Pete Shanks

Pete Shanks, MA, attended Oxford University, where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and moved to California in the mid-1970s. He has been active in a range of local and international political movements, while mostly making his living in the publishing industry, especially on the production side; he enjoys the craft of bookmaking. Appalled by the eugenic possibilities of biotechnology, he has consulted with the Center for Genetics and Society since its earliest days. He is the author of Human Genetic Engineering: A Guide for Activists, Skeptics, and the Very Perplexed (Nation Books) and a regular contributor to Biopolitical Times.

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scientist looking at a computer monitor
By Pete Shanks, The Progressive | 08.14.2019

In mid-July, a bipartisan trio of U.S. Senators—Democrats Dianne Feinstein of California and Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Republican...

"Proceed with caution" traffic sign, against a blue sky.
By Pete Shanks, Deccan Chronicle | 10.02.2016

News broke this week that the first “three-parent” baby had been born. But the untested and controversial nature of the...

Image of a person with gloves holding a petri dish.
By Pete Shanks, Deccan Chronicle | 05.22.2016

On May 10, about 130 scientists, entrepreneurs and others held an invitation-only event at Harvard. Organisers told invitees not to...

In the News

Padlock attached to a DNA strand on a blue background.
By Karen Gullo, Electronic Frontier Foundation [cites CGS and Pete Shanks] | 03.29.2019

Analyzing and indefinitely keeping the DNA profiles of thousands of Californians arrested for felonies, but never charged with a crime,...

Illustration of cells
By Pete Shanks, Medium | 02.02.2018

Let’s Not Distort Debates about Human Cloning and Heritable Gene Editing

Cloning is back in the headlines. Researchers managed to...

Three boxes of 23andMe kits stand upright in a line. Two of the boxes have been blurred, and one of them is centrally focused.
By Pete Shanks, Medical Laboratory Observer | 07.25.2017

The direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing industry has been around for just over a decade. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration...

Biopolitical Times

In June, Russian molecular biologist Denis Rebrikov caused a stir by threatening to perform heritable genome editing. At the...

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) published this tweet on September 30, 2019, at 12:05 p.m. EDT:



September 17, 2019, marks the 20th anniversary of Jesse Gelsinger’s death. Jesse had a rare genetic disorder that caused...

Talks and Testimonies

Shaping SF Panel presenters Tito Jankowski, Elliot Hosman, and Pete Shank look thoughyfully engaged in discussion. Above them is a quote from Jennifer Doudna stating, "Once the discovery is made, it's out there. Anybody with basic molecular biology training can use it for genome editing. That's a bit scary."

Synthetic Biology Shaping San Francisco hosted a forum titled, "Synthetic Biology: DIY Tinkering Meets Big Capital." 

Full video and transcript can be...