieThe Huffington PostSeptember 24th, 2010A new bill means that the federal government would pay states to engage in a practice that will likely lead innocent people's DNA to be stored alongside convicted criminals.
Helmet, Jersey, Shoulder Pads…Gene Test? by Doug PetSeptember 23rd, 2010The Washington Post reports on a controversial new policy to test athletes for sickle-cell genes.
Sickle cell testing of athletes stirs discrimination fearsby Rob SteinWashington Post September 20th, 2010U.S. universities for the first time are requiring student athletes to submit to testing for sickle cell trait.
Africans have 'child rape gene': Sweden Democratby Peter Vinthagen SimpsonThe LocalSeptember 3rd, 2010A local Sweden Democrat politician, Per T K Wahlberg, claims that black Africans are genetically programmed to rape children.
'Jewish gene' theories make waves in Germany, go unnoticed in Israelby Akiva EldarHaaretzAugust 31st, 2010German politician Thilo Sarrazin and the Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai both believe in 'Jewish genes,' but only Sarrazin is castigated for his belief.
Familial Searching Hits The Spotlightby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesJuly 14th, 2010Controversial familial searches in forensic DNA databases helped lead to the arrest of a serial killer known as the ‘Grim Sleeper.’
"Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated"Race and Genetics Ten Years After the Human Genome Projectby Osagie K. ObasogieThe Huffington PostJune 18th, 2010Instead of closing the door on the historically misleading notion of race-as-biology, the ten-year-old Human Genome Project has drawn new attention toward biology's role in racial categories.
ASHG Takes on Genetic Ancestry Testsby Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesJune 9th, 2010A new white paper by the American Society of Human Genetics raises questions about genetic ancestry tests.
The Crime Spree Continues? by Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesJune 2nd, 2010Despite huge fines levied against Big Pharma, it looks like the criminal behavior of promoting the off-label use of drugs has continued.
Race, Genetics, and Law School Emailsby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesMay 9th, 2010The blogosphere was recently set ablaze by a leaked email from a third year Harvard Law student who, after a dinner with friends, wrote to clarify his/her position on race, genetics, and intelligence.
When Cultures Collideby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 28th, 2010The lawsuit brought by 41 members of the Havasupai Indian tribe against Arizona State University has implications that go far beyond last week's settlement.
An Obituary for the First Race-Specific Drugby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesApril 28th, 2010What’s interesting is that the Minnesota Daily’s BiDil obituary doesn’t necessarily blame high prices or issues of bioequivalence as the cause for the drug’s failure. Rather, it points directly to the issues of race and political correctness.
Kids With Rare Condition Lack Racial Prejudiceby Robert PreidtHealthDay News / Business WeekApril 13th, 2010Children with Williams syndrome have no social fear and appear open, friendly to all, researchers say.
When Scientists Pick a Fight with the Law by Osagie K. ObasogieScience ProgressApril 7th, 2010Researchers are calling for the FBI to allow independent scientists to look under the hood of their sizable DNA forensics database.
Patricia Williams on DNA Databasesby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesApril 6th, 2010In her latest column for The Nation, Columbia Law Professor Patricia Williams offers an insightful critique of a burgeoning law enforcement practice: taking and retaining DNA samples from individuals arrested for a crime regardless of whether they are ever charged or convicted.
Race-related controversy causes drug flopby Tara BannowThe Minnesota DailyMarch 9th, 2010BiDil was approved by the FDA in 2005 to treat heart failure but has since been withdrawn from the market.
Obasogie and Jesudason at "Transforming Race"by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesMarch 2nd, 2010Next week, Osagie Obasogie and Sujatha Jesudason will speak at Transforming Race: Crisis and Opportunity in the age of Obama in Columbus, Ohio.
Two New Publications from Generations Aheadby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesDecember 22nd, 2009Reports from convenings on DNA forensics and communities of color, and on discussions among disability rights and reproductive rights and justice advocates.
Enhancement: From Steroids to Skin Toneby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesDecember 5th, 2009As during the 1998 baseball season, when Mark McGwire is in the news, Sammy Sosa isn’t far behind. And neither are troubling questions about enhancement. Sosa shocked many a few weeks ago by appearing at the Latin Grammys with dramatically lighter skin.
From schoolboy squabble to DNA database in one easy step - if you're blackby Fiona HamiltonThe Times (UK)November 24th, 2009A report by the UK Human Genetics Commission states that over three quarters of black men aged between 18 and 35 have their DNA profiles posted on the national database.
