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About Arts, Culture & Human Biotechnology


Mention genetic technologies or human enhancement to the average person, and more likely than not their first response will reference the 1997 film Gattaca or Aldous Huxley's 1932 classic, Brave New World. Art and popular culture profoundly influence how we think about ourselves and each other, and portrayals of human biotechnologies are likely to affect how we think about future social arrangements. Ultimately this can shape the policy decisions we make today.

The social meanings of human biotechnologies have been pondered in film, television shows, painting, and other visual arts; in speculative fiction, novels, and children's books, and other literature; in performance and experiential art; and even in a project that produced a living rabbit engineered to glow in the dark.



DNA Dreamsby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 9th, 2014The documentary film that explores the inner workings of BGI Shenzhen, “the world’s largest genomics organization,” is now available in full on YouTube.
To Understand Science, Study Historyby Alejandra DubcovskyThe Chronicle of Higher EducationFebruary 24th, 2014Teaching history to students who plan to be doctors, scientists, or engineers forces them to lift their heads beyond the lab bench or the clipboard. It gives them a sensitivity that only the humanities can teach.
Bodies and Babies Commodified: A Review of Breedersby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorBiopolitical TimesFebruary 17th, 2014Breeders serves as a necessary corrective to the rosy PR the surrogacy industry puts out.
DNA Dreamingby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 13th, 2014A new documentary looks at the Chinese company that styles itself "the world’s largest genomics organization,” and its hunt for the genetic basis of intelligence.
Top Science Longreads of 2013by Ed YongNational 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.
‘Generation Cryo’: How A New Generation Is Redefining Familyby Marisa PeñalozaWBURDecember 17th, 2013Thousands of children are conceived using sperm and egg donors every year, a group large enough to entice MTV to air “Generation Cryo.”
Techno-Libertarians and The Circleby Pete ShanksBiopolitical 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.
Building Better Humansby Zaineb MohammedEast Bay ExpressDecember 4th, 2013A new documentary looks at the impacts of human enhancement technologies. "I totally get the temptation," says the filmmaker. "But what are we fixing? Who is the problem?"
What Huxley Knewby J. P. HarpigniesLetter to the New York TimesNovember 24th, 2013Huxley’s assembly-line baby factories were an exaggeration, but it’s a mistake to dismiss too quickly his fears about the genetic manipulation of the species.
‘Delivery Man’: 9 Sperm-Donation Questions You’re Too Embarrassed to Ask by Eliana DocktermanTimeNovember 22nd, 2013With a new movie, MTV series, and book, sperm donation stories are pervading pop culture right now. Experts answer 9 questions about what's really going on.
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