Eugenics

Eugenics refers to beliefs and practices aimed at producing human beings or populations with preferred or “better” characteristics. In the early twentieth century, eugenic ideas were popular in many countries and across the political spectrum, and provided scientific cover for practices and policy decisions targeting society’s most vulnerable communities. In the United States, these included the forced sterilization of tens of thousands of people considered “unfit,” stringent immigration restrictions, and public policies that encouraged “fitter families” to produce more children. In Germany, the Nazis used similar concepts to justify their extermination of Jews, people with disabilities, and other groups. A century later, many activists, bioethicists, and other scholars are concerned that a new form of eugenics may be on the horizon as market dynamics and individual choice, rather than government policies, drive decisions about our use of human genetic technologies.


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It was a strange moment of triumph against racism: The gun-slinging white supremacist Craig Cobb, dressed up for daytime TV in a dark suit and red tie, hearing that his DNA testing revealed his ancestry to be only “86 percent...

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On August 2nd, scientists achieved a milestone on the path to human genetic engineering. For the first time in the United States, scientists successfully edited the genes of a human embryo. A transpacific team of researchers used CRISPR-Cas9 to...

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In a process that can be likened to the creation of GMO crops, scientists have edited genes in human embryos...

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Unless we pay much more attention to ethical and social choices, we risk turning the promise of gene editing into

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Surgical equipment is laid out on a tray

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A strand of DNA is featured. The upper right corner is highlighted.

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Landscape photo of the US Supreme Court building. with the sun and blue sky above.

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