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About United Kingdom Policies & Human Biotechnology

The United Kingdom's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), established in 1991, is often considered a model for regulating and overseeing human biotechnologies. It licenses and monitors all research involving human embryos, and all facilities offering in vitro fertilization or storage of eggs, sperm, or embryos. UK law does not permit certain activities involving human embryos.

The HFEA's 21 members are appointed by UK Health Ministers; at least half of them are required to be neither doctors nor scientists involved in human embryo research or infertility treatment.

To grant a research license, the HFEA must be satisfied that the use of human embryos is "necessary or desirable" for an enumerated purpose. The HFEA inspects licensed clinics annually; produces a Code of Practice that guides clinics on proper conduct; keeps a formal registry for donors, treatments, and children born; and conducts public consultations on controversial applications.

7 Highlights from Nuffield Council’s Review on the Ethics of Genome Editingby Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times guest contributorOctober 18th, 2016A recent UK report discusses social and political implications of genetically engineering human reproduction and other controversial CRISPR applications.
Three-person baby 'race' dangerous[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by James GallagherBBCOctober 12th, 2016Scientists and ethicists warn of fertility doctors forum-shopping to perform dangerous mitochondrial manipulation experiments.
UK Bioethicists Eye Designer Babies and CRISPR Cowsby Heidi LedfordNature NewsSeptember 30th, 2016The Nuffield Council on Bioethics' new report on genome editing will be followed by recommendations on human germline applications in early 2017.
Find a Sperm Donor with This UK Appby Selena LarsonCNNMoneySeptember 28th, 2016The London Sperm Bank's new mobile app lets consumers choose sperm provider traits including eye color, hair color, and race.
Are Swedish Designer Babies Coming Soon?by Eric NiilerSeekerSeptember 23rd, 2016"What are the oversight and controls to prevent this technology from being misused and go to a stage that, for now, the scientific community has agreed is a no-go?"
New Surrogacy Bill Bars Married Couples with Kids, NRIs, Gays, Live-ins, Foreignersby Express News ServiceThe Indian ExpressAugust 25th, 2016The draft bill permits only "altruistic surrogacy" for childless couples who have been married for at least five years.
Scientists break 13-year silence to insist 'three-parent baby' technique is safeby Ian JohnstonThe IndependentAugust 11th, 2016The researchers conclude the technique "can produce a viable pregnancy." But the pregnancy they established resulted in miscarriage.
Human Gene Editing: A Timeline of CRISPR Cover StoriesWith recent gene editing tools, a number of high-profile media are featuring CRISPR on their covers and front pages. We gather highlights since early 2015, along with opinion polls, TV shows, and editorial board statements.
Why gene-therapy drugs are so expensiveby N.L.The EconomistAugust 3rd, 2016British pharmaceutical company GSK announced it will charge US$665,000 for a gene therapy for ADA-SCID (aka "bubble boy disease").
How British are you? Mapped: DNA testing shows the most Anglo-Saxon regions in UK by Hannah FurnessThe Telegraph [UK]July 28th, 2016AncestryDNA reveals British people's genealogies vary by region and are less clearly defined than people tend to think.
Puffing Cryonics in New Scientist?by Pete ShanksJuly 13th, 2016New Scientist is a popular science magazine that sometimes prioritizes popularity over science.
Two Decades After Dollyby Pete ShanksJuly 12th, 201620 years after the first cloned mammal was born, the US still does not have legal prohibitions on cloned people, or on heritable human genetic modification.
Frozen Eggs and Heated Debatesby Angel Petropanagos, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJuly 12th, 2016What’s missing and what’s misrepresented in public debates about social egg freezing?
First he pioneered a new way of making life. Now he wants to try it in peopleby Karen WeintraubSTATJuly 8th, 2016"If someone were to proceed with [three-person IVF] now, my own view is that’s probably irresponsible."
Why science needs progressive voices more than ever by Alice BellThe GuardianJuly 6th, 2016After Brexit, science must speak up for those who have been marginalized.
Fertility experts urge UK to adopt new DNA screening for IVF embryos by Nicola DavisThe GuardianJuly 4th, 2016Research suggests embryos with more mitochondrial DNA may be less likely to lead to pregnancy.
What does Brexit mean for bioethics?by Xavier SymonsBioEdgeJune 25th, 2016The UK may not leave the Council of Europe, the umbrella organization for the Committee on Bioethics.
"Safe" call? My thoughts on the latest mitochondrial replacement paper by Ted MorrowTed's BlogJune 14th, 2016The reaction from many has been upbeat, but my reading of the paper is different. Despite all the warnings about mitonuclear mismatching, it is apparently glossed over by scientists and science communicators alike."
UK Researchers Now Say Three-Person Embryo Technique Doesn't Work; Propose New Methodby Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJune 8th, 2016New research shows the mitochondrial manipulation technique recently legalized in the UK faces major unknowns.
Unheard Publics in the Human Genome Editing Policy Debateby Elliot HosmanJune 8th, 2016The socially dangerous prospect of using genome editing tools for human reproduction underlies the need for caution in modifying embryos in basic research.
On Cyborgs and Gene Editing: Lessons from Orphan Blackby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical Times guest contributorJune 1st, 2016The television show takes a cue from science fiction author Donna Haraway and engages the dangers of human genetic modification.
British scientist can genetically modify human embryos, ethics committee saysby Lydia WillgressThe Telegraph [UK]May 27th, 2016Following HFEA approval in February, a local ethics committee approves Kathy Niakan's program to CRISPR human embryos for basic research.
Netherlands gives green light for growing human embryos by Agence France-PresseThe GuardianMay 27th, 2016The Dutch government sanctions "limited research" to help infertile couples and to tackle hereditary or congenital diseases.
Four steps to rebuild trust in biologyby Filipo Lentzos & Nicholas EvansThe GuardianMay 23rd, 2016Secrecy, safety breaches and controversial experiments are risking the reputation of biomedical science.
Surrogacy laws for single parents to change after court ruling BBCMay 23rd, 2016UK surrogacy laws that prevent single people from claiming parental rights are set to change following a ruling by the Family Division of the High Court.
Bill Banning Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy Consideredby Tanya LewisThe ScientistMay 19th, 2016A US Senate committee is considering extending a ban on federal funds for research involving genetically modifying human embryos, which includes germline mitochondrial manipulation techniques.
UK should freeze mitochondrial replacement as Egli paper ID’s serious problemby Paul KnoepflerThe NicheMay 19th, 2016New research, which shows that transfer of one egg's nucleus into another egg might bring along diseased mitochondria, warrants putting an immediate hold on all efforts to use the technique in humans.
It's not just stem cell research that's overhyped—medical science spin is a widespread problemby Kelly CroweCBC NewsMay 18th, 2016The International Society for Stem Cell Research is urging scientists to manage public expectations.
Fertility watchdog ‘increasingly concerned’ about dubious treatments sold by private clinics as experts warn childless couples are being exploitedby Ian JohnstonThe Independent [UK]May 15th, 2016Private fertility clinics may be offering "add-on" treatments that are unwarranted and ineffective, with consequences for patients' health and finances.
Google's DeepMind shouldn't suck up our NHS records in secretby Randeep RameshThe Guardian [US]May 4th, 2016The revelation that 1.6 million patients’ records are being used by the company’s artificial intelligence arm rings alarm bells.
Cultural Influences Reflected in Divergent US vs UK Human Embryo Research Policies[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Eli Y. AdashiThe JAMA ForumMay 3rd, 2016Reactions to CRISPR gene editing experiments depend upon a country's existing laws and regulation.
US moves to sell gene-edited mushrooms fuel doubts over British ban on GM importsby Robin McKieThe Guardian April 23rd, 2016The USDA approved CRISPR-modified crops, but a European regulatory committee's delays are dismaying some UK researchers.
AstraZeneca launches project to sequence 2 million genomesby Heidi LedfordNature NewsApril 22nd, 2016One of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies is partnering with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Craig Venter's Human Longevity to look for rare genetic differences between individuals.
Gene-editing research in human embryos gains momentumby Ewen CallawayNature NewsApril 19th, 2016Research experiments are now approved in Sweden, China and the United Kingdom.
Identity, disability and the genomeby Felicity BoardmanBioNewsApril 11th, 2016The voices of families living with the genetic diseases to be targeted by germline gene editing must be heard. It is their lives and stories that offer the most valuable insights into what we stand to lose.
‘Buffer genes’ may protect these 13 people from rare genetic diseasesby Jocelyn KaiserScience/AAASApril 11th, 2016Researchers analyzed the DNA of 589,000 anonymous donors, but could not contact the 13 people to verify they were healthy.