ACLU Challenges California Prop. 69 by Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesOctober 16th, 2009Prop. 69’s arrestee provision marks a radical expansion of the government’s power to indefinitely retain intimate information about citizens – many of whom may have done nothing more than be accused of committing a crime.
Experts condemn asylum DNA tests BBC NewsSeptember 30th, 2009Leading scientists have criticised as "naive" and scientifically flawed DNA tests for asylum seekers to establish where they come from.
It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Fails a DNA Ancestry Testby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesSeptember 30th, 2009Officials in the United Kingdom have launched the Human Provenance Pilot Project in an attempt to use genetic technologies to determine the nationality of asylum seekers.
Race and Assisted Reproductionby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesAugust 31st, 2009Third Year Yale Law Student Dov Fox has recently published an interesting article in the Yale Law Journal on the use of racial classifications in assisted reproduction.
Catherine Elton on medical "racial profiling"by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesAugust 28th, 2009Time magazine examines how researchers - and their critics - think about race, genes, and medical outcomes.
Why Racial Profiling Persists in Medical Researchby Catherine EltonTimeAugust 22nd, 2009Experts say a stubborn streak of racial profiling persists in the medical literature, in studies that attribute health disparities between blacks and whites to genetic differences between the races.
Pfizer Settles Trovan Suit. Partially. by Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesAugust 10th, 2009There seems to have been at least a partial resolution in Nigeria’s lawsuit against Pfizer for running ethically questionable clinical trials during a meningitis epidemic.
Government Oversight of Genetic Ancestry Testsby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesJuly 14th, 2009In a recent Science Policy Forum, five leading scholars make a reasoned argument for broader federal oversight of direct-to-consumer genetic ancestry tests.
Return of the race myth?by Osagie K. ObasogieNew ScientistJuly 1st, 2009Given our unfortunate history of linking biological understandings of race to racial hierarchy, new technologies may revive old theories of race.
The Color of Our GenesBalancing the Promise and Risks of Racial Categories in Human Biotechnologyby Osagie ObasogieScience ProgressJune 15th, 2009Advances in genomics may yield profound medical, scientific, and social advances. But if we are not careful, commercial and forensic applications may resuscitate harmful ideas about race.
Biocriminology: Genetic links in a criminal chainby Peter MonaghanThe Chronicle of Higher EducationJune 10th, 2009Recent discoveries in genetics and neurology have prompted a new focus on biology in social sciences, including criminology
"What color is the baby?" Green?by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesMay 13th, 2009Race has a remarkable impact on media coverage of accidental switches of gametes or embryos in fertility clinics.
Study: Africans More Genetically Diverse Than Rest of Worldby Joel AchenbachWashington PostApril 30th, 2009Africans are more diverse genetically than the inhabitants of the rest of the world combined, raising questions about accuracy of ancestral tracing for African-Americans
F.B.I. and States Vastly Expand DNA Databasesby Solomon MooreNew York TimesApril 18th, 2009Law enforcement officials are vastly expanding their collection of DNA to include millions more people who have been arrested or detained but not yet convicted,
A New Look at Race and Natural Selection by Nicholas WadeNew York TimesApril 2nd, 2009A team of geneticists has identified many fingerprints of natural selection in the human genome
Osagie Obasogie on the Jeff Farias Show [MP3 audio]by Jeff FariasThe Jeff Farias ShowMarch 10th, 2009A discussion about race and human biotechnology on a talk radio program
"Racial alchemy" - for real?by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesFebruary 26th, 2009Until now, hypothetical discussions of embryo screening for eye and skin color have seemed distant.
Africans’ DNA could be abusedby Bobby JordanThe Times (South Africa)February 14th, 2009South African researchers and traditional leaders fear US scientists will soon start patenting the genes of local ethnic groups, many of whom have donated blood samples as part of a worldwide genome-mapping project.
Playing the Gene Card? A Report on Race and Human Biotechnologyby Osagie ObasogieAn ever-increasing number of DNA-based products are being promoted and sold. While many have important benefits, "Playing the Gene Card?" focuses on three that pose particular risks for African American and other minority communities.
Embryo screening for "complexion" advertised by controversial fertility clinicIVF octuplets and abuses of embryo screening highlight need for oversightFebruary 12th, 2009A new ad on a fertility clinic’s website offers a procedure to select the complexion - as well as the sex, eye color and hair color - of future children.
