Top Biopolitical Times Posts of 2015
In 2015, CGS staffers and guest contributors posted 80 blogs at Biopolitical Times. Some were syndicated on our guest blog at Psychology Today, Genetic Crossroads.
Fourteen of our favorite posts plus a series by CGS staffers are shown below in chronological order. Scroll down for posts by our wonderful guest contributors.
- Blog Series: Forgotten Stories of the Eugenic Age
Forgotten Stories of the Eugenic Age explores the lesser-known ways that eugenics affected and engaged American lives during the first half of the twentieth century.
Part I: How “Better Babies” Became “Fitter Families”
Part II: Eugenics, Love and the Marriage Program
Part III: Divorce, “Crying Off,” and the Perils of Eugenic Perfection
Part IV.1: The Short Life and Eugenic Death of Baby John Bollinger
Part IV.2: The Black Stork Rises: Dr. Haiselden’s Celebrity and Public Controversy
Part IV.3: The Blurry Boundaries of Eugenic Infanticide
- Key Questions About the Social and Ethical Implications of Nuclear Genome Transfer or “3-Person IVF” Techniques
As the U.S. Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine) launches an official assessment over the next year, here are eight questions to consider.
- Precision Medicine in Context
President 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.
- Mitochondrial Mission Creep and the Cloning Connection
Shoukhrat Mitalipov wants to use nuclear genome transfer for age-related infertility. He has joined forces with the disgraced stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk.
- Babies from Two Bio-Dads?
Recent research on human germ cells has revived speculation about the possible uses of artificial gametes.
- Calling for “More than a Moratorium” on Human Germline Modification
A broader array of critical responses and policy suggestions follows recent reports that the gene-editing technique CRISPR has been used to genetically modify human sperm, eggs or embryos.
- Incurious about Ethics?
An Institute of Medicine committee is studying the “ethical and social policy” implications of germline mitochondrial manipulation. Why do most of its members seem uninterested in social or policy questions?
- Racial Health Disparities: It’s Inequality, Not Genes
A review of genomic research on racial health disparities in heart disease finds it has made “little or no contribution to our understanding.”
- The Blurred Lines of Genetic Data: Practicality, Pleasure and Policing
Amid a rumor that Apple may encourage iPhone owners to share their genetic data, shocking news from Ancestry.com and Idaho police is a reminder that we don’t always control what happens with our data, and won’t always like it.
- Tired Tropes and New Twists in the Debate about Human Germline Modification
Techno-enthusiasts now argue that as we think about the human future, we should rule out considering what we might learn from literature, film, myth, and history that they don’t like.
- First Federal Bill to Acknowledge US Eugenics Would Help Victims of State Sterilization Programs
If passed, it would be the first federal legislation to recognize the history of sterilization abuse that took place during the twentieth century in the name of eugenics.
- Surrogacy as an Iceberg: 90 Percent Below Water
While agencies market surrogacy as a fulfilling “journey,” they also caution prospective consumers about ethical and financial pitfalls.
- Big Money Heading for Consumer Genomics
Investors are now betting hundreds of millions of dollars that the direct-to-consumer testing business will become profitable.
- Gene Therapy: Comeback? Cost-Prohibitive?
Recent CRISPR news sometimes confuses germline modification which should be put off limits and gene therapy, which presents its own set of social and ethical risks to resolve before rushing to market.
- Livetweeting #GeneEditSummit: Democratized Debate or Segregated Conversations?
Though #GeneEditSummit was trending on Twitter, inclusive public debate must be more robust than the live-tweeting of insular stakeholder meetings.
A number of remarkable guest bloggers on Biopolitical Times contributed their commentary on a wide variety of issues during 2015. Not much for choosing favorites among our friends, we do want to extend our appreciation for their time and perspectives. In alphabetical order:
Nathaniel Comfort on inheritable genetic modification: Putting Ourselves in Harm's Way: Thoughts on Pinker and the Role of Bioethics
George Estreich on genetic screening: FDA Regulation and Early Prenatal Testing; de-extinction: Of Clocks and Mammoths: The Pitch for De-Extinction; new film releases: Ex Machina: Of Screens and People; and inheritable genetic modification: The Rhetorical Two-Step: Steven Pinker, CRISPR, and Disability
Jaydee Hanson on eugenics reparations: Virginia Votes Compensation for Victims of its Eugenic Sterilization Program
CGS Fellow Lisa Ikemoto on CRISPR/Cas9: Fast Forward-Pause-Stop: The 3-Speed Human Germline Debate; and donor gametes: “High IQ Eggs Wanted” – ads appeal to ego and altruism, offer $10,000
Ricki Lewis on genome sequencing: Universal Newborn Genome Sequencing and Generation Alpha
CGS Fellow Gina Maranto reviewing Deborah Lynn Steinberg's Genes and the Bioimaginary: Genetic Facts, Genetic Reality, Genetic Imaginaries; on precision medicine: "Moonshot Medicine": Putative Precision vs. Messy Genomes; and egg retrieval: Seeking Your Input: Survey on Egg Retrieval
Stuart Newman on inheritable genetic modification: Pinker's Damn: A Naive Rejection of Controls Over Genetic Engineering