Jeremy Kyle DNA testing firm sees its £4.99 paternity testing kits flying off the shelvesby Tony McDonoughLiverpool EchoMarch 28th, 2016A company in the UK has begun selling paternity testing kits in discount chain stores -- and they are flying off the shelves.
Number of British women freezing their eggs soarsby Press AssociationThe GuardianMarch 23rd, 2016According to an HFEA report, the success rate of using frozen eggs was 14%, compared with an average 26% success rate of IVF using fresh eggs.
The Government seem more interested in our genes than our voicesby Edward Hockings & Lewis CoyneThe GuardianMarch 15th, 2016Policymakers in the UK are moving forward with plans to turn genetic information into potentially lucrative data. Can we trust our institutions with our genomes?
Uterus Transplants: Identifying Stakeholders & Objectionsby Elliot HosmanMarch 10th, 2016Clinical trials have migrated from Sweden to the US, and questions regarding safety, ethics, and social justice are mounting.
My Genes, Myself?by Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times guest contributorMarch 8th, 2016We have become accustomed to ascribing agency to individual genes. But every now and then a story comes along that reminds us just how foolish we are.
Over 80 surrogate babies born abroad for Irish parentsby Catherine ShanahanThe Irish ExaminerMarch 4th, 2016Ireland is drafting legislation covering surrogacy after a delegation trip to India where the majority of Irish couples go to engage a surrogate mother.
Cautious approach warranted for new gene-editing techniqueby Paul KnoepflerThe Sacramento BeeFebruary 13th, 2016We urgently need a moratorium on using CRISPR technology on future people, and a full public debate while we learn more about its potential positive and negative effects.
We need to talk about egg freezingby Eva WisemanThe GuardianFebruary 7th, 2016It’s expensive, frustrating and can be traumatic. As more and more women make the choice to freeze their eggs, do they know exactly what they’re getting into?
A Cautious Approach to Mitochondrial Replacementby Françoise BaylisImpact EthicsFebruary 3rd, 2016While the motivation with mitochondrial replacement (MRT) is distinct from cloning, the transfer technology is the same. MRT can legitimately be seen as a “quiet way station” in which to refine the techniques essential for other genetic interventions (including cloning).
Britian has jumped the gun on gene editing by Donna DickensonTelegraph [UK]February 2nd, 2016Particularly where the germline of humanity as a whole is concerned, caution and cooperation should prevail.
We Are Not Ready to Edit Human Embryos Yetby J. Craig VenterTimeFebruary 2nd, 2016Due to our insufficient knowledge, the slippery slope to human enhancement, and the global ban on human experimentation, we need to better understand the software of life before we begin re-writing this code.
U.K. Scientists Given OK to Use ‘Gene Editing’ on Human Embryos[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by David MillsHealthlineFebruary 1st, 2016The experiments raise raised concerns over the possibility that “designer babies” will eventually be produced by using gene editing to alter the DNA of embryos.
Britain approves controversial gene-editing experiments[cites CGS’s Marcy Darnovsky]by Maria ChengAssociated PressFebruary 1st, 2016"This is the first step on a path that scientists have carefully mapped out towards the legalization" of genetically modified babies, said David King of Human Genetics Alert.
Center for Genetics and Society Statement on UK Approval of Gene Editing Research Using Human Embryos[Press statement]February 1st, 2016“Is today's decision part of a strategy to overturn the widespread agreement that puts genetically modified humans off limits?”
A Monkey Circles in a Cageby Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 29th, 2016Researchers created transgenic monkeys with a gene duplication associated with Rett Syndrome autism in humans, raising concerns of the limits and ethics of using animal models in biomedical research.
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.
Genetic Issues at the London Sperm Bankby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJanuary 22nd, 2016The policy of turning away potential sperm donors with infectious diseases and “genetic issues” signals to people living with dyslexia, autism, ADHD, and other human variation that they are unwanted in the present and the future.
End of the 'Test Tube Baby' as New Technique Allows IVF Fertilisation in Wombby Sarah KnaptonThe Telegraph [UK]January 19th, 2016The technique involves placing egg and sperm cells into a tiny silicone capsule and inserting it into the womb.
Down's Syndrome people risk 'extinction' at the hands of science, fear and ignoranceby Tim StanleyThe TelegraphJanuary 18th, 2016The true moral test of a society is not how pretty, sober or well organised it is – but how it treats its most vulnerable, even its most difficult, citizens.
Take an online DNA test and you could be revealing far more than you realiseby Andelka Phillips The ConversationJanuary 12th, 2016Consumers shouldn't rely on the terms of personal genomics companies' contracts to protect their privacy or rights.
I fathered 800 children, claims sperm donorby Natalie Morton & Sarah BellBBC NewsJanuary 11th, 2016An unlicensed UK sperm donor has been connecting with intended parents online for 16 years, donating once a week and charging $50 a pop.
False Inevitabilities and Irrational Exuberanceby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJanuary 8th, 2016In the aftermath on December’s gene editing summit, disquieting themes have emerged in some mainstream media and science blogs.
Screening sperm donors for autism? As an autistic person, I know that’s the road to eugenics[cites CGS]by Ari Ne'emanThe GuardianDecember 30th, 2015The London Sperm Bank and other clinics are using technology and making decisions to remove certain people from future generations.
First GMO Corn, then Frankenfish, and Now — Get Ready for Designer Babies[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Janet PhelanActivist PostDecember 25th, 2015“The medical arguments are tenuous and the possible social consequences are grave” for modifying the human germline.
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.
GM Insects and Moral Blackmailby  Jack Stilgoe and Sarah HartleyThe Guardian [UK]December 17th, 2015Scientists have raised concerns about extreme and potentially existential environmental and security risks, including the extinction of species and/or ecosystems.
Church May Back GM Embryos to Cure Inherited Diseasesby Oliver MoodyThe TimesDecember 14th, 2015The Church of England could agree to the genetic modification of human embryos.
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."
[UK] Baby girl is first in the world to be treated with 'designer immune cells'by Ian SampleThe GuardianNovember 5th, 2015Genetically engineered cells were used to successfully treat an aggressive form of childhood leukaemia, though the experimental treatment had only been tested on mice.
'Modern twist' on fertility technique may offer hope for sterile menby Denis CampbellThe GuardianNovember 2nd, 2015Fourteen children have been born in a trial in Japan using immature sperm cells, injected into electrically stimulated eggs – a method banned in the UK since the 1990s.
Would you take a genetic test that could lay bare your destiny?by Rowan HooperNew ScientistOctober 29th, 2015Plaques and Tangles, a play now at the Royal Court in London, takes on issues of personal genomics, carrier status testing, and Alzheimer's, asking: "Are we architects of our own destiny or prisoners of our genes?"
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?
NAS Human Gene Editing Meeting: Agenda & Public Participationby Paul KnoepflerThe NicheOctober 26th, 2015The National Academies have released a draft agenda for the upcoming summit on human gene editing.
[UK] Women "are being given false hope" over freezing eggsby Harriet MeyerThe GuardianOctober 24th, 2015Fertility experts say the UK agency that regulates fertility treatments is not doing enough to make clear the success rates of freezing and banking their eggs.
Feminists, get ready: pregnancy and abortion are about to be disruptedby Eleanor RobertsonThe GuardianOctober 12th, 2015A clinical trial of uterine transplants will begin soon in the UK. Are artificial wombs on the horizon?
First 'in womb' stem cell trial to beginby James GallagherBBCOctober 12th, 2015A UK clinical trial injecting fetal stem cells into babies still in the womb will attempt to lessen symptoms of an incurable brittle bone diseases.
UK Womb Transplants: 5 Ethical Issuesby Rachael RettnerLive ScienceOctober 5th, 2015The procedure would expose both patient and developing fetus to autoimmune suppressants, use uteruses from deceased donors, and require that clinical patients have a "long-term partner."
Womb transplants given UK go-aheadBBCSeptember 30th, 2015Ten women will be chosen for a clinical trial that will transplant a donated uterus, monitor organ acceptance for a year, and initiate up to two IVF pregnancies before removing the transplant.
Why Some Parents Choose to Have a Deaf Babyby Rich WordsworthMotherboardSeptember 29th, 2015Some deaf parents ask, "What’s wrong with being deaf, anyway? I’m happy to be who I am."
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?
The hidden risks for 'three-person' babiesby Garry HamiltonNature NewsSeptember 23rd, 2015"There's a definite possibility you'd see things like disrupted fertility function, various forms of metabolic syndromes and changes in things that relate to metabolism in general."
British scientists seek to edit the genes of embryos; bioethicists warn of potential dangers[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Ariana Eunjung ChaWashington PostSeptember 18th, 2015In a "troubling and provocative move," UK researchers have applied to genetically modify human embryos, short-circuiting a nascent international conversation.
