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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Book cover for "Inheritance" by Dani Shapiro featuring a child's white dress

Michael Maren was curious about his genetic heritage, so he sent away for an ancestry testing kit; while he was at it, he got one for his wife.

Thus was Dani Shapiro’s sense of her own identity forever altered.

Because when the results came back, Dani’s report led to the inescapable conclusion that she had no immediate genetic relationship to her older half-sister, the child of her father and his first wife. That meant Paul Shapiro — the man who...

Biopolitical Times

Every now and then, the fertility industry claims a breakthrough. The latest is one that had little to do with how we form families—until 2016 when a fertility doctor in New York named John Zhang used it to create a baby.

Also known as nuclear genome transfer or mitochondrial replacement, three-person IVF is designed to help a tiny number of people with a specific kind of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) disease have healthy and genetically related children. Zhang’s work has...

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies used to focus on ailments and ancestry, and were marketed directly to the people tested. But once you’ve been told what gruesome disease you have a one in six chance of developing, and where your great-grandparents...

In the months since He Jiankui first announced the birth of gene-edited twins, there’s been a steady stream of revelations and reactions from scientists, bioethicists, and others. We’ve learned quite a bit more about He’s actions, who he worked with,...