Custom-Designed Kids: How Darwin's Legacy Is Being Abusedby Jesse ReynoldsAlterNetFebruary 12th, 2009Two contentious conversations about genes and society continue to haunt America.
Could genetic technologies set back efforts toward racial justice?January 28th, 2009New and emerging genetic technologies may be hindering efforts towards racial justice, according to a new report issued by the Center for Genetics and Society, a public interest group.
[Turkey] CHP deputy insists on DNA tests for presidentHurriyet Daily NewsDecember 24th, 2008A Turkish opposition deputy MP demanded that the president take a genetic test to prove his true Turkish ancestry.
The Race Card in Michiganby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesNovember 3rd, 2008Opponents of Proposal 2 tend to view embryos as an early form of human life and therefore see embryonic stem cell research as unethical human experimentation. To bolster their moral claim regarding the use of vulnerable subjects in scientific research, they are now comparing embryonic stem cell research to the Tuskegee experiment.
NitroMed Sells Off Its Only Product, a Controversial Heart Pill for African Americansby Rebecca ZacksXconomyOctober 23rd, 2008Nine months after slashing its staff and discontinuing marketing of its only marketed product - a heart-failure drug approved specifically for African Americans - NitroMed is selling all the assets related to the pill.
How the (Not so) Mighty Have Fallenby Osagie Obasogie Biopolitical TimesOctober 2nd, 2008Just three years ago, NitroMed (makers of BiDil, the first FDA-approved race specific medicine) was heralded as a promising pharmaceutical company with a business model for BiDil that led some analysts to predict sales of between $500 million and $1 billion by 2010. Yet, BiDil’s fortunes have swung drastically in the other direction
Beyond Best Practices [PDF]Strict Scrutiny as a Regulatory Model for Race-Specific Medicinesby Osagie K. ObasogieJournal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics (Fall 2008)Given the vigorous and unsettled debate concerning the genetic relevance of race, the state has a strong interest in approving the use of race-specific indications only when they are used cautiously, are supported by robust scientific studies, and are not simply used as a convenient proxy.
The Ethics of Characterizing Difference: Guiding Principles on Using Racial Categories in Human Geneticsby Sandra Soo-Jin Lee et. al. Genome BiologyJuly 15th, 2008A multidisciplinary group of Stanford University faculty members propose ten principles to guide the use of racial and ethnic categories when characterizing group differences in research into human genetic variation.
Gene of the Week: American Exceptionalismby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesJune 20th, 2008Conservative pundit Michael Medved recently offered a genetic antidote to white guilt.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. Interviews James Watsonby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesJune 9th, 2008Race scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., who has filmed two documentaries on race, genetics, and ancestry while also founding a DNA ancestry company, was troubled by Watson’s seemingly pernicious use of race and genetics....This led Gates to interview Watson to, in a sense, determine whether he’s a bigot.
Conceiving the Future [PDF]Reproductive-justice activists on technology and policyby Andi Zeisler and Emily GalpernBitchJune 6th, 2008Emerging reproductive and genetic technologies have raised critical issues for social-justice movements. This roundtable discussion features some of the women who've been engaged in these national conversations.
Race-specific drugs: regulatory trends and public policyby David E. Winickoff and Osagie K. ObasogieTrends in Pharmacological SciencesJune 4th, 2008The need for new regulatory approaches to medicines with race-specific indications is growing more acute.
Heart Drug's Racial Focus Proves a Liability Rather Than an Assetby Angela StewartThe Star-LedgerMay 31st, 2008After three years on the market, BiDil has failed to live up to predictions by analysts of $100 million in annual sales. Some would even argue it has been a flop.
House Approves Genetic Test Law [MP3]by Jamie Brooks, Neil Trautwein, and Farai ChideyaNPR News and NotesMay 6th, 2008NPR's News and Notes takes a closer look at the genetic discrimination bill with CGS's Jamie Brooks and health lobbyist Neil Trautwein.
Washington Post on DNA Forensicsby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesApril 22nd, 2008The Washington Post takes a serious look at the social and legal implications of DNA forensics.
Geneticizing Disease: Implications for Racial Health DisparitiesApril 22nd, 2008Please join Generations Ahead and the Center for American Progress for a special presentation in Berkeley, California
US set to swell its criminal DNA databaseby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesApril 17th, 2008The federal government will soon start collecting DNA samples from millions of innocent people.
