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About California Policies & Human Biotechnology


California has been a pioneer in several aspects of policy on new biotechnologies, most notably with the passage in 2004 of Proposition 71, which established the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and authorized to distribute and oversee $3 billion in public funds to support stem cell research and build research facilities over ten years.

The CIRM has been closely watched by other states and countries. It launched two experiments: the first an experiment in biomedical investigation; the second in its politics and policy. Never before has a state so generously funded an emerging scientific field. And never before has a state been faced with regulating and overseeing a field that combines promising medical research with significant social risks.

Before that, the California Advisory Committee on Human Cloning issued a report that led to a state ban on reproductive cloning. In 2003, a state agency blocked the sale of genetically modified fish as pets. In 2006, the state legislature passed a law providing protections for women who may provide eggs for cloning-based stem cell research.



Human Genetic Alteration and Gold Mines: California's Stem Cell Agency Takes a Hard Look at Research Standardsby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJanuary 27th, 2016The $3 billion California stem cell agency will convene a livestreamed day-long meeting to examine agency policies dealing with human gene editing.
‘No Más Bebés’: Documentary Highlights History of Forced Sterilizations in L.A.by Sonali KolkhatkarTruthDigJanuary 21st, 2016The film covers a grisly era of California history—the forced sterilization of untold numbers of poor, mostly Latino, Spanish-speaking women in the 1960s and 70s.
Plug Pulled on Cancer Clinical Trial: Sudden End for $18 Million Push by California Stem Cell Agency by David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJanuary 14th, 2016California’s ambitious effort to develop a stem cell therapy for a deadly form of skin cancer collapsed abruptly last week, apparently the victim of “excessively long development timelines."
Jordan Middle School, other schools now up for renamingby Elena KadvanyPalo Alto WeeklyJanuary 13th, 2016Middle school students and their parents are objecting to their school being named for Stanford University founding president David Starr Jordan, because of his involvement in the eugenics movement.
Bay Area biologist's gene-editing kit lets do-it-yourselfers play God at the kitchen tableby Lisa M. KriegerContra Costa TimesJanuary 11th, 2016"I want to democratize science," says Josiah Zaynor, who builds inexpensive CRISPR kits to encourage non-scientists to learn genome editing skills.
California’s Proposed Budget Upholds ‘Racist, Sexist, Classist’ Policyby Tina VasquezRH Reality CheckJanuary 11th, 2016The Maximum Family Grant is designed to discourage low-income mothers from having children.
Surrogate Sues Father Over Tripletsby Brandy ZadroznyThe Daily BeastJanuary 6th, 2016In response to an intended parent's request to abort one of three fetuses, a pregnant plaintiff says she will carry them all to term and is suing to keep at least one of the babies.
When California Sterilized 20,000 of Its Citizensby Alexandra Minna SternZocalo Public SquareJanuary 6th, 2016The Golden State was the most aggressive in the country in deeming the "feebleminded" and "deviant" unfit to reproduce.
First Genetically Edited Cows Arrive at UC Davisby Edward OrtizSacramento BeeDecember 20th, 2015The two calves will never grow horns typical of their breed. Instead, they’ll always sport soft hair where hard mounds normally emerge.
California Judge Orders Frozen Embryos Destroyed[cites CGS Fellow Lisa Ikemoto]by Andy NewmanThe New York TimesNovember 19th, 2015A superior court judge in San Francisco ordered the thawing and destruction of a divorced couple's frozen embryos, enforcing the terms of the couple's pre-divorce agreement.
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