|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.|
|Two Decades After DollyJuly 12th, 201620 years after the first cloned mammal was born, the US still does not have legal prohibitions on cloned people, or on heritable human genetic modification.|
|Genes Are Overrated, The AtlanticJune 1st, 2016The discovery of DNA wasn’t predestined, nor does it dictate our destiny—and current ideas about it may die.|
|Whose Body, Whose Property, What Choice?March 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.|
|CRISPR Eugenics in The X FilesMarch 10th, 2016In the comeback season finale, the show explores the use of human gene editing to combat global warming and overpopulation.|
|My Genes, Myself?March 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.|
|A Monkey Circles in a CageJanuary 29th, 2016Researchers created transgenic monkeys with a gene duplication associated with Rett Syndrome autism in humans, raising concerns of the limits and ethics of using animal models in biomedical research.|
|Forgotten Stories of the Eugenic Age #2: Eugenics, Love, and the Marriage Problem, Biopolitical TimesJuly 20th, 2015When gazing deeply into a lover's eyes, eugenists advised, women should not look for the "yearning, burning, soulful fires, which rage in the erotic litany of love," but for symptoms of eye disease.|
|Talking About the Germline, Biopolitical TimesJuly 8th, 2015The debate about heritable human genetic modification continues, with opinions ranging from enthusiasm to dismay, and strong arguments for political as well as scientific involvement.|
|Seeking Your Input: Survey on Egg RetrievalApril 22nd, 2015We are surveying women’s knowledge and attitudes toward egg retrieval to yield critical insights into how best to frame health information intended to enable women to make informed choices.|
|Hype, Money and Stem Cells, Biopolitical TimesApril 9th, 2015Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times used newly published research to write a scathing article largely focused on the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.|
|Of Clocks and Mammoths: The Pitch for De-ExtinctionFebruary 9th, 2015De-extinction raises a host of questions: ethical, practical, philosophical. But for advocates, there’s a rhetorical question as well: How do you persuade a lay audience to support the project?|
|Precision Medicine in Context, Biopolitical TimesFebruary 5th, 2015President Obama's proposal for a Precision Medicine Initiative – which echoes President Nixon's "War on Cancer" – should start a conversation that includes lots of questions. |
|A Season of Surrogacy Scandals, Biopolitical TimesOctober 16th, 2014The summer and fall of 2014 have been a season of surrogacy scandals in many countries.|
| Let's Play God (or not), Biopolitical TimesOctober 14th, 2014Reason magazine earns points for honesty about wanting to use gene drives to "play God" — and for editing skills. |
|Stem Cell Treatments Surging Into Clinic, UT San DiegoOctober 7th, 2014How the government, insurers and patients would pay for very expensive new stem cell therapies drew the attention of more than 700 biomedical and health-care executives at the 2014 Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa. |
|Hwang Woo-suk Reaches the Silver Screen, Biopolitical TimesOctober 2nd, 2014A new movie opening in Korea is explicitly about how the notorious cloning and stem-cell fraud was revealed, though the names of the principals have been changed.|
|Setting the Record Straight, The ScientistOctober 1st, 2014Scientists are taking to social media to challenge weak research, share replication attempts in real time, and counteract hype. Will this online discourse enrich the scientific process?|
|Under the Skin, NatureSeptember 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.|
|Drew Endy's Hollywood Dreams for Synthetic Biology, Biopolitical TimesSeptember 18th, 2014Stanford professor Drew Endy is convinced that this is the century of biology, and in particular of making things with biology, but is concerned that popular media do not seem to reflect this. |
|Shame and Scandal in the 23andMe Family, Biopolitical TimesSeptember 17th, 2014In response to its problems with the FDA and news about family traumas triggered by its tests' "close relatives" option, 23andMe is hiring new executives, including a Chief Privacy Officer.|
|The Stupidity of the “Smart Gene”, Biopolitical TimesSeptember 17th, 2014Now that “one of the largest, most rigorous genetic studies of human cognition” has effectively turned up "nothing," can we finally put the notion of “smart genes” behind us?|
|“Evolution right now is in the marketplace”, Biopolitical TimesSeptember 11th, 2014George Church is as outrageous as ever, while both transhumanist ideas and concerns about increasing inequality are receiving more attention.|
|From “the Dangerous Womb” to a More Complex Reality, Biopolitical TimesAugust 21st, 2014Heightened attention to epigenetics, while important, also carries the danger of being used to place undue blame on pregnant women. A special issue in Science on parenting provides a more complex overview of parental and societal influence.|