Center for Genetics and Society comments on First Application to Pursue Genome Editing Research in Human Embryos[Press statement]September 18th, 2015"If scientists and the regulatory agency in the UK are serious about responsible use of powerful new gene altering technologies, they won't be rushing ahead in ways that could open the door to genetically modified humans."
Sperm donation: Inside a deeply emotive world of powerful incentives, polarised views and heated debatesby Kate HilpernThe IndependentSeptember 13th, 2015Powerful incentives are at stake – women desperate for babies, the fertility industry seeking profits, and many donor-conceived offspring claiming their basic human rights are being violated.
Fertility Industry Errors Created Doubt over Parental Status of Sperm Donor Couples by Ruth McKeeThe Guardian [UK]September 12th, 2015A judge says the UK fertility agency's failures are "alarming and shocking," and reveal "widespread incompetence across the sector."
GM embryos 'essential', says reportby James GallagherBBCSeptember 10th, 2015A stem cell consortium issues a statement advocating for germline gene editing of human embryos, and that GM babies may be "morally acceptable" under some circumstances in the future.
Kuwait's War on ISIS and DNAby Dawn FieldOxford University Press BlogSeptember 3rd, 2015Amid other national genomic projects, Kuwait's mandatory DNA collection is the first use of DNA testing at the national-level for security reasons, counter-terrorism.
Calls for IVF laws to be changed to take advantage of gene editing technique by Steve ConnorThe IndependentSeptember 2nd, 2015A statement by medical research funders in the UK suggests that benefits of modifying the human germ-line could outweigh the ethical objections.
How We Should Rethink the Role of Technical Expertise in GMO Regulation[India]by Dhvani Mehta and Yashaswini MittalThe WireAugust 31st, 2015The regulation of GMOs represents a good opportunity to rethink the role of public participation and non-technical knowledge in environmental regulatory discourse in general.
Are Milder IVF Methods the Way Forward? [UK]by Ruth WoodThe TelegraphAugust 3rd, 2015Some NHS groups have recently approved a provider of gentler, safer methods of fertility treatment. But is this as successful as conventional IVF?
Who's Advising the Government on Human Genetics?by Alice MaynardBioNewsJune 29th, 2015A diversity of voices is needed to hold the UK government accountable, instead of relying upon experts to predict long-term consequences no one can accurately foresee.
UK Seeks Regulatory Advice for “Mitochondrial Replacement,” Fails to Mention Cross-Generational Implicationsby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 17th, 2015How does one go about regulating the world’s first cross-generational biological experiment in human germline modification? The regulating body in charge isn’t exactly sure.
Gene Editing of Human Embryos – More Ethical Questions to Answerby Dr Calum MacKellarBioNewsMay 11th, 2015It is clear that the safety and efficiency of gene-editing procedures on early embryos give rise to significant biomedical challenges. Ethical questions also need to be addressed.
Can we Still Rely on DNA Sampling to Crack Crime?by Danny ShawBBC NewsMay 5th, 2015The new arrangements are so convoluted that even the man responsible for overseeing them has cast doubt as to whether they can work effectively and fairly.
Gene Therapy's 'Temporary Benefits' for Retina DiseaseBBCMay 4th, 2015Two trials of gene therapy on an inherited form of blindness in children have shown some patients' eyesight can be improved - but only temporarily.
Hi-Tech DNA Machines Cause Concernby Oscar QuineThe IndependentApril 26th, 2015Police forces across the UK are testing technology that allows officers to analyse DNA samples in custody suites, amid fears that civil liberties could be infringed and evidence compromised.
With World Watching, UK Allows Experiments to Genetically Alter Babiesby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 4th, 2015Despite several possibly insurmountable legal and safety hurdles, the House of Lords gave the final approval needed to move into fertility clinics the embryo modification techniques referred to as “mitochondrial donation.”
Reproduction 3.0by Leah RamsayBerman Institute of Bioethics BulletinFebruary 26th, 2015Bioethics scholars discuss the science and ethics of the UK vote to allow mitochondrial manipulation procedures.
Mitochondrial Gene Therapy Passes Final U.K. Vote[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Gretchen VogelScience InsiderFebruary 24th, 2015The technique is controversial because the modified DNA would be passed on to future generations.
The Truth about Mitochondrial Replacementby Françoise BaylisImpact EthicsFebruary 23rd, 2015If we are to have honest conversation about possible benefits and harms of mitochondrial replacement, we should start by acknowledging that discussions to date have been a distraction.
Blog: Three Parent IVFby Dr Trevor StammersSt Mary’s University BlogFebruary 16th, 2015At our current stage of understanding of the interactions between mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, this proposed new therapy could turn out to be a monstrous mistake.
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.
ADF to European Parliament: UK ‘Three-Parent Embryo’ Legislation IllegalGlobal DispatchFebruary 13th, 2015Couples can be helped without tampering with the building blocks of humanity. The issue comes down to fundamental human rights and the constitutional traditions of the member states.
Britain is on the Brink of a Perilous Vote for 'Three-Person In Vitro Fertilization'by Marcy Darnovsky and Jessica CussinsLos Angeles TimesFebruary 8th, 2015Crossing this threshold raises a profound societal question that until now has been hypothetical: As biotechnologies improve and enable us to make more specific genetic changes in our offspring, how far will we go?
Big Data and Privacy Rightsby Xavier SymonsBioEdgeFebruary 7th, 2015A review of the British Government’s "care.data" scheme has found that the existing privacy framework needs major revision.
UK Set to Legalize Babies With DNA From 3 Parents[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]KQED RadioFebruary 6th, 2015Bay Area public radio discusses the technology and whether the U.S. and other countries may follow Britain's lead.
Breaking Down The Science Of '3-Parent Babies'[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Alyona MinkovskiHuffPost LiveFebruary 4th, 2015The U.K. has approved creating babies with the DNA of three different people. We break down the pros, cons and controversy.
U.K. Parliament Approves Controversial Three-Parent Mitochondrial Gene Therapy[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Gretchen Vogel and Erik StokstadScienceFebruary 3rd, 2015Despite warnings from scientists, the United Kingdom’s House of Commons voted to allow British researchers to pursue a new fertility treatment that could prevent certain kinds of genetic diseases.
23andMe Only Heightens the Need for Genetic Counsellingby Dr Joyce HarperBioNewsFebruary 2nd, 2015At no point is there any involvement from a physician or genetic counsellor to explain what is being tested for or the consequences of the results.
Three-Person IVF: Science Shows Ethical Questions Remain Unansweredby Ted MorrowThe ConversationFebruary 1st, 2015Bioethicists, policy makers and the general public need to appreciate that genes act in networks and if edited may have unpredictable effects on processes and traits.
Big Push for 3-parent Technology in UK: Some Thoughts From the Other Sideby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogJanuary 30th, 2015We cannot at this time have a reasonable expectation that this technology would be safe and effective.
UK May Be Poised for “Historic Mistake” on “3-Person IVF”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 22nd, 2015A Parliamentary vote is expected as soon as February.
UK Moratorium on Use of Genetic Tests by Insurers Extendedby Philippa BricePHG FoundationJanuary 21st, 2015The purpose of the UK moratorium is similarly to ensure that individuals are not debarred from health or life insurance as a result of genetic testing.
Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests Should Come With a Health Warningby Jessica CussinsThe Pharmaceutical JournalJanuary 15th, 2015Genetic testing is appropriate in certain situations, but for healthy people as a way to predict disease, it is imprecise and comes with a number of risks.
New Three-Parent Baby Law ‘is Flawed and Open to Challenge’, says Senior Lawyerby Steve ConnorThe Independent [UK]January 14th, 2015The UK Government’s attempt to legalise so-called “three parent” babies is open to challenge by judicial review, warns international law expert Daniel Brennan.
Scientists Use Skin Cells to Create Artificial Sperm and Eggsby Ian SampleThe Guardian December 24th, 2014Researchers in Cambridge converted adult skin tissue into precursors for sperm and eggs.
Commercialized Conception Casualties: "Brave" Baby Making?by Mirah RibenHuffington PostDecember 22nd, 2014Hiring surrogates and purchasing sperm, eggs, or others' leftover frozen embryos have become accepted as choices on a menu of options.
European Court Opens Door for Stem Cell PatentingGenetic Engineering & Biotechnology NewsDecember 18th, 2014The European Court of Justice ruled that human embryonic stem cell patents could be allowed if organisms can't develop into human being.
Top Biopolitical Times Posts of 2014by Jessica Cussins & Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 18th, 2014In 2014, CGS staffers and contributors posted 107 blogs in Biopolitical Times. These are twelve of our favorites.
23andMe and the Future of Home DNA Testingby David McNameeMedical News TodayDecember 10th, 2014The Google-associated home DNA test company 23andMe will launch its kit in the UK. In the US, however, health results from 23andMe remain unavailable.
