Media Coverage

Magazine covers, front-page newspaper articles, social media are often the first point of contact for the public on emerging human biotechnologies. Consequently, it’s important to address how media coverage shapes public perceptions of the latest scientific innovations. While many articles celebrate new techniques as “breakthroughs” or “medical miracles,” they may not address whether the results are preliminary or have been subjected to peer review, what risks they entail, or what their social or policy consequences might be. Journalists have a responsibility to be both skeptical and accurate, so the public can take part in a well-informed debate.


Biopolitical Times

The British Royal Society released its Report on Genetic Technologies on March 7th. Two weeks later, Nature published an Editorial titled “How to get public engagement right” and two substantial articles: “Rethink public engagement for gene editing” by Simon Burall, and “A global observatory for gene editing” by Sheila Jasanoff and J. Benjamin Hurlbut.

The discussions in Nature are quite germane to the Royal Society Report, although they are not responses to it. In fact, very few people...

Biopolitical Times

David Reich, a professor of genetics at Harvard, is the author of a new best-selling book, Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past. It was reviewed in Nature as a “thrilling account of mapping humans through time and place.” On March 23, Reich had the great good fortune to promote it with a 2500-word essay on the front page of The New York Times Sunday Review. That...

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An analyst at Goldman Sachs asked a troubling question this week about gene therapy.

“Is curing patients a sustainable business...

Biopolitical Times

In May 2017, Nature Methods published a short, peer-reviewed letter reporting on a study of off-target mutations caused by CRISPR...

Large, empty wooden court room. 4 columns are across the wall behind the stand.

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Yellow Tape across a blurred image of a tree with black stripes and the word "CRIME SCENE" written across it.

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Biopolitical Times