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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Question marks painted in a pattern on asphalt

On July 26, news broke that scientists led by Shoukrat Mitalipov used CRISPR to perform gene editing on human embryos—a first in the United States. Scientists in China had previously edited human embryos, but the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) researchers edited more embryos with greater accuracy than previous attempts.

Last week, prominent researchers raised doubts about the findings of this study. But this developing scientific controversy raises additional questions about the initial reporting of this research. The...

Biopolitical Times
Scattered Seeds: In Search of Family and Identity in the Sperm Donor Generation, by Jacqueline Mroz, 253 pp. Seal Press, 2017. In 1681, the English poet John Dryden began his epic poem “Absalom and Achitophel,” a political satire, with an account of a monarch who...
Swab, sequence, repeat.This is how DNA forensics has been popularized on television shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. In each episode, a skilled team of forensic investigators solves criminal cases by scouring crime scenes, collecting DNA, and matching samples they find with those available in their extensive databases...

Charged Words

Intelligence is a highly charged word with ties to racist, classist, and eugenic narratives. In the United States, it has been used historically to assert and establish racial and class hierarchies, especially those between Blacks and Whites, and...