Controversial DNA Test Comes to UK[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Michelle Roberts and Paul RinconBBCDecember 2nd, 2014The UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency says the 23andMe spit test can be used with caution. But critics say it may not be accurate enough to base health decisions on.
Deceptive Labeling of a Radical Embryo Construction Techniqueby Stuart A. NewmanThe Huffington PostDecember 1st, 2014The British Parliament appears poised to give the go-ahead to a set of techniques for generating infants which, if implemented, would constitute the first cases of large-scale human genetic engineering.
He May Have Unravelled DNA, but James Watson Deserves to be Shunnedby Adam RutherfordThe GuardianDecember 1st, 2014The scientist is crying poverty and selling his Nobel prize medal, but why should anyone be interested in his racist, sexist views?
Exclusive: First Gene Therapy Drug Sets Million-Euro Price Recordby Ludwig Burger and Ben HirschlerReutersNovember 26th, 2014The Western world's first gene therapy drug is set to go on sale in Germany with a $1.4 million price tag, a new record for a medicine to treat a rare disease.
Why Worry About Genetically Modified Babies?by Marcy Darnovsky and Jessica CussinsGeneWatchNovember 24th, 2014The terms "genetically modified babies" and "designer babies" are attention-getters. But beyond the catchy sound bites, what do they really mean - and are they something we need to worry about?
Human Germline Modification in the UK? Cries of Caution from all Cornersby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 13th, 201475% of submissions about three-person IVF to the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee warn that more evidence is needed prior to offering these techniques.
Combining The DNA Of Three People Raises Ethical Questionsby Rob SteinNPRNovember 10th, 2014It would be the first time genetic changes have been made in human DNA that would be passed on, down the generations, through the germline.
MPs Vote to Make Sex Selection Abortion Illegalby Georgia GrahamDaily Telegraph [UK]November 4th, 2014MPs vote 181 to 1 for a motion brought forward by a cross-party alliance in an effort to end uncertainty over the law.
Open Letter to UK Parliament: Avoid Historic Mistake on Rushing Human Genetic Modificationby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogNovember 2nd, 2014There are too many unanswered questions and risks that remain to allow it to proceed at this time. In fact, moving forward with it would most likely be a tragic mistake for the UK.
What Good is a Scientific Meeting If You Dismiss the Science?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2014The Science and Technology Committee of the UK Parliament held an evidence hearing last week to examine the science and proposed regulation of so-called “mitochondrial donation,” or “3-person IVF,” but huge swaths of evidence were widely dismissed.
Why We Should Teach the History of Eugenicsby Jonathan ChernoguzBiopolitical TimesOctober 28th, 2014Two prominent universities have launched initiatives to focus on the history of eugenics.
Minister Sparks Backlash for Suggesting Foreigners Could Undergo 'Three-Parent Babies' IVF Treatment in Britainby Ben Riley-SmithTelegraphOctober 23rd, 2014MPs and peers from across the political divide raised fears the move could create a new front of health tourism, with foreigners coming to the UK to circumvent bans in their home countries.
Eugenics: The Academy's Complicityby Nathaniel Adam Tobias ColemanTimes Higher EducationOctober 9th, 2014The University of London will face up to its complicity in constructing unjust racial hierarchy, 110 years to the day that the university legitimised Francis Galton's research on eugenics.
The Collapse of a Dangerous Analogy: Or, why mitochondria are much more than batteries by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 29th, 2014Amid a flood of new evidence that mitochondria impact an individual’s traits, the editors at New Scientist have made a “U-turn” on “three-parent babies.” Their new conclusion: “It’s more messy than we thought.”
Three-Parent Babies: It's More Messy Than we Thoughtby EditorialNew ScientistSeptember 18th, 2014It appears that we may have seriously underestimated the influence that mitochondria have. Recent research suggests that they play a key role in some of the most important features of human life.
New Poll Finds Only 18% of British Adults in Support of "3-Person IVF"by Jessica CussinsBiopolitcal TimesSeptember 15th, 2014A newly released poll finds substantial public reluctance to change UK law to allow the genetic modification of future generations.
Myth Replacement Therapy: MPs Debate the Science of Mitochondriaby Dr. Ted MorrowBioNewsSeptember 8th, 2014There are clearly misconceptions about mitochondrial genetics repeated during the debate that are not supported by current scientific evidence.
"3-Person IVF" Debated in UK Parliamentby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 3rd, 2014The debate in Britain over combining eggs or embryos to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial disease received a public airing, though no firm conclusion, in the House of Commons on September 1st.
Britain will be considered a 'rogue state' if it creates GM people, MP warnsPress AssociationSeptember 1st, 2014Allowing mitochondrial replacement therapy to prevent the birth of children with incurable diseases could lead to people being created for 'harvesting their parts'
British baby Gammy: Surrogate claims mum refused to take disabled twinby Ellen WallworkParentDishAugust 26th, 2014A British surrogate mother of twins has said the intended mother rejected one of the babies because she was born with a disability.
Medical dilemma of 'three-parent babies': Fertility clinic investigates health of teenagers it helped to be conceived through controversial IVF techniqueby Steve ConnorThe Independent (UK)August 25th, 2014A private fertility clinic in the United States has launched an investigation into the health of 17 teenagers who were born as a result of a controversial IVF technique that produced the world’s first “three-parent” embryos more than 15 years ago.
Should We Open the Door to Genetically Modified Babies?by Jessica CussinsCNBCAugust 11th, 2014There has been a lot of confusion around this controversial issue, but as we are now facing a historic crossroads, it is important to set the record straight.
Genetic Testing of Citizens: A Backdoor Into Total Population Surveillance by Governments, Companiesby Helen WallaceEpoch TimesAugust 3rd, 2014The new Chief Executive of England's National Health Service wants to make people’s personal genetic information the basis of their treatments.
Genome Project Will Transform Cancer Careby Ian SampleThe Guardian [UK]July 31st, 2014About 40,000 patients with cancer and rare diseases will have their genomes sequenced, which David Cameron claims will transform how serious diseases are diagnosed and treated.
Eugenic Policies of the Past Teach Sobering Lessonsby Calum MacKellarThe ScotsmanJuly 24th, 2014The support of Scottish thinkers for eugenics is revealed in a new book entitled The Ethics of the New Eugenics.
Making Sense of the BRAINby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJuly 24th, 2014As criticisms of the brain projects on both sides of the Atlantic ramp up, what lessons can be learned from the successes and failures of the Human Genome Project?
Three Person IVF Plans 'Progress' in UKby Smitha MundasadBBCJuly 22nd, 2014"Looking back 15 years from now in the midst of a designer baby marketplace, people will see this as the moment when the crucial ethical line was crossed."
Procedure to Create Babies with Three People's DNA Could be Legalised in April [UK]by Ian SampleThe Guardian July 22nd, 2014The Department of Health will press ahead with regulations on mitochondrial transfer after public consultation, but several hurdles remain.
Safety Concerns Remain Over Three-Person IVFby Ted MorrowThe GuardianJuly 22nd, 2014There is a lack of data from species more closely related to humans – a gap in our knowledge that would be wise to fill before proceeding to clinical trials.
Scientists Threaten to Boycott €1.2bn Human Brain Projectby Ian SampleThe GuardianJuly 6th, 2014Researchers say a European commission-funded initiative to simulate the human brain suffers from 'substantial failures.'
The Brave New World of Three-Parent I.V.F.[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Kim TingleyNew York Times MagazineJune 27th, 2014The historic nature of the moment has turned the technique into a symbol, a red line separating humanity from a dystopian or progressive future, depending on how you look at it.
Selling the Next False Hope? How Experimental IVF Techniques Could be Legalized Despite Increasing Evidence of Potential Harmby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 24th, 2014Contrary to official reports, new evidence shows that “3-person IVF” could pose serious risks to women and children. So why are we being told that it’s a “not unsafe” option?
Three Parents and a Baby - Scientists Advise Caution with Regard to Artificial Insemination MethodHealth CanalJune 18th, 2014One mitochondrial type may be able to assert itself against the other. If the assertive one happens to carry the defective mtDNA, the benefit of the therapy would be jeopardized.
Lord Winston Criticises 'Jungle' World of British Fertility Treatmentby Steve ConnorThe IndependentJune 15th, 2014In his strongest attack yet on the UK's "incompetent" IVF watchdog, the fertility medicine pioneer says the field is now being driven by profit, often at the expense of patients.
Should Three People be Allowed to Make a Baby?by Arielle Duhaime-RossVergeJune 12th, 2014Researchers might soon make a child with three genetic parents, but the ethics of "designer babies" haven't been worked out.
"Three-Person IVF" Update Reveals How Little We Knowby Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostJune 5th, 2014The UK fertility regulator has been saying the techniques are "not unsafe" for three years now. This should not be interpreted to mean that they are in fact safe.