The Religious Right: Pronatalist? Only if you are white.by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesFebruary 26th, 2008Christian conservatives are looking abroad, warning that Europe faces the prospect of a "demographic winter" due to declining fertility among native Europeans and higher rates among immigrants.
“Roots in a Test Tube” by Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesFebruary 7th, 2008On the heels of the acclaimed 2006 PBS series African-American Lives – where Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates Jr. uses genetic ancestry testing to trace several prominent Blacks’ genealogies – comes the second installment, African-American Lives 2.
700 and Countingby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesJanuary 22nd, 2008Is PhRMA laying the foundation for race specificity to become the fallback plan whenever a drug's FDA approval for the general population falters?
Blaming Your Genes for Your Health Problems? Not so Fast.by Jamie D. Brooks and Meredith L. KingAlternet.orgJanuary 18th, 2008Problems arise when race as a social reality and race as a scientific "fact" are conflated in medical research.
NitroMed Halts Marketing of Drugby David ArmstrongWall Street JournalJanuary 16th, 2008NitroMed Inc. is shutting down its effort to market and sell BiDil, the first drug approved for use in a single racial group.
Geneticizing Disease [PDF]Implications for Racial Health Disparities by Jamie D. Brooks and Meredith L. KingJanuary 15th, 2008This joint report by the Center for American Progress and the Center for Genetics and Society examines the mainstream media's focus on genetic links to disease and health disparities and recent attempts to racialize those genetic links. Detailed in the report are the implications of this trend and a refocusing of the discussion on racial health disparities on the social determinants that impact disparities in the United States.
60 Minutes on Ancestry Testing by Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesJanuary 8th, 2008In a good piece of investigative journalism, 60 Minutes’ Leslie Stahl recently reviewed a burgeoning cottage industry: genetic ancestry testing
2007 in Review: Scientific Racism ReduxGenetic CrossroadsDecember 21st, 2007Scientific racism - the idea that racial disparities in social outcomes can be explained by biological or genetic traits - made a striking comeback this past year.
A New DNA Test Can ID a Suspect's Race, But Police Won't Touch Itby Melba NewsomeWiredDecember 20th, 2007DNAWitness touches on race and racial profiling — a subject with such a tortured history that people can't countenance the existence of the technology, even if they don't understand how it works.
When You Play With Dirt, You Get Dirty by Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesDecember 13th, 2007Slate’s Will Saletan has backed himself into a corner by coming to the defense of James Watson – the eccentric DNA pioneer who found himself pontificating on how Blacks’ separate evolutionary patterns conferred certain genes that depress their intellects.
Watson's Dark Visionby Marcy DarnovskyPhiladelphia InquirerNovember 5th, 2007Perhaps Watson's most important legacy will turn out to be as a counter-example: a demonstration of what not to do in order to use science for the good of humanity.
Genetic Driftby Ziba KashefColorlines (Sept / Oct 2007)October 23rd, 2007The study of human genes has resurged a debate about the nature of race, with dangerous consequences for criminal justice.
Fury at DNA Pioneer's TheoryAfricans are less intelligent than Westernersby Cahal MilmoThe Independent (UK)October 17th, 2007Celebrated scientist attacked for race comments: "All our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - whereas all the testing says not really"
First One in the Pool...by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesOctober 17th, 2007The point, of course, is that in fact not everybody is equally represented in the DNA databases that are rapidly expanding in the United States as well as the UK.
Good Reporting on Race, Genes, and Health Outcomesby Osagie Obasogie Biopolitical TimesOctober 5th, 2007We are deeply concerned by how the media discusses racial disparities in health and the growing tendency to reduce disparate health outcomes to presumed yet unverified genetic differences between races. That’s why it’s important to point out when journalists show a healthy amount of skepticism about such claims.
Exoneration Using DNA Brings Change in Legal Systemby SOLOMON MOORENew York TimesOctober 1st, 2007State lawmakers across the country are adopting broad changes to criminal justice procedures as a response to the exoneration of more than 200 convicts through the use of DNA evidence.
ColorLines Features Race and Biotechby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesSeptember 24th, 2007Three terrific articles in "the national newsmagazine on race and politics."
Women’s Mags Do Surrogacyby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesSeptember 20th, 2007Two massive-circulation women’s lifestyle magazines – Glamour and Marie Claire – featured articles about contract pregnancy in their August issues.
