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.
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, and who knew—but said nothing about—what he was up to. There’s one area where we still know next to nothing: how twin girls Lulu and Nana are faring.
In February, Chinese authorities released results of their preliminary investigation into He’s...
By Ayesha Chatterjee, Pop A.R.T. Guest Columnist | 11.16.2018
In her new memoir, Becoming, Michelle Obama makes a brave choice: she reveals her experience of a miscarriage and subsequent cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF) that result in two healthy pregnancies. The relevant passage is reportedly brief. Based on the media’s coverage of the book, however, one might easily think the whole thing – cover to cover – is an ode to Obama’s medically assisted fertility.
To be clear, the former First Lady’s honest telling of a painful...