"3-Person IVF” Update Reveals How Little We Knowby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 5th, 2014A new report on the safety and efficacy of three-person IVF confirms that it would be dangerous and misguided to allow these techniques into UK fertility clinics anytime soon.
Genetic Information is Irrelevant to Most People's Care[Press Release]GeneWatch UKJune 4th, 2014"Plans to sequence everybody's genomes in the NHS are driven by commercial interests and are not in the public interest," said Dr Helen Wallace of GeneWatch UK.
The Genome's Big Data Problemby Joseph CoxMother BoardJune 4th, 2014Serious concerns around genetic data need to be handled before we all jump on the genome band wagon. How will the data be stored? Who will be able to access it? What security will be in place?
Making Embryos from 3 People Doesn't Look Unsafe[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Maria ChengAssociated PressJune 3rd, 2014Britain's fertility regulator called for further experiments before patients are treated. If approved, Britain would become the first country in the world to allow embryos to be genetically modified this way.
Will the UK Disrupt the Global Consensus against Human Germline Modifications?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMay 14th, 2014What might be the short and long-term effects on global policy if the UK allows the creation of embryos with permanently altered genetic makeup?
NHS Fertility Treatments Allow Two-Mum Families to Reach Record Levels by Emily DuganThe IndependentMarch 27th, 2014Record numbers of lesbian couples are becoming parents through fertility treatment, official figures show. The number of two-mum families jumped by more than a third in 2012 in the UK.
Slowing the Rush to Genetically Modified Babiesby Enola AirdMomsRisingMarch 22nd, 2014The United Kingdom is moving closer to allowing scientists to create genetically modified children – something no country in the world currently authorizes.
Letter to HFEA: Consider the Risks of “Mitochondrial Manipulation” Discussed by the FDA by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMarch 21st, 2014A letter signed by 53 prominent scholars and advocates has been sent to the UK agency considering clinical trials of so-called "mitochondrial manipulation."
Majority of UK Women Oppose Legalizing the Creation of "3-Person Embryos"by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 19th, 2014A just-completed poll has found that the UK public is deeply conflicted about the government's move to legalize the creation of "3-person embryos."
New Polling Raises Public Safety Concerns About Three Parent Children Proposalsby Press ReleaseCareMarch 13th, 2014A new opinion poll supports the concern that the Government is rushing ahead with its plans to allow the creation of 3-parent children without public support or the necessary safety tests.
What We Know About Three-Parent In Vitro Fertilizationby Jessica CussinsRH Reality CheckMarch 13th, 2014The creation of genetically manipulated babies would be a huge and dangerous step. So, what's the evidence about efficacy and safety, and what are the available alternatives?
UK Opens Public Consultation on Draft Regulations to Permit “Three-Person Embryos”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 6th, 2014The UK Department of Health has released draft regulations and begun a three-month public consultation for what it terms “mitochondrial donation.”
U.K. Government Proposes Rules to Allow 'Three-Parent Embryos'by Gretchen VogelScience InsiderFebruary 27th, 2014The U.K. government issued proposed regulations that would allow researchers to try a new and controversial technique that would result in a form of genetic alteration that could be passed on to future generations.
Genetically Modified Babiesby Marcy DarnovskyThe New York TimesFebruary 23rd, 2014An advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration is set to consider radical biological procedures that, if successful, would produce genetically modified human beings. This is a dangerous step.
FDA Asked to Approve Creation of Genetically Modified Childrenby Stuart A. NewmanHuffington PostFebruary 20th, 2014The creation of "three-parent babies" has been touted as a relatively trivial tweaking of the reproductive process to enable women with compromised eggs to become genetic mothers of unaffected children. These claims of high impact health benefits from a low-risk procedure cannot be squared with scientific reality.
What are the Best Interests of the Child in International Surrogacy?by Professor Eric Blyth, Dr Marilyn Crawshaw and Professor Olga van den AkkerBioNewsFebruary 17th, 2014As the surrogacy industry grows, so too do calls for a loosening of international and domestic restraints. A consequence of this is the potential marginalization of the best interests of children.
Why we Should Opt Out of the Government's New Patient Databaseby Edward HockingsThe GuardianJanuary 31st, 2014Medical records in England and Wales will soon be linked to whole-sequenced genomes. Choosing to "opt out" is also taking a stand on what kind of society we want in the future.
The Era Of Genetically-Altered Humans Could Begin This Yearby David DiSalvoForbesJanuary 26th, 2014By the middle of 2014, the prospect of altering DNA to produce a genetically-modified human could move from science fiction to science reality.
Is genius in the genes?by Steven RoseTESJanuary 24th, 2014The debate about genes and intelligence has resurfaced, and it’s more fervent than ever. Can achievement truly be inherited? Should education be tailored to individuals’ genetic potential?
Soaring sales of 'dangerous' do-it-yourself DNA test kits: Number of websites selling products doubles in two yearsby Sean PoulterDaily Mail (UK)January 20th, 2014Sales of DNA tests for everything from the risk of developing life-threatening diseases to catching out cheating partners are booming, though many scientists suggest that DIY home DNA testing could cause real harm.
[UK] NHS patient data to be made available for sale to drug and insurance firmsby Randeep RameshThe GuardianJanuary 19th, 2014Drug and insurance companies will from later this year be able to buy information on patients – including mental health conditions and diseases such as cancer, as well as smoking and drinking habits – once a single English database of medical data has been created. Harvested from GP and hospital records, medical data covering the entire population will be uploaded to the repository controlled by a new arms-length NHS information centre, starting in March. Never before has the entire medical history of the nation been digitised and stored in one place.
The UK's Deplorable Witch Hunt Against Asian Women by Marge BererRH Reality CheckJanuary 16th, 2014Since The Telegraph's sex-selective abortion sting last year, there's been a witch hunt against abortion providers that is now threatening to become the equivalent of stop-and-search against Asian women.
Illegal abortion of female foetuses by some ethnic groups who favour sons has reduced female populationby Keith PerryThe Telegraph [UK]January 15th, 2014Some ethnic communities in Britain are requesting illegal abortions on grounds of sex, according to a Telegraph investigation.
Should Persons Affected by Mitochondrial Disorders Not be Brought Into Existence?by Professor Calum MacKellarBioNewsJanuary 6th, 2014What is being proposed is not a form of therapy in which a person is being treated or cured for a disorder. Instead, it is making sure that certain persons are not brought into existence.
The Three-Parent Dilemma by Enola AirdMomsRisingDecember 17th, 2013The United Kingdom is on the verge of permitting scientists to move forward with a procedure that would alter the human germline. Mothers everywhere should be deeply concerned.
Three Biological Parents and a Babyby Karen WeintraubThe New York TimesDecember 16th, 2013“This crosses a line drawn by many scientists and bioethicists at altering the genetic profile of unborn children,” an F.D.A. panel wrote.
Professor Plomin Goes to Parliamentby John GillottBioNewsDecember 16th, 2013The House of Commons Education Committee, currently investigating 'underachievement in education of white working class children,' heard about the genetics of children with learning disabilities.
Similar But Not Identical: Study Reveals More About Twins Than About Educationby Steve ConnorIndependentDecember 13th, 2013The headlines this week about a new study of the role of genetics in educational achievement told only part of the story.
Designer Sperm Passes Selected Genes to Future GenerationsGenetic Engineering and Biotechnology NewsDecember 3rd, 2013UK scientists have found a way to insert new genetic material into mouse spermatozoa so that it remains functional after passing through at least three generations.
Are Three Parents One Too Many?[Quotes CGS]by Stephen L. CarterBloombergNovember 27th, 2013The U.K. may soon approve a regulatory proposal that would allow scientists to create a human embryo using the DNA of three individuals. What’s striking is how the many opponents span the political spectrum.
The Mixed Legacy of the UK’s Departing Fertility Regulatorby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 20th, 2013The departing chair of the UK agency that regulates fertility treatments is criticizing aspects of the fertility industry, but still champions a form of inheritable human genetic modification.
In Defence of Privacyby Dr Stuart HogarthBioNewsNovember 18th, 2013Not everyone is convinced that the public disclosure policy of the Personal Genome Project is the best response to the difficulties of safeguarding genomic confidentiality.
Limits Lifted on Number of Twins and Triplets Born Through IVFby Charlie CooperThe IndependentNovember 13th, 2013The UK's IVF regulator announced that clinics will no longer have to ensure that multiple births account for only 10 per cent of their successful cases.
An Inconvenient Truth: ICSI is Not Necessary for the Majority of IVF Patientsby Dr Steven FlemingBioNewsNovember 11th, 2013Some IVF practitioners advocate that all couples should be treated with ICSI, but concerns over its long-term safety have been raised.
