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About Bioethics & Human Biotechnology


Bioethics established itself in the late 1960s as a field concerned with the ethical and philosophical implications of certain biological and medical procedures, technologies, and treatments. Early issues included end-of-life decision-making, organ donation, and human experimentation. Human biotechnology became a concern when the first bioethics institutes were established in the early 1970s. This attention skyrocketed in 1990 when the U.S. Human Genome Project earmarked 3% to 5% of its $3 billion federal budget to the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) research program, making its activities the world's largest bioethics program.

Bioethics initially represented diverse ethical philosophies. But by the mid-1980s, most professional bioethicists were grounded in individualist and utilitarian frameworks. Bioethicists appropriately continued to consider informed consent, patient safety and similar topics, but their attention to the broad social and political meanings of human biotechnologies had faded.

This shift has been unfortunate for the public's understanding. Most bioethicists present themselves as disinterested analysts who can be trusted to represent a full range of constituencies: researchers, biotech corporations, patients, religious groups, marginalized communities, and other affected parties. But in fact, many promote their own world views, which often emphasize libertarian values over commitments to the public interest.

The role of bioethics has been further compromised by its increasing financial and professional ties to the biotech industry. Many university bioethics centers receive funding from biotech corporations, and many bioethicists serve as paid or unpaid members of corporate "ethical advisory boards."



