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.


Biopolitical Times

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 might have lived, what’s next? Your children!

The pitch: Should your kids focus on music or math, reading or running, learning languages or dancing or drawing? Will they need help avoiding depression or combating shyness? Have them take a genetic...

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Nobel laureate James Watson has been stripped of honorary titles by the laboratory he once led after spewing more racist comments about intelligence on a recent PBS documentary.

Watson, who discovered the double-helix structure of DNA with partner Francis Crick...

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The state sterilised 25,000 people with learning difficulties, physical disabilities or mental illness between 1948 and 1996.

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Tracing genealogies has become immensely popular of late, and numerous companies offer to help you search through historical records or...

Dorothy Roberts

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Human embryo on blue background

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Family tree with 7 generations

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Biopolitical Times
Cotton swab in mouth

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Old black and white photograph of young James Watson

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