Open-Access Genome Project Lands in UKby Ewen CallawayNatureNovember 7th, 2013The founder of the Personal Genome Project announced the launch of a UK edition, and a European franchise on the way for 2014.
Advocating Eugenics in the UK Department of Educationby Pete ShanksHuffington PostOctober 28th, 2013A senior adviser to the UK Secretary of State for Education has provoked a flurry of complaints about his technocratic, effectively eugenic, definitely gene-focused approach to public policy.
GPs Told They Must Warn Patients Against Having Sex-Selective Abortions by Daniel MartinThe Daily MailOctober 24th, 2013The UK's Chief Medical Officer will write to all family doctors to make it plain that abortions carried out solely on the grounds of the sex of the child are wrong.
A Former IVF Baby on "Three-Parent IVF"by Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostOctober 24th, 2013Mitochondrial replacement raises one of the thorniest questions humanity will ever face: are we willing to genetically modify future generations of humans?
1.7m DNA Profiles Cut From DatabasePress AssociationOctober 24th, 2013As part of the UK's commitment to slim down the amount of information held by the state, millions of DNA profiles and fingerprint records from innocent people have been deleted.
Advocating Eugenics in the UK Department of Educationby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 24th, 2013Dominic Cummings, a senior adviser to the UK Secretary of State for Education, recently provoked a flurry of complaints about his technocratic, effectively eugenic, definitely gene-focused approach to public policy.
Regulators Weigh Benefits of ‘Three-Parent’ Fertilization[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Erika Check HaydenNatureOctober 15th, 2013Scientists and other critics say mitochondrial replacement carries safety and ethical concerns.
Dominic Cummings may Disagree, but Wealth is Considerably More Heritable than Genesby Polly ToynbeeThe GuardianOctober 14th, 2013His section on genetics implies that human fate is sealed at birth, as the Calvinists and eugenicists thought.
Three parent babies 'incompatible with human dignity'by Nick CollinsThe Telegraph [UK]October 4th, 2013A group of 34 European politicians has signed a declaration attacking plans that would make the UK the first country in the world to permit the technique.
Scientists Warn Against “Three-Parent IVF” Experimentby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 25th, 2013Three evolutionary biologists enumerate a number of scientific studies and methodological shortcomings that have been overlooked in the debate on mitochondrial replacement. Their study has elicited numerous defensive responses, despite bringing important details to bear.
CGS Letter to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of EuropeSeptember 20th, 2013Regarding the UK's possible approval of "mitochondria replacement," techniques that constitute human inheritable genetic modification.
Don’t Use India’s Missing Girls to Deny Women Reproductive Rightsby Mallika DuttRH Reality CheckSeptember 16th, 2013The attention to son preference by the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee should be cause for celebration, but the people shaking their fists the hardest about the issue are actually those who are most hostile to women’s rights.
Consortium Receives $8M to Investigate Molecular Roots of Extreme AggressionGenomeWebSeptember 12th, 2013The European Union has approved and funded a project called Aggressotype, aimed at determining the molecular roots of extreme aggression in children.
The Politics of Sex Selective Abortion Bans in the UK and the USby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 12th, 2013Recent publicity in the UK, and lawsuits and legislative hearings in the US, are a reminder that right-wing activists make cynical use of the sex selection issue to restrict women's reproductive rights.
Republican Lawmakers Criticize Indian Government for Failing to Stop Sex-Selective Abortionsby Matthew PenningtonAssociated PressSeptember 10th, 2013A Congressional panel convened by a staunch opponent of abortion rights heard conflicting testimony about how to address sex selection in India.
The Campaign Against Sex-Selective Abortion is a Cynical Effort to Take Choice Away from Pregnant Women by Sarah DitumNewStatesmanSeptember 9th, 2013Sex selective abortion is abhorrent, and it must be prevented. But the Telegraph's campaign against it is part of its long-running attack on abortion provision.
Pro-Choice Feminists Should be More Appalled than Anyone by the Sex-Selection Abortion Storyby Tom ChiversThe TelegraphSeptember 6th, 2013Earlier this year, undercover reporters for this newspaper found that doctors in British clinics were willing to perform abortions on foetuses for no other reason than its sex. Pro-choice feminists need to address this honestly.
Gender Abortions: Criminal Charges Not in 'Public Interest' Says CPSby John Bingham, and Claire NewellThe TelegraphSeptember 4th, 2013UK doctors who agreed to arrange illegal abortions based on the fetus' sex won't face criminal charges, despite prosecutors admitting there is enough evidence to take them to court.
Elementary, My Dear Fluffy: Cat DNA Solves Another Homicideby Alan BoyleNBC NewsAugust 14th, 2013DNA from cat hairs has helped crack a homicide case, demonstrating again the power of genetic pet databases to solve crimes.
UK Forensic Science Slammed by Inquiryby Daniel CresseyNatureJuly 25th, 2013UK government failures over forensic science are leading to fragmentation, research gaps and possibly even miscarriages of justice, according to a parliamentary inquiry on the subject.
UK Medical Research Regulators Spared the Axeby Daniel CresseyNature News BlogJuly 18th, 2013The future of the UK regulatory bodies for human-embryo and human-tissue research has been safeguarded.
The Ethics of Three-Genetic-Parent Embryos[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Margaret SomervilleOttawa CitizenJuly 17th, 2013The human germline must be held on trust as the common heritage of humankind, no matter how much good we believe we could do by altering it.
Mice With Human Chromosomes - The Genetic Breakthrough That Could Revolutionise Medicine by Steve ConnorThe IndependentJuly 11th, 2013Scientists have created genetically-engineered mice with artificial human chromosomes in every cell of their bodies.
Eight Misconceptions about “Three-Parent Babies”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJuly 9th, 2013Amid the talk about “mitochondria replacement” or “three-parent babies," here are the top misconceptions proliferating about the efficacy, safety, public support, and societal implications.
A Slippery Slope to Human Germline Modificationby Marcy DarnovskyNatureJuly 9th, 2013The United Kingdom’s decision to trial the technique of mitochondrial replacement is premature and ill-conceived.
Jeremy Hunt launches genomics body to oversee healthcare revolutionby Randeep RameshThe GuardianJuly 4th, 2013Genomics England will aim to attract private investment in life sciences, but campaigners raise patient privacy concerns.
Expert Panel Debates the Manipulation of Human Genetics[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]CCTV AmericaJune 30th, 2013Anchor Elaine Reyes moderates a discussion between Marcy Darnovsky, Executive Director at the Center for Genetics and Society, and David King, Director at Human Genetics Alert, on the manipulation of human genetics.
Three Person IVFby Paula BoddingtonPractical EthicsJune 29th, 2013Unfortunately, this debate, like so many others in announcements of developing science and technology related to health in general and genetics in particular, is marred by hype and by urgency.
Three Parents? Sorry, But This is Science Gone Madby Melanie McDonaghTelegraphJune 29th, 2013We are ignoring the ethical implications of genetic interference in human babies.
Three Parent Baby[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]KPIX HealthWatchJune 27th, 2013Mitochondrial replacement would create "three parent babies," and could be attempted in humans soon, but carries risks to the child and broad societal consequences.
Public Interest Group Urges UK Government Not to Break International Consensus Against Inheritable Genetic Modification[Press statement]June 27th, 2013That the UK may move toward permitting mitochondrial replacement is particularly disturbing when the safety is very much in doubt, when its usefulness is dubious, and when the claim of public support is highly misleading at best.
UK Building DNA Database in the NHS 'By Stealth'by Helen WallacePublic Service EuropeMay 23rd, 2013The plan involves sequencing the DNA of everyone in England and adding this information as an attachment to each person's medical file.
Patenting Parthenotes: High Court Asks if Parthenotes are 'Human Embryos' Under the Biotech Directiveby Antony Blackburn-StarzaBioNewsApril 29th, 2013The UK's High Court has asked the Court of Justice of the European Union to clarify if human parthenotes fall under the definition of a human embryo for the purposes of patentability.
Your Genetic Make Up to be Stored, Without Consent, for Profit TechEyeApril 25th, 2013Genetic data is massively revealing. It can be used to identify relatives, and to assess the potential for passing recessive genetic disorders on to children.
“World's First GM Babies Born”: 12-Year-Old Article Continues to Cause Confusionby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 25th, 2013An undated Daily Mail article that is actually over a decade old continues to spread misinformation about human genetic modification.
The Baby Blueprint [VIDEO][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]Al Jazeera EnglishApril 22nd, 2013Would you choose your child's genetic potential? Live debate with Marcy Darnovsky, Stuart Newman, Julian Savulescu, and Nita Farahany.
Lord Robert Winston Warning Over Child ‘Eugenics’ by Lyndsay BucklandScotsmanApril 11th, 2013A leading fertility expert warns that reproductive technologies could enable a form of eugenics with serious implications for the individuals involved and society in general.