|Society: Don't Blame the Mothers, NatureAugust 13th, 2014There is a long history of blaming mothers for the ill health of their children. The latest wave in this discussion flows from studies of epigenetics.|
|Making Sense of the BRAIN, Biopolitical TimesJuly 24th, 2014As criticisms of the brain projects on both sides of the Atlantic ramp up, what lessons can be learned from the successes and failures of the Human Genome Project?|
|On Meta-Research and the STAP Fiasco, Biopolitical TimesJuly 7th, 2014The authors of the ballyhooed STAP papers have reluctantly agreed to retract them; meanwhile Stanford is launching a project to investigate the process of research.|
|Wading into Racism, Biopolitical 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.|
|Your Genes Are Obsolete, Pacific StandardMay 2nd, 2014Giving a physical meaning to the concept of a gene was a triumph of 20th-century biology, but as it turns out, this scientific success hasn’t solved the problems we hoped it would.|
|Transcendence: See it for its Cultural Relevance, Not its Plot Line, Biopolitical TimesMay 1st, 2014Transcendence won’t win you over with its dialogue or love scenes, but it’s a great springboard for pondering what quickly approaching developments in artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and regenerative medicine may actually mean for society.|
|Science’s Shameful Secret, MediumApril 28th, 2014Scientific research drives society forwards. We pay for it with our taxes and it is the gateway for our tomorrows, but there are problems at every step in the way science verifies itself.|
|Data Murky on Fertility Rates, The New York TimesApril 28th, 2014Here’s the question on the minds of people who spend tens of thousands of dollars on fertility treatments: What are my chances of having a healthy baby? As it turns out, it’s not easy to tell.|
|Science Media Centre Spins Pro-GMO Line, PR WatchApril 28th, 2014Though the Science Media Centre calls itself an independent media briefing center, many question its independence from GMO corporations. Now it's headed to the United States.|
|DNA Day Hype, GenotopiaApril 25th, 2014To celebrate DNA Day, the genetic testing company 23andMe posted a DNA Day infographic that is a marvelous inadvertent evidence of genetic oversell.|
|How Long Is Immortality?, Biopolitical TimesApril 15th, 2014A Russian millionaire created a big splash less than a year ago when he sponsored a conference at the Lincoln Center about mind uploading and immortality, but seems to have fallen off the media radar, at least in the U.S.|
|Opinion: Women Don't Need Any More Big Lies, CNNFebruary 8th, 2014In The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Reality of the Biological Clock, I explore many Big Lies. One is that women can delay motherhood until we're ready and rely on science to make it happen for us.|
|The $1,000 Genome: Game Changer or PR Stunt?, Biopolitical TimesFebruary 6th, 2014The DNA sequencing company Illumina announced a new product capable of sequencing an entire human genome for under $1,000. What are the hidden costs? What are the implications of reaching this long-awaited benchmark?
|Top Science Longreads of 2013, National GeographicDecember 23rd, 2013I’m really optimistic about the future for long, deep, rich science reporting. There are more places that are publishing it, more ways of finding it, and a seemingly huge cadre of people who are writing it well.|
|New Ways to Engineer the Germline, Biopolitical TimesDecember 18th, 2013A look at a number of emerging techniques that could compromise the international consensus against human inheritable genetic modification.
|Techno-Libertarians and The Circle, Biopolitical TimesDecember 5th, 2013The new novel by Dave Eggers is a provocative romp and a missed opportunity that does, however, raise a lot of very interesting questions about Silicon Valley culture. |
|Crispr Goes Commercial , Biopolitical TimesDecember 5th, 2013A new company, Editas Medicine, has been founded by the scientists who developed Crispr gene-editing technology, with backing from several major venture capital funds.|
|The Unregulated Sperm Industry, The New York TimesNovember 30th, 2013The new movie “Delivery Man” stars a former sperm donor who finds out that he has more than 500 children. Is this a Hollywood exaggeration or a possible outcome? Truth is, no one knows.|
|The IVF Data WarsNovember 15th, 2013The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recently asserted that 60 percent of women who go through IVF end up with a baby, but this is a misleading figure for a number of reasons.|
|Genetics’ Rite of Passage, SlateOctober 27th, 2013Geneticists with any historical memory hold a painful awareness that their field has fallen short of the glory that once seemed close.|
|Review: Genetic Explanations: Sense and Nonsense, LogosOctober 24th, 2013This timely and important collection brings together prominent geneticists, biologists, medical researchers, psychologists, philosophers, and historians to engage in “debunking as positive science.”|
|An Insider’s Antidote for Dangerous Stem Cell Hype, XconomyOctober 22nd, 2013Paul Knoepfler’s new book is a scientific primer and a paean to the promise of stem cell research, but also a warning to vulnerable patients who prematurely look to stem cell therapy as a last-ditch hope for a cure.
