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



Forgotten Stories of the Eugenic Age #5: Creating Super-Peopleby Natalie OveyssiBiopolitical TimesMay 23rd, 2016Advocates of eugenics in the early twentieth century thought that careful mating would produce smarter, stronger, better people. What would these people look like? How would they behave? What kind of society would they form? Could making a better world be so simple?
Genome games: A secret meet and a controversy[citing CGS' Pete Shanks]by 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 addition to egg freezing's unknown risks and success rates, black women are being excluded from "fertility insurance" conversations and face stigma.
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.
The disturbing thing that happens when you tell people they have different DNAby Ana SwansonWonkblog [The Washington Post]May 13th, 2016A new study suggests emphasizing essential differences based on genetics can encourage aggression between groups and stir support for war.
Secret Harvard meeting on synthetic human genomes incites ethics debate[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Joel AchenbachWashington PostMay 13th, 2016A secret meeting of 150 scientists at Harvard about creating a synthetic genome is generating ethics objections.
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.
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.
Should We Synthesize A Human Genome?by Drew Endy and Laurie ZolothDSpace@MITMay 10th, 2016In response to a proposal issued at a closed-door meeting at Harvard, Endy and Zoloth raise some ethical challenges to the synthesis of a human genome.
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.
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