The Right to Speak Out[Editorial]NatureApril 9th, 2013Controversy over the results touted by a genetic-ancestry firm has highlighted the need for reform of the United Kingdom’s restrictive libel law.
Three-Parent Children in UK Possible After HFEA Report[Quotes the Center for Genetics and Society]by Michael CookBioEdgeApril 6th, 2013The UK fertility regulator's report to the government misrepresented its own findings about public opinion.
New gene therapy births 'designer baby' fearsby Gavin O'TooleAl Jazeera (English)April 3rd, 2013Critics say the move would be the first step towards the creation of "designer babies" and herald a new era of "consumer eugenics."
New Technology Can Make It So 1 Baby Has 3 Parents[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]CBS New YorkMarch 29th, 2013“People have characterized this as sliding down a slippery slope. This one actually throws us off a cliff."
UK May Be Close To Approving Nuclear Transfer Technique for IVF[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by John FarrellForbesMarch 28th, 2013The conception of children who share the genes of three parents could be one step closer to reality.
Scientists Unravel Genetic Causes of Prostate, Breast and Ovarian Cancerby Ian SampleThe Guardian March 27th, 2013A national screening programme for prostate cancer could be introduced by the NHS following an international effort by more than 1,000 scientists to unravel the genetic causes of prostate, breast and ovarian cancer.
Broad Public Support for "3-Parent Babies" and Crossing the Human Germline? Not What the Data Sayby Jessica Cussins & Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMarch 21st, 2013The UK regulatory agency’s summary of its public consultation on mitochondria replacement highlights "broad public support" for a procedure that would cross a crucial ethical and policy line. But that support is not actually demonstrated in its data.
Alarm over genetic control of embryos[Letter to the editor]The Times [UK]March 20th, 2013If the proposed procedures are allowed, the reconstructed egg or embryo will have an altered, and inheritable, genetic composition.
HealthWatch: Britain Considers Allowing Babies From 3 Parents [Video][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Kim MulvihillCBS San FranciscoMarch 20th, 2013Britain's fertility regulator says it has found broad public support for in vitro fertilization techniques that allow babies to be created with DNA from three people for couples at risk of passing on potentially fatal genetic diseases.
Three-Person IVF Moves Closer in UKby James GallagherBBC NewsMarch 20th, 2013The UK has moved closer to becoming the first country to allow the creation of babies from three people.
Eugenics Fear Over Gene Modification[Letter to the Editor]by David King et al.The GuardianMarch 15th, 2013The benefits of mitochondrial replacement are heavily outweighed by the risks to the child and to society.
Experiments with Inheritable Genetic Modificationby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 13th, 2013A developmental biologist looks carefully at research on mitochondria replacement that would be an experimental form of human inheritable genetic modification.
If Your Dog is About to Die, Why Not Clone It?by Leo HickmanGuardianMarch 11th, 2013A researcher in South Korea claims he can clone your pet. All he needs is some tissue from the animal and $100,000.
GM Babies?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 5th, 2013A debate about genetically engineered babies is hijacked by slick rhetoric.
To Claim Someone has 'Viking Ancestors' is no Better than Astrologyby Mark ThomasThe Guardian February 25th, 2013The truth about direct-to-consumer ancestry tests is that there is little scientific substance to most of them and they are better thought of as genetic astrology.
Parents of Down's Syndrome Woman, 21, Can NOT Have her Sterilised, Rules Judge by Daniel MillerDaily MailFebruary 16th, 2013In a landmark ruling in London, the sterilization of a woman with Down's syndrome at her parents' request was ruled 'disproportionate' and in violation of her human rights.
Sale of Personal Gene Data Condemned as 'Unethical and Dangerous'by Jamie DowardThe Guardian February 16th, 2013Critics say companies could acquire personal information that would identify National Health Service patients without their consent.
Latest Figures on Fertility Treatment, Birth Rate and Multiple Births are Releasedby Matt ThomasBioNewsFebruary 11th, 2013Figures released by the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority reveal the number of IVF cycles performed each year has continued to rise while the multiple pregnancy and birth rate has declined and the live birth rate per cycle has remained steady.
Egg Sharing Cuts Bristol's IVF Waiting Listby Polly MarchBBC NewsJanuary 12th, 2013A new "egg sharing" programme and an increase in the amount egg donors are compensated have significantly cut waiting times for couples needing donor eggs in the UK. At what cost?
UK Government's Enthusiasm for GM Not Matched in Developing Nationsby John VidalThe Guardian January 4th, 2013Across the world, countries are turning their backs on GM crops; perhaps the coalition in the UK could learn something from them.
1.7 Million Human Embryos Created for IVF Thrown Awayby Andrew HoughThe TelegraphDecember 31st, 2012Official statistics show that almost half of embryos used to help a women conceive through in vitro fertilisation were thrown away during or after the process.
Brave New Cells?by Donna DickensonProject SyndicateDecember 29th, 2012Supporters of mitochondria replacement neglect a crucial factor in the debate: the techniques being developed involve permanent genetic alterations passed on to future generations.
Exclusive: Rise in Number of Couples Seeking 'Wombs for Hire' Abroad by Jeremy LauranceThe IndependentDecember 28th, 2012The number of British couples formally registering children born to foreign surrogates has nearly trebled in five years, raising concerns that poor women in developing countries are being exploited by rich Westerners.
A DNA Database in the NHS: The End of Privacy?by Helen WallacePublic Service EuropeDecember 12th, 2012Governments, police, journalists, employers, insurers and even nosy neighbours would inevitably get access to personal information about medical conditions and non-paternity if a DNA database is built in the National Health Service.
Plans for NHS Database of Patients' DNA Angers Privacy Campaignersby Jamie DowardThe Guardian (UK)December 8th, 2012"This Big Brother project will allow every individual and their relatives to be identified and tracked."
Rights to Maternity Leave Granted to Parents Through Surrogacyby Sarah GuyBioNewsNovember 26th, 2012The right to maternity leave in the UK will be extended to parents of children born through surrogacy, under proposed changes to rules on parental leave recently announced by the Government.
Fertility Treatment Waiting Times Halve After Increased Payments to Donorsby Rebecca SmithThe Telegraph (UK)November 26th, 2012An increase in payments for women's eggs has halved the waiting time for fertility treatment in the UK.
Mitochondria Replacement Would Forever Alter the Human Germline. Do You Want a Say? by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 15th, 2012The Center for Genetics and Society has sent a letter strongly recommending against changing the United Kingdom law that – like those in dozens of other countries – prohibits procedures that would alter the genes we pass on to our children.
Heat Monitor's Fertile Ground for Would-be Parentsby Amy WilsonTelegraph [UK]November 13th, 2012Scientists eye the US market after their device to help couples have a baby, DuoFertility, is a success in Britain.
Genetic Profiteering: Scandal of Firm 'Hiding Vital Breast Cancer Data' by Steve ConnorThe IndependentNovember 1st, 2012Myriad Genetics is accused of deliberately withholding data that could help other scientists to understand cancer genetics, on the grounds that the information is commercially sensitive.
Human Genetic Modification Experiment in Oregon Shows Promise, Risks, Experts Say[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Nick BudnickThe OregonianOctober 24th, 2012Researchers have replaced unfertilized eggs' mitochondrial DNA, raising concerns about human germline modifications.
Proposed New Gene Manipulation Technique in IVF: Is it Safe? Needed? A Precedent to Designer Babies?by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesOctober 2nd, 2012Is a new “3-parent baby” fertility technique a way to avoid terrible disease, or a dangerous form of human experimentation?
Man accused of rape was innocent victim of DNA sample mistakeby Wesley JohnsonThe Independent [UK]October 1st, 2012The contamination was the result of human error, and the procedures themselves were not adequate. Many laboratories fall short of accepted standards.
Thousands of ex-offenders targeted in drive to add to DNA databaseby Sandra LavilleThe GuardianSeptember 27th, 2012The profiles of thousands of innocent people who have been arrested but not convicted of any crimes remain in the UK's police DNA database.
How To Buy a Daughter: Choosing the sex of your baby has become a multimillion-dollar industry[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Jasmeet SidhuSlateSeptember 14th, 2012The US is one of the few countries that allows preimplantation genetic diagnosis for prenatal sex selection, which could have negative consequences for parents and children alike.
DNA Test Jailed Innocent Man for Murderby Hannah BarnesBBC NewsAugust 31st, 2012Scientists, lawyers and politicians have raised concerns over the quality of forensic evidence testing - is the criminal justice system too reliant on lab tests without seeing their limitations?
British Couples Flying to US For Banned Baby Sex Selectionby  Stephen AdamsTelegraph [UK]August 28th, 2012Dozens of couples are flying to the US every year to choose the sex of their babies, a practice banned in Britain three years ago.
