Biopolitics

Biopolitics refers to public understandings, public policies, and public-interest advocacy about the social meanings and consequences of human biotechnologies. Biopolitics in the 21st century has come to reflect the rapid acceleration of technological developments since the birth of the modern biotechnology industry in the 1970s, the increasingly blurred boundary between academic and commercial biology, and growing recognition of the need for public and political engagement, especially with profoundly consequential prospects including human gene editing for reproduction. In some countries, notably the U.S., biopolitical views are not always aligned with political positioning on other issues. Public interest advocates working in a biopolitical framework emphasize the importance of social justice to evaluations of technological innovations.


Biopolitical Times

What might have been the story of the year turned out to be a disappointment. On February 14th, the National Academies delivered a valentine to those who want to commit germline gene editing. Its much anticipated report, Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance concluded that scientists should “proceed with caution.” This was the first time that human germline modification has ever been given a green light by a comparable body – the U.S. National Academies is an influential non-governmental...

Biopolitical Times

The November 2017 issue of Nature Biotechnology included a special focus on “Humans 2.0.” The articles (currently available for free) cover a range of genetic and reproductive technologies.

Standout articles include Amber Dance’s “Better Beings,” which provides an overview of recent germline editing research and explores policy, social, and ethical implications from different perspectives. Quoting CGS executive director Marcy Darnovsky, and scholars Rosemarie Garland-Thomson and Charis Thompson, Dance lays out social justice arguments opposing germline editing...

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It seems hard to fathom that scientific progress has advanced to a point where it’s suddenly possible for people to...

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CRISPR-Cas9 is complicated.

That’s why scientists, entrepreneurs, and journalists like me have spent the past few years reaching for metaphors...

Rep. Trent Franks speaking with the media

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A woman scientist is turned away from the camera, and faces a laboratory desk filled with equipment.

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Grayscale image of a pregnant woman, with exposed belly, sitting with her bare feet in focus in front of her. Her face is not shown, and the picture displays only her body from the shoulders down.

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