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.


A magnifying glass reveals a DNA helix above a multicolor background

Last week, private equity mega-firm the Blackstone Group announced a deal to acquire Ancestry, the genealogy and direct-to-consumer DNA testing company, for $4.7 billion.

Major news outlets covered the deal as a business story, providing little information or context outside of Blackstone’s own press statement.

But this isn’t just any private equity deal – Ancestry’s genetic database is the largest in the business, with profiles for more than 18 million people. (CBS News helpfully worked out the math on...

Biopolitical Times
It is a commonplace in the post-modern world that data is “the new oil,” the road to power and wealth. The analogy isn't perfect, but there’s a great deal of truth in it. Enormous and potentially dangerous real-world consequences flow freely from Big Data, for a wide swath of individuals and communities. DNA databases, court proceedings, snapshots of license plates, and even more obviously illegal-to-access data such as...

Each year, an untold number of women around the world undergo egg retrieval procedures so that other women wanting to raise a child can try to get pregnant using in vitro fertilization (IVF), or for people hiring surrogates. But egg...

Researchers in Kathy Niakin’s lab in the UK have revealed disturbing results for anyone intent on pursuing heritable human genome editing. Their research showed significant unintended “on target” edits.