Madison Heights Woman Recalls Forced Sterilization at Training Centerby Ray ReedThe News and AdvanceAugust 18th, 2012In 1959, the state of Virginia sterilized Sarah Pack Wiley, having deemed her mentally deficient and wanting to prevent her from having children.
Euroscience Open Forum 2012: DNA Gene Testing 'Will Screen Out Lovers'by Telegraph ReportersThe TelegraphJuly 13th, 2012A British professor has suggested that couples will soon be able to choose their life partner solely based on the compatibility of their genes instead of through love.
European Scientists on Direct-to-Consumer Gene Tests: Thumbs Downby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitcal TimesJuly 13th, 2012Two scientific advisory groups warn that direct-to-consumer gene testing “has little clinical value” and the “potential to be harmful.”
Womb Transplants Could Be a Reality in Britain Within Two Years: Surgeonby Rebecca SmithTelegraphJuly 12th, 2012Some doctors say womb transplants would be a more 'ethical solution' to infertility than seeking a surrogate.
One of Five Million: Contemplating Fertility Treatment and Embryo Selectionby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJuly 12th, 2012Five million people have been born using in vitro fertilization. Though the technology has become safer and less expensive, it warrants attention because of the open door it provides for embryo selection.
Government Launches Consultation on Future of UK Human Fertilisation and Tissue Regulatorsby Ayesha AhmadBioNewsJuly 2nd, 2012The UK Government has launched a consultation on the future of the agency that regulates assisted reproduction.
Nuffield Council Gives Green Light to the Prevention of Inherited Mitochondrial Diseaseby Antony Blackburn-StarzaBioNewsJune 12th, 2012The UK-based Nuffield Council on Bioethics has declared that the benefits of new techniques which aim to prevent the transmission of faulty mtDNA from mother to child outweigh any risks.
Human Genetics Commission Publish Final Reportby Rebecca HillBioNewsJune 7th, 2012The Human Genetics Commission has published its final report, which marks the end of its 12 years as an advisory body to the Government.
Revealed: How More and More Britons are Paying Indian Women to Become Surrogate Mothersby Shekhar BhatiaThe Telegraph (UK)May 26th, 2012The sheer scale of the “baby factory” phenomenon is now causing concern with the Indian government. There are up to 1,000 unregulated clinics, comprising an industry worth as much as £1.5 billion a year.
Artificial DNA Presents Real Dangersby Daniel SharpBiopolitical TimesMay 2nd, 2012The creation of “artificial DNA” has generated substantial media buzz. The untold story behind the hype is about the new risks synthetic biology presents.
Tens of Thousands of Children Have Their DNA Stored by Police, Even if They are Not Charged With Any Crime by Matt BlakeDaily Mail (UK)April 27th, 2012Some police forces are collecting DNA from children as young as ten. Campaigners brand the practice 'bonkers.'
Anonymous DNA? No, It's Notby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 19th, 2012An article in Nature Genetics essentially says that keeping aggregated DNA data anonymous is impossible, which raises important questions about privacy and the conduct of research.
UK Aid Helps to Fund Forced Sterilisation of India's Poorby Gethin ChamberlainGuardianApril 14th, 2012Money from the Department for International Development has helped pay for a controversial program that has led to miscarriages and even deaths after botched operations.
British Man 'Fathered 600 Children' at Own Fertility Clinicby Rebecca SmithTelegraphApril 8th, 2012Research by two men conceived at a London-based fertility clinic suggests that the Austrian biologist who founded it provided two thirds of the donated sperm.
Scientists Rewrite Rules of Human Reproduction by Steve ConnorThe IndependentApril 7th, 2012UK scientists claim that lab-grown egg cells could revolutionize fertility and banish menopause.
Egg and Sperm Donors: HFEA in Drive to Increase Numbersby Jane HughesBBC NewsApril 4th, 2012The UK fertility regulator is seeking to reduce the taboo around egg and sperm donation, but critics say egg donation is an invasive process, and women should be warned of the risks.
Calls for Inquiry Into 'Astonishing' DNA Error by Paul PeacheyThe IndependentMarch 31st, 2012The second embarrassment admitted this month by Britain's biggest private forensic science laboratory.
Britain's Biobank Is Open for Businessby Angela SainiScienceMarch 29th, 2012As the UK Biobank opens for business with samples and health data from half a million people, GeneWatch UK and others maintain that genetic databases are white elephants with few scientific benefits.
New Thriller about Eugenics, “the Dirty Little Secret of the Anglo-American Intellectual Elite”by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMarch 15th, 2012How should we understand the attraction of eugenics for liberals and leftists in the early twentieth century?
The Case Against DNAby William LangleyThe TelegraphMarch 6th, 2012Genetic profiling was once hailed as a magical tool to catch criminals. So why is it now in danger of being discredited?
Company Unveils DNA Sequencing Device Meant to Be Portable, Disposable and Cheapby Andrew PollackNew York TimesFebruary 18th, 2012A British startup is commercializing a USB-sized disposable DNA sequencing machine.
IVF Clinics Told to Cut Multiple Births to 10%BBCFebruary 9th, 2012IVF clinics have been told that no more than 10% of births should be twins or triplets by regulators.
Treatment for Blood Disease Is Gene Therapy Landmarkby Nicholas WadeNew York TimesDecember 10th, 2011Hemophilia B is the first well-known disease to appear treatable by gene therapy, a technique with a 20-year record of almost unbroken failure.
Surrogacy Children Caught in Legal Limboby Carl O'BrienIrish TimesNovember 19th, 2011Children born through surrogacy to Irish couples abroad risk getting caught in legal limbo, left either stateless or unable to get an Irish passport.
UK Supreme Court Upholds Gene Patentby Martin TurnerBioNewsNovember 14th, 2011In what appears to be the end of a long-running legal saga, the UK's Supreme Court found in favor of a patent for a gene and the protein sequence it encodes.
HFEA Triples the Going Rate for Women’s Eggs in UK by Doug PetBiopolitical TimesOctober 27th, 2011The UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority set new compensation rates for sperm and egg providers that are drastically higher than previously allowed.
What price parenthood?by Jeremy LauranceThe IndependentOctober 20th, 2011UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority tripled the amount that women can be paid from egg donation to £750 per cycle.
EU court: No patents for some stem cell techniquesby Maria ChengBloomberg BusinessweekOctober 18th, 2011The European Union's top court ruled Tuesday that scientists cannot patent stem cell techniques that use human embryos.
More on Cash for Eggsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 13th, 2011The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has issued a report about the provision of human bodily material for medicine and for research, including the issue of payment for gametes.
NHS ignores gene patents, experts sayby Clive CooksonFinancial TimesAugust 5th, 2011Genetic testing laboratories in the National Health Service are deliberately ignoring most patents on DNA.
Stark warning on fertility for older womenby Martin BeckfordTelegraph [UK]July 18th, 2011An academic journal article states that “IVF cannot compensate for delays in childbearing” because of the biological effects of ageing.
UK Drops DNA Tests For Refugees And Asylum Seekers[United Kingdom]National Public RadioJune 17th, 2011Britain has dropped a policy of using DNA tests to identify the nationality of African refugees and asylum seekers after criticism that there is no scientific merit to the practice.
Francis Galton: The man who drew up the 'ugly map' of Britainby Steve JonesBBC NewsJune 16th, 2011One hundred years after the death of Francis Galton, the "father of eugenics," geneticists are increasingly baffled by the nature versus nurture debate. Does the question mean anything in the first place?
Birthday Honours: Test-tube baby pioneer knightedBBC NewsJune 10th, 2011IVF pioneer and Nobel prize winner Robert Edwards is among several leading health specialists to be knighted in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours.
Supreme Court: DNA database retention regs are unlawful[United Kingdom]by Lewis PageThe RegisterMay 18th, 2011However the court, noting that Parliament is considering the matter, has declined to specify any remedy for the situation.
ESHRE on Reproductive Tourism: Be Niceby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 26th, 2011The ESHRE "Good practice guide for cross-border reproductive care" is better on defining issues than solving problems.
The cost of fertility treatment 'tourism'[UK]BBC NewsApril 24th, 2011BBC Radio Scotland's The Investigation programme examines the increasing number of couples travelling abroad to seek infertility treatment.
Another Expansion of DNA Databases: South Korea Collects DNA from Labor Unionistsby Jillian TheilBiopolitical TimesApril 14th, 2011South Korea is expanding its DNA database to include labor activists, which is proving controversial, while the US and other countries try to define the scope of their own.
Pre-pregnancy genetic screening backed by government advisers[United Kingdom]by James MeikleThe Guardian (UK)April 6th, 2011Tests will allow couples or individuals to assess their own risk of carrying genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis.
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