The Rebirth of a Nation?by Osagie K. ObasogieColorlines (Sept / Oct 2007)September 19th, 2007300 is arguably the most racially charged movie since D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation. Closer inspection reveals a subtler, yet similarly troubling idea that has gone largely unnoticed: 300's unapologetic glorification of eugenics.
Everybody into the Poolby Jamie D. BrooksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 10th, 2007It’s been confirmed: Collecting arrestees’ DNA – as opposed to those convicted of serious violent crimes – exacerbates the racism inherent in criminal justice systems. And how should we combat this? “Collect the DNA of everyone in the U.K.,” says Lord Justice Sedley, one of England’s most experienced appeal court judges.
Racial Alchemyby Osagie K. ObasogieNew ScientistAugust 18th, 2007Of all the genetically determined traits that we might one day hope to control, skin colour is surely one of the most politically explosive.
Hypertension: What Oprah Doesn't Knowby Osagie K. ObasogieLos Angeles Times May 31st, 2007Though well-intentioned, Oprah Winfrey last month effectively lent her credibility, star power and billion-dollar brand to a dubious theory known as the "slavery hypothesis."
Racial AlchemyBioethics and the Skin Tone Geneby Osagie K. ObasogieBioethics Forum May 18th, 2007Scientists have become increasingly intrigued by the possibility of genetically manipulating skin color. Curiously, however, this research is going on with little mention of the dreaded “R” word: race.
Race, genes, and illnessby Sally LehrmanBoston GlobeApril 20th, 2007More and more, researchers are holding out the hope that genetic differences may finally explain a good part of the troubling health disparities among races.
A Darker Shade of Paleby Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesApril 18th, 2007Don Imus' slanderous comments and the Duke lacrosse players' dropped rape charges have moved race back into America's consciousness. But another case that may very well come to represent the future of racial conflict is quietly making its way through the New York State Supreme Court.
Prisons as BioRepositories: The Racial Impact of Using Prisoners in Clinical Trials [PDF]by Osagie K. ObasogieMarch 31st, 2007Presentation at "The Business of Race and Science Conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology," Cambridge, MA
At a Harlem Reunion, a Rancher From Missouri Meets His ‘DNA Cousins’by Corey KilgannonNew York TimesMarch 15th, 2007As genetic testing for ethnicity and ancestry has become more available to the public, more Americans are seeking information on their lineage. And many are confronting surprises in family background, racial makeup and newfound relatives.
Study Points to Genetics in Disparities in Preterm Birthsby Nicholas Bakalar New York TimesFebruary 27th, 2007Black women have significantly higher rates of premature birth than white women, and a new study suggests there may be underlying genetic factors even when other known risks are taken into account.
Year in Review: Race and medicine: Bedfellows again? (Part 2 of 5)Genetic CrossroadsDecember 14th, 2006This past spring, a small U.S. company called GenSpec launched a targeted advertising campaign for racially specific multi-vitamins and weight loss pills in publications including Sports Illustrated Latino, Hispanic, Latina, Ebony, Black Enterprise and Jet.
New York Times on Biocolonialismby Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesDecember 11th, 2006Check out this fascinating front page article in Sunday’s New York Times looking at the tensions between indigenous communities and scientists trying to use their genetic materials to map ancient migration patterns and gather information on other aspects of human history.
Genetics and Justice: Summary of Dialogue [PDF] Implications of New Reproductive and Genetic Technologies for Women of Color November 29th, 2006On November 29th in Los Angeles, health and social justice advocates came together for a dynamic conversation on the implications of new genetic and reproductive technologies for women of color.
Genetics and JusticeImplications of new genetic and reproductive technologiesNovember 29th, 2006A dialogue about cutting-edge issues for women of color who advocate for health and social justice issues in Los Angeles
Toward Fair Cures: Health Disparities and Stem Cell ResearchGenetic CrossroadsNovember 15th, 2006Toward Fair Cures: Integrating the Benefits of Diversity in the California Stem Cell Research Act was a first-of-its-kind conference on minority health disparities and stem cell research.
Building Movements [PDF]Disability, Race, Gender, Sexuality and Genetic Technologiesby Sujatha JesudasonNovember 9th, 2006Presentation at the Conference on Representing Disability: Theory, Policy, Practice, Haverford College
Slooooooow Sales for BiDil®by Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesOctober 18th, 2006Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that sales for BiDil® - the first drug to receive FDA approval to treat a specific race - are unexpectedly slow. There’s no shortage of explanations for why Black people are about as unlikely to take BiDil® as they are to name a newborn child Katrina.