|How Science Goes WrongThe EconomistOctober 19th, 2013Modern scientists are doing too much trusting and not enough verifying — to the detriment of the whole of science, and of humanity.|
|The Killing Point, NSFWCorpOctober 16th, 2013Malcolm Gladwell cherry-picks his way through the complicated fields of physiology, genetics, and sport to frame an argument on performance-enhancing drugs that is not only ill-informed, it’s downright dangerous.|
|The Clone Named Dolly, The New York TimesOctober 14th, 2013This week’s Retro Report video tells the story of Dolly the sheep. The Scottish scientists who created her recall the painstaking process of trying to get the experiment to work.|
|The Damaging Language of “Cure” and Down Syndrome, PatheosOctober 2nd, 2013Once again we’re hearing news of a breakthrough in research on drug therapies to enhance the cognitive processing of people with Down syndrome. And once again, the discussions seem to fixate on the controversial notion of a “cure.”|
|Dangerous Work, NatureOctober 2nd, 2013Behavioural geneticists must tread carefully to prevent their research being misinterpreted.|
|Scientists Warn Against “Three-Parent IVF” Experiment, Biopolitical TimesSeptember 25th, 2013Three evolutionary biologists enumerate a number of scientific studies and methodological shortcomings that have been overlooked in the debate on mitochondrial replacement. Their study has elicited numerous defensive responses, despite bringing important details to bear.|
| Google vs Death? Really?, Biopolitical TimesSeptember 20th, 2013Google just announced a new company, Calico, that will focus on aging and associated diseases. Former Genentech CEO Art Levinson will be in charge, but so far it has no other employees and no clear business plan.|
|Selling the Fantasy of Fertility, The New York TimesSeptember 11th, 2013A trade show will showcase the latest inventions in the world of reproductive medicine with the suggestion that all your answers can be found within the event hall. But science fails far more often than is generally believed.|
|Stem Cell Treatments Overtake Science, The New York TimesSeptember 9th, 2013The lack of proven safety or efficacy for stem cell treatments hasn't slowed the rise of an international industry catering to customers who may pay tens of thousands of dollars in cash for their shot at a personal miracle. |
|DTC Monopoly and Me, Biopolitical TimesAugust 6th, 2013A recent study shows yet again that results from different direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies vary. So what will the emerging monopoly of 23andMe mean for accuracy?
|Illegal Sterilizations in Modern California Jails, Biopolitical TimesJuly 10th, 2013The Center for Investigative Reporting has published a detailed exposé of unauthorized sterilizations of unwilling women in California jails from 2006 to 2010, and probably before, bringing the issue to national attention.|
|Eight Misconceptions about “Three-Parent Babies”, Biopolitical TimesJuly 9th, 2013Amid the talk about “mitochondria replacement” or “three-parent babies," here are the top misconceptions proliferating about the efficacy, safety, public support, and societal implications.|
|Three Person IVF, Practical EthicsJune 29th, 2013Unfortunately, this debate, like so many others in announcements of developing science and technology related to health in general and genetics in particular, is marred by hype and by urgency.|
|Reactions to the Supreme Court Ruling Against Myriad, Biopolitical TimesJune 13th, 2013The unanimous Supreme Court decision that human genes may not be patented was greeted with enthusiasm by the large coalition of plaintiffs and supporters, while the losers tried to put a brave face on it.|
|Welcome to the “Genetic Panopticon”, Biopolitical 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.|
|Cancer Inc., Biopolitical TimesMay 28th, 2013Angelina Jolie’s widely discussed op-ed about her preventative double mastectomy glosses over the impact of one company’s patent on the “breast cancer genes” as well as alternative choices that are available to women who have mastectomies.
