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Pete Shanks's Publications


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 worked as a consultant 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.

Who's Looking to Profit from Human Germline Changes?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 28th, 2016Billionaire Randal Kirk has assembled the components to commercialize heritable human genetic modification.
Why Is Editas Going Public? by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 14th, 2016Editas, the gene-editing company founded by several of the scientists who developed CRISPR technology, announced on January 4th that it had filed preliminary paperwork for a public offering of stock.
Biopolitical News of 2015by Elliot Hosman, Pete Shanks & Marcy Darnovsky, Biopolitical TimesDecember 22nd, 2015We highlight 2015’s breaking news stories about human biotech developments.
Top Biopolitical Times Posts of 2015by Elliot Hosman, Pete Shanks & Marcy Darnovsky, Biopolitical TimesDecember 20th, 2015Here are a few of our favorites blogs of 2015.
Weak Arguments For Modifying the Human Germlineby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 10th, 2015At the International Summit on Human Gene Editing, philosopher John Harris engaged in tired and absurd attempts to justify engineering future humans.
Extreme Genetic Engineering and the Human FutureReclaiming Emerging Biotechnologies for the Common GoodThe Center for Genetics and Society and Friends of the Earth examine the human applications of synthetic biology. This 50-page report challenges claims that this new set of genetic engineering techniques should be seen as "the future of manufacturing, engineering and medicine."
Gene Editing and Eugenics (Opinions Vary)by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2015A recent commentary on the UK law allowing clinical use of mitochondrial replacement celebrates it as a benign form of eugenics. Is there such a thing?
Big Money Heading for Consumer Genomicsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 15th, 2015Investors are now betting hundreds of millions of dollars that the direct-to-consumer testing business will become profitable.
Considering CRISPR: Putting a thumb on the scale?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 24th, 2015The National Academies have announced the date for their International Summit on Human Gene Editing. Are some of the organizers trying to predetermine the outcome?
Talking About the Germlineby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 8th, 2015The debate about heritable human genetic modification continues, with opinions ranging from enthusiasm to dismay, and strong arguments for political as well as scientific involvement.
The Science and Ethics of Genetically Engineered Human DNAby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 18th, 2015Discussion of germline genetic modification continues, most recently in the House of Representatives Research and Technology Subcommittee, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
Reframing "De-extinction" by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 28th, 2015Beth Shapiro is advocating for a new definition of "de-extinction" that stresses the ecological niche over genetic identity. She envisages using novel creatures to change entire ecologies.
Stopping or Selling Human Germline Modification?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 7th, 2015Debate about human germline engineering has taken off since publication of a paper describing failed attempts to genetically modify a human embryo.
DARPA, Synthetic Biology and Human Germline Engineering by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 9th, 2015The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is committed to synthetic biology as one of its four main project areas, and may be involved in human germline experiments.
Hype, Money and Stem Cellsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 9th, 2015Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times used newly published research to write a scathing article largely focused on the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Babies from Two Bio-Dads?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMarch 4th, 2015Recent research on human germ cells has revived speculation about the possible uses of artificial gametes.
Mitochondrial Mission Creep and the Cloning Connection by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesFebruary 14th, 2015Shoukhrat Mitalipov wants to use nuclear genome transfer for age-related infertility. He has joined forces with the disgraced stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk.
Precision Medicine in Contextby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesFebruary 5th, 2015President Obama's proposal for a Precision Medicine Initiative – which echoes President Nixon's "War on Cancer" – should start a conversation that includes lots of questions.
Who Needs a Synthetic Biological "Safety Lock"? by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesFebruary 4th, 2015Two papers published simultaneously in Nature on January 21 describe a novel strategy for biocontainment, involving a strain of E. Coli that is dependent on a synthetic amino acid.
Perils of Artificial Intelligenceby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 22nd, 2015The Future of Life Institute is calling for "research on how to make AI systems robust and beneficial," on the heels of several warnings about potential dire dangers.
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