When is the Racial Pharmacy Bad Medicine?by Osagie Obasogie and David WinickoffBioethics ForumJuly 19th, 2006"The central concern here is as much about how people think about race and racial disparities as it is about particular health outcomes."
Program on Gender, Justice, and Human Genetics [PDF]July 13th, 2006A one-page overview of CGS's Program on Gender, Justice, and Human Genetics.
Strict Scrutiny and the FDA: A Model Form of Race Regulation or a Recipe for Disaster? [PDF]by Osagie K. ObasogieApril 7th, 2006Presentation at "The Conference on Race, Pharmaceuticals, and Medical Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology," Cambridge, MA
Deep Roots and Tangled Branchesby Troy DusterChronicle of Higher EducationThat is the case among the prominent subjects featured in "African American Lives," a two-night, four-part PBS series scheduled for February 1 and 8. The host and executive co-producer is Henry Louis Gates Jr., chairman of the department of African and African-American studies at Harvard. Gates has assembled eight notably successful African-Americans, among them the media entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey, the legendary music producer Quincy Jones, and the film star Whoopi Goldberg. Each participant, along with Gates, is the subject of some serious professional family-tree tracing. There are surprises for each of them, and the series has undeniable human-interest appeal.
The Color of Stem CellsWhy the benefits of stem cell research might not be for people like me.by Josef TayagThe Greenlining InstituteSeptember 9th, 2005The health policy associate at the Greenlining Institute questions to distribution of the benefits of California's Proposition 71.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Backby Osagie ObasogieSan Francisco ChronicleJuly 5th, 2005NitroMed's BiDil recently received FDA approval as the first drug targeted exclusively for a racial group. Does this make sense? Is this good science? BiDil has been met with both celebration and admonition. At the same time, accusations of racial opportunism are flying left and right.
Center for Genetics and Society Identifies Two Eugenic Threats to Communities of Colorby Yaminah AhmadCollective Voices
Race and Reification in Scienceby Troy DusterScienceFebruary 18th, 2005The use of the concept of race in pharmacogenomics, forensics, and human molecular genetics continues apace, despite the imprecision of the category and the growing number of voices suggesting caution, and even a "sunset clause" for its continued deployment. The new technologies that can generate SNP patterns and profiles for any population have created an ever growing risk that racial categories will be mistakenly re-inscribed as "genetic." The author urges geneticists to counter this problem actively by the way they report their findings
Race and the Biotech AgendaPresentation at the Symposium, "The Next Four Years, the Biotech Agenda, the Human Future: What Direction for Liberals and Progressives?"by Dorothy RobertsDecember 9th, 2004This is the text of Dr. Roberts' presentation at the Symposium, "The Next Four Years, the Biotech Agenda, the Human Future: What Direction for Liberals and Progressives?" held in New York.
Report from the Gender and Justice in the Gene Age ConferenceGenetic CrossroadsJuly 9th, 2004
The Ghost of Medical AtrocitiesWhat's Next, After the Unveiling?by Howard Markel, M.D.New York TimesDecember 12th, 2003Since Tuskegee, several disturbing instances have come to light. In those cases, scientists, physicians and the government-sanctioned research or treatments that we would today consider unethical, like trials of untested vaccines or medications on mentally retarded children and prisoners. Increasingly, public apologies have been made to smooth over these clinical transgressions. Yet the doctor in me wonders whether these gestures will cure what ails us.
Race, Gender and Justice in the Gene Age background materialsNovember 13th, 2003Background materials on race, gender, and justice in the gene age, distributed at SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights National Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, November 13-16, 2003
A New Racismby Nadine GordimerWorld WatchJune 30th, 2002
World Conference on Racism Addresses Human Genetic EngineeringGenetic CrossroadsOctober 3rd, 2001
Genism, Racism, and the Prospect of Genetic GenocidePrepared for presentation at UNESCO 21st Century Talks: The New Aspects of Racism in the Age of Globalization and the Gene Revolution at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Durban, South Africaby George J. Annas
Scientists, Activists, and Biotech Execs Debate Human Genetic Modification at State of the World ForumGenetic CrossroadsOctober 16th, 2000
Race and the New Reproduction (Chapter 6 of Killing the Black Body)by Dorothy RobertsKilling the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty (New York; Pantheon, 1997)

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