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About Civil Society & Human Biotechnology


"Civil society" refers to institutional political actors outside of government and private enterprise, typically nonprofit advocacy organizations and foundations. The term "non-governmental organization," or NGO, is closely related.

Civil society organizations have come to play an important role in ensuring the accountability of governments, countering the power of corporations, and contributing to democratic governance.

For most of todayís important issues Ė war and peace, economic growth and equity, ecological sustainability, race and gender equality, and many others Ė there are dense networks of civil society institutions. For the issues surrounding human biotechnologies, a civil society infrastructure is just beginning to emerge. 



Who's Advising the Government on Human Genetics?by Alice MaynardBioNewsJune 29th, 2015A diversity of voices is needed to hold the UK government accountable, instead of relying upon experts to predict long-term consequences no one can accurately foresee.
CRISPR: Science Can't Solve itby Daniel SarewitzNature CommentJune 23rd, 2015Democratically weighing up the benefits and risks of gene editing and artificial intelligence is a political endeavour, not an academic one.
Building the Face of a Criminal From DNABBCJune 18th, 2015The face of a killer constructed from DNA left at the scene of a crime: it sounds like science fiction. But revealing the face of a criminal based on their genes may be closer than we think.
Down Syndrome Screening isnít About Public Health. Itís About Eliminating a Group of People.by Renate LindemanWashington PostJune 16th, 2015Testing should be used to enhance health and human well-being instead of discriminating against people based on their genetic predisposition.
Taking Control of Our Genetic Information: Could it Go Too Far?by Karthika MuthukumaraswamyThe Huffington PostJune 16th, 2015Up until recently, those in the technology industry and those conducting genomic research would have been considered strange bedfellows. But big data - more specifically, big genomic data - is bringing the two groups together.
Retractions Coming Out From Under Science's Rugby Benedict CareyThe New York TimesJune 15th, 2015Scientists in fields as diverse as neurobiology, anesthesia and economics are debating how to reduce misconduct, without creating a police-state mentality that undermines creativity and collaboration.
Is DNA the Next Frontier in Privacy?by Nikhil SwaminathanAljazeera AmericaMay 11th, 2015The president has called for a million people to volunteer their DNA sequences, health records and sensor tracking data, but the government is mum on how it will protect their privacy.
The Blurred Lines of Genetic Data: Practicality, Pleasure and Policingby Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostMay 8th, 2015Shocking news from Idaho is a reminder that we donít always control what happens with our data, and wonít always like it.
Can we Still Rely on DNA Sampling to Crack Crime?by Danny ShawBBC NewsMay 5th, 2015The new arrangements are so convoluted that even the man responsible for overseeing them has cast doubt as to whether they can work effectively and fairly.
DIY Bio-Engineering: Disrupting Democracyby Colleen CordesBiopolitical Times guest contributorMay 1st, 2015The Do-It-Yourself synthetic biology movement (or, DIY synbio) is not advocating "citizen science," let alone "democratizing science." It's not about science or democracy.
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