|Cloning-Derived Stem Cells Raise Policy Questions, Biopolitical TimesMay 16th, 2013Yesterday’s announcement that stem cells have been derived from cloned human embryos set off a media flurry, but important questions about reproductive cloning and women’s health were not widely addressed.|
|There's More to Life Than Freezing Your Eggs[Quotes CGS's Diane Tober], The AtlanticMay 14th, 2013Suddenly, it seems, everyone is singing the praises of egg freezing as the latest cure for a woman's declining fertility, but it isn't quite the panacea the media would have you believe.|
|Talking Biopolitics is Back!, Biopolitical TimesMay 13th, 2013A series of live web-based conversations with cutting-edge thinkers on the social meaning of human biotechnologies will be kicking off next week. RSVP now to join the conversations!
|The Big Freeze, Biopolitical TimesMay 9th, 2013The Wall Street Journal devoted almost two full pages to a piece championing social egg freezing, and gave it a headline that is pure sales.|
|Made-to-Order Embryos: You Want to Sell What?!, Biopolitical TimesMay 2nd, 2013The fact that a fertility clinic can own and sell made-to-order embryos for profit raises novel concerns that should not be collapsed into predefined frameworks used to assess other assisted reproductive technologies.
|The Baby Blueprint [VIDEO][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]Al Jazeera EnglishApril 22nd, 2013Would you choose your child's genetic potential? Live debate with Marcy Darnovsky, Stuart Newman, Julian Savulescu, and Nita Farahany.|
|Synthetic Biology as Public Relations, Biopolitical TimesApril 17th, 2013Recent synthetic biology projects related to malaria, flu and conservation are providing PR cover for the field and its corporate sponsors.|
|Egg Freezing: WTF?*[Op-Ed], The Feminist WireApril 14th, 2013Egg freezing is invasive, dangerous, unregulated, and insanely expensive. Worse, it isn’t a social solution, so it cannot address the social causes that make it so difficult to balance career and family.|
|The Right to Speak Out[Editorial]NatureApril 9th, 2013Controversy over the results touted by a genetic-ancestry firm has highlighted the need for reform of the United Kingdom’s restrictive libel law.|
|The Era of Genetics-Based Advertising is Coming, WiredMarch 28th, 2013If you thought personalised advertising based on your Facebook status updates, Gmail content or online browsing behaviour was creepy, just you wait. The era of genetics-based advertising is coming, and it could be just as profitable.|
|Fixing Psychiatric Research At A University[Op-Ed], PharmalotMarch 20th, 2013University of Minnesota bioethicist Carl Elliott has explored a controversial episode over a clinical trial and a suicide at his own university over the past few years; he explains why now is the time to get involved.|
|GM Babies?, Biopolitical TimesMarch 5th, 2013A debate about genetically engineered babies is hijacked by slick rhetoric.
|Guidelines for Genetic Testing of Children, Biopolitical TimesFebruary 28th, 2013A new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Medical Genetics discusses when doctors should suggest a genetic test for a child.
|Race as Biology in The New York Times , Biopolitical TimesFebruary 21st, 2013A prominent science writer’s troubling choice of words about “race” suggest that it is biological reality rather than social category.|
|Gene-ism and the Trout in the Milk, Biopolitical TimesFebruary 19th, 2013The remains of King Richard III were not really identified by DNA, but that was what the headlines said.|
|Neo Neanderthal[With CGS's Pete Shanks], HuffPost LiveJanuary 25th, 2013A leading geneticist at Harvard Medical School says he can clone a Neanderthal and resurrect the extinct species. What are the ethical issues, risks and benefits?|
|Gene-ism and Mass Murder, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 22nd, 2013Proposals to analyze the genes of a mass murderer have rightly drawn criticism from experts, including the editors of Nature. |
|Biotech's 10 Biggest PR Disasters of 2012GMWatchDecember 31st, 20122012 was the year the lights came up on the biotech industry. Its claims, its tactics and its products all came under scrutiny and some of its biggest PR fairytales bit the dust. Here are some prime examples.|
|Clones and Cloud Atlas, Biopolitical TimesNovember 13th, 2012Of the many characters in Cloud Atlas that explore what it means to be human, the most eloquent is a genetically engineered clone.|
|Money Doesn't Talk, It Lies, Biopolitical TimesNovember 1st, 2012California's Proposition 37, which would require labeling of genetically modified food, is being battered by a million dollars a day of deceptive commercials, but the race is roughly tied.|
|Advocating Human Germline Interventions, Biopolitical TimesOctober 28th, 2012Scientists in Oregon have published a paper that explicitly challenges the legal and procedural system that forbids genetic experiments on future generations, but most reports miss the full implications of the announcement.|
|Bill McKibben on Real Time With Bill Maher, Biopolitical TimesOctober 18th, 2012Bill McKibben discusses the radical implications of climate change and the troubling proposal made by some to "alter [human] behavior and physiology" to deal with these changes. |
|Anatomy of a Webpage, Part 2: Preconception ServicesOctober 17th, 2012People living with genetic diseases become medicalized abstractions of risk and defect in the slick marketing of fetal gene tests. More than a matter of semantics, such simplification has negative consequences for all.|
|Stem-Cell Fraud Hits Febrile Field, NatureOctober 16th, 2012As Hisashi Moriguchi's heart-treatment claims collapse, observers warn about the febrile nature of the iPS-cell field and caution against a rush to the clinic.
