Biopolitical Times

The Center for Genetics and Society blog highlights the latest developments in the social, political, and ethical implications of human biotechnologies, with contributions from staff, fellows, consultants, and guest authors.

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On July 17, the UK’s Nuffield Council on Bioethics released “Genome Editing and Human Reproduction: Social and Ethical Issues.” The nearly 200-page report wrapped up several years of work for the ethics think tank that began with their initial 2016 inquiry into human genome editing and included a heavily criticized public consultation process in 2017. The report’s main conclusion regarding human germline modification was that it “could be ethically acceptable in some circumstances.” Karen Yeung, chair of the...

Biopolitical Times

Biopolitical Times used to have a regular feature called “Gene of the Week,” in which we skewered the propensity of some journalists, university public relations offices, and even scientists for ascribing particular traits or habits to some specific gene. Mostly, we made fun of them, but there was often a serious criticism behind the humor.

Sadly, the concept and concern that provoked the series are still with us. In fact, there’s a new one, more damaging and significant...

The popularity of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing by companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com has skyrocketed. Meanwhile, so has concern about the privacy and uses of the genetic information being amassed. As controversies build, several state and federal initiatives are bringing to light...

In late April, news broke that police used a public genealogy database to identify a suspect in the “Golden State Killer” case. Police accessed a website where individuals share their genetic test results in hopes of finding family members,...