|The HealerHow Shinya Yamanaka Transformed the Stem-Cell War and Made Everyone a Winner, SlateOctober 9th, 2012Shinya Yamanaka's research on "induced pluripotent stem cells" earned him a Nobel Prize. But much of the media coverage missed half the story. Yamanaka’s venture wasn’t just an experiment. It was a moral project.|
|Life: Digital and Synthetic?, Biopolitical TimesJuly 20th, 2012As Craig Venter unveils his newest plan to create life from scratch, questions about what this means and the consequences of doing so abound.
What is life? A strange – perhaps obtuse – question. But the answer has profound consequences for how we as a society come to grips with novel biotechnologies. |
|Ethics Schmethics Says Ethicist, Biopolitical TimesJuly 19th, 2012The approach of the Olympics sparks the usual flood of pro-enhancement articles, notably an interview with Julian Savulescu. |
|"Tainted Families" Ancient and Modern, Biopolitical TimesJuly 11th, 2012Paul Lombardo has well summarized the use of the "Jukes family" myth to promote eugenics, in the 19th, 20th and now 21st century.|
|Survival of the Fastest?, Biopolitical TimesJuly 10th, 2012Michael Johnson, the legendary athlete, recently made global headlines for suggesting that black American and Caribbean sprinters have a "superior athletic gene."|
|Craig Venter’s Bugs Might Destroy the World, Biopolitical TimesJune 22nd, 2012A recent article in The New York Times Sunday Magazine hypes Craig Venter and synthetic biology as green solutions to the world’s woes. The real story is what the article missed.|
|Designer Babies in Popular Culture, Biopolitical TimesJune 21st, 2012The Whitest Kids U’Know’s comedic parody of genetic counseling is reminiscent of a similar scene in GATTACA.
|Artificial DNA Presents Real Dangers, Biopolitical TimesMay 2nd, 2012The creation of “artificial DNA” has generated substantial media buzz. The untold story behind the hype is about the new risks synthetic biology presents. |
|Mara Hvistendahl's Unnatural Selection Finalist for Pulitzer , Biopolitical TimesApril 26th, 2012Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men has been cited as one of the best books of 2011 by many publications, and has now been recognized by the Pulitzer Board as a finalist for the General Nonfiction award. |
|Gene of the Week: The Nice Gene, Biopolitical TimesApril 19th, 2012Media outlets hype "nice gene" study and distort scientific nuance in this week's "gene of the week."|
|Genetic April Foolery on NPR and in The Economist, Biopolitical TimesApril 5th, 2012The mainstream media is increasingly getting into the April Fools game. This year featured at least two established news organizations suddenly finding a sense of humor and using genetic technologies to, at least for one day, betray their loyal readers’ trust.
|Gene of the Week — Not!, Biopolitical TimesMarch 5th, 2012A pair of political scientists who specialize in behavioral genetics demolish a paper for claiming that "two genes predict political voter turnout" and then draw much broader conclusions about the failures of reductionist genomics.|
|Stem Cell Fraud Is the Real Issue in Texas, Biopolitical TimesMarch 2nd, 2012Bioethicist Glenn McGee has resigned from Celltex. His connection with the controversial stem-cell company has raised important issues about its business practices.|
|Assisted Reproduction Technologies Hit Prime Time , Biopolitical TimesFebruary 23rd, 2012This month’s episodes of Glee and Modern Family – two of the most popular prime time television shows – featured central characters contemplating assisted reproductive technologies.
|Worrying New Signs of Interest in Re-engineering Humans, Biopolitical TimesFebruary 23rd, 2012Several academics and defense department employees are actively discussing the idea of engineering people, for warfare, to express social values and even to react to climate change.|