Turning back the biological clock comes at a price by Rhiannon Lucy CosslettThe GuardianJuly 25th, 2016Egg freezing is marketed as the answer to precarious young lives yet excludes most of those it claims to help.
Chinese scientists to pioneer first human CRISPR trialby David CyranoskiNature NewsJuly 21st, 2016Gene-editing technique to treat lung cancer is due to be tested in people in August.
Sperm Banks Accused of Losing Samples and Lying About Donorsby Tamar LewinThe New York TimesJuly 21st, 2016Sperm banks are not required to verify information provided by sperm donors.
Is transhumanism really the world’s most dangerous idea?by Michael CookMercatornetJuly 20th, 2016Transhumanism has a range of beliefs and goals, including anti-aging and a heightened relationship between humans and technology.
Nudging patients into clinical trialsby Bradley J. FikesThe San Diego Union-TribuneJuly 20th, 2016Incentives include money and rewards such as iPads.
Recruiter Matchtech changes name to Gattaca - same as the hit Hollywood movie about eugenicsby Alan ToveyThe TelegraphJuly 18th, 2016The company claims they did not even consider the connection to the film when they chose the new name.
Do CRISPR enthusiasts have their head in the sand about the safety of gene editing? by Sharon BegleySTATJuly 18th, 2016Off-target effects and other concerns around genome editing should be taken more seriously.
Genome Tea Leavesby Sheldon KrimskyLos Angeles Review of BooksJuly 17th, 2016A review of Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Gene: An Intimate History and Steven Monroe Lipkin’s The Age of Genomes: Tales from the Front Lines of Genetic Medicine.
U.N. rights panel urges Kuwait to amend broad DNA testing lawby Stephanie NebehayReutersJuly 15th, 2016The compulsory DNA testing would be a significant violation of people's privacy.
The EEOC’s Final Rule on GINA and Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs to Take Effect This Monthby Jennifer K. WagnerGenomics Law ReportJuly 14th, 2016The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act now has updated regulations around health information obtained from employees' spouses.
CRISPR Bébés | New Questions on 3P-IVF | Gene Drives | Speed Limits | "Schizophrenic Felon" SpermOur monthly newsletter Biopolitical Views & News rounds up our commentary and recent news stories. Here's the July issue!
Resumed stem cell study by EditorialThe Korea TimesJuly 13th, 2016Stem cell research in Korea has been slow due to a data fabrication incident, but research has recently been approved.
Considering Gene Editingby Jef AkstThe ScientistJuly 12th, 2016A public meeting in Washington, DC continues an international committee investigation into precision DNA editing.
FDA Lets Cancer Trial Resume after 3 Patient Deathsby Damian GardeSTATJuly 12th, 2016After only two days, the FDA accepted Juno Therapeutics reason for the deaths and allowed the trial to continue.
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.
Gene Editing: The Dual-use Conundrumby Janet PhelanNew Eastern OutlookJuly 11th, 2016Genome editing, particularly germline editing, has been declared a “weapon of mass destruction.”
First he pioneered a new way of making life. Now he wants to try it in peopleby Karen WeintraubSTATJuly 8th, 2016Three-parent IVF has been tried in monkeys, but further research is needed to fully assess safety and effectiveness.
In Juno patient deaths, echoes seen of earlier failed companyby Sharon BegleySTATJuly 8th, 2016Many alumni from Dendreon, the earlier company, joined Juno Therapeutics.
Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos Is Barred From Running Lab for 2 Yearsby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesJuly 8th, 2016The company is not only out of compliance with regulations that protect patients' health but also markets unreliable tests.
Eugenics bill passes Houseby Kevin EllisShelby StarJuly 7th, 2016North Carolina bill will ensure eugenics victims’ compensation is not counted as income.
Biotech execs in search of human guinea pigs find eager subjects: themselvesby Elizabeth PrestonSTATJuly 7th, 2016Self-experimentation has both perks and downfalls.
President Obama’s 1-million-person health study kicks off with five recruitment centersby Jocelyn KaiserScience MagazineJuly 7th, 2016The early stages of the biobank are set in motion.
In clinical trials, for-profit review boards are taking over for hospitals. Should they?by Sheila KaplanSTATJuly 6th, 2016Commercial IRBs often have conflicts of interest.
Price Gouging and the Dangerous New Breed of Pharma Companiesby A. Gordon SmithHarvard Business ReviewJuly 6th, 2016Some pharmaceutical companies prioritize profits instead of research.
US firm begins to market Cambodia-based surrogacy serviceby Will Jackson & Vandy MuongThe Phnom Penh PostJuly 6th, 2016Surrogacy Cambodia markets cross-border surrogacy despite the Cambodian government's tacit disapproval of surrogacy.
Sweden’s national DNA database could be released to private firmsby Tom MendelsohnARS TechnicaJuly 6th, 2016The country has a closely guarded registry of every citizen under the age of 43.
California Drug Price Plan Is Criticized by Patient Advocatesby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesJuly 4th, 2016Pharmaceutical companies fear the new Drug Price Relief Act.
'False Hopes, Sizable Profits' -- The Nation's Largely Unregulated Stem Cell Clinicsby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJuly 1st, 2016"The clinics use hope as a marketing tool. A weapon," writes Paul Knoepfler.
Gene-therapy trials must proceed with cautionby EditorialNatureJune 28th, 2016Past mistakes, which have ranged from harmful to deadly, must be prevented from recurring.
Federal Oversight Group Has Complaints But Says Yes To CRISPR Trialby Alex LashXconomyJune 21st, 2016Despite worries about conflict of interest, an NIH committee voted to let researchers move ahead with a clinical trial that could be the first use of CRISPR-Cas9 in a human treatment.
Do women who donate their eggs run a health risk?by Sandra G. BoodmanThe Washington PostJune 20th, 2016Health advocates say that donors are being falsely reassured that the process is safe, without being told that there is no definitive research.
Gene drive debate must include voices from Africa, elsewhereby Richard Nchabi KamwiSTATJune 15th, 2016The conversations have been missing the perspectives of representatives from malaria-affected countries, largely in South and Central America, Africa, and southern Asia.
Should We Sequence the DNA of Every Cancer Patient?by Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJune 14th, 2016A startup plans to give free genetic tests to 100,000 cancer patients in order to steer them to drug companies.
"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."
Testing, testing: Prenatal genetic screeningby Joe GibesTrinity International University June 10th, 2016Confusion and uncertainty surround both the accuracy of prenatal genetic screening and people's understanding of what PGS is.
The National Academies’ Gene Drive study has ignored important and obvious issues by Jim ThomasThe Guardian June 9th, 2016Some important gaps in the study include an analysis of The report ducks questions about militarization, commercialization, and food security, but acknowledges there is "insufficient evidence to support the environmental release of gene drives."
Mitochondrial Replacement Hype Goes Nuclear Including by Wellcome Trustby Paul KnoepflerThe NicheJune 9th, 2016A new paper shows serious and difficult safety hurdles, but the UK media and some UK scientists are engaging in hype, claiming the exact opposite.
Interview: “Democratic deliberation” and bioethicsby Nelson Michael & Xavier SymonsBioEdgeJune 8th, 2016A member of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues discusses the state of US bioethics.
Genetically engineered bugs to fight malaria and Zika? Not so fast, experts sayby Joel AchenbachThe Washington PostJune 8th, 2016The use of "gene drive" technologies threaten incalculable harm to ecosystems worldwide.
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.
Big Biotech is here — and it’s starting to look a lot like Big Pharma by Meghana KeshavanSTAT NewsJune 6th, 2016The market characteristics and goals of biotech companies align increasingly with those of pharmaceutical companies.
Organ research scientists combine human stem cells and pig DNAby Kevin Rawlinson & Nicola DavisThe GuardianJune 6th, 2016Safety and ethical questions accompany efforts by researchers to grow human organs for transplants inside pigs.
Gene editing technique could transform future [citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Fergus WalshBBC NewsJune 6th, 2016In a nightmare, "I realised with horror that it was Hitler and I was being expected to discuss this technology with him and he eagerly wanting to use it."
Swiss back genetic testing of embryos (again)by Celia LuterbacherSwiss InfoJune 5th, 2016Testing embryos can prevent transmission of serious genetic diseases, but also threatens discrimination against people with disabilities and a "slippery slope toward eugenics."
A 'family spat' spills out in public, as scientists debate effort to build a human genome by Andrew JosephSTAT NewsJune 4th, 2016Although it’s not a goal of the project, brewing up a complete synthetic human genome could lead, in theory, to the formation of an actual person, sans parents.
The Problem With Super-Muscly Pigsby Judith Benz-Schwarzburg & Arianna FerrariSlateJune 3rd, 2016Technologies to genetically engineer sentient animals for meat production raise questions about the human-animal relationship.
Opioids: Can a Genetic Test Identify an Addict in the Making?by Kristina FioreMedPage TodayMay 29th, 2016Two companies engage in "laboratory developed tests" to determine the role of genetics in addiction.
What It Means To Be Human Is Changing Thanks To Gene Editingby Joe Matthews (Zócalo Public Square)Huffington PostMay 27th, 2016“We might be splitting in class between those who can afford to manage our children eugenically and those who cannot.”
Will Modern Genetics Turn Us Into Gene “Genies”?[Collection of brief essays]by Marcy Darnovsky, Dan Sarewitz, Samuel Weiss Evans, Arvis Sulovari, Eric A. WidraZócalo Public SquareMay 24th, 2016Contributors discuss their stances on the dangers and potential benefits of gene manipulation.
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.
Bayer Offers to Buy Monsanto for $62 Billionby Michael J. de la Merced & Chad BrayThe New York TimesMay 23rd, 2016The merger would increase Bayer's scale of operations, whose politics and practices are similar to those of Monsanto.
In Search For Cures, Scientists Create Embryos That Are Both Animal And Humanby Rob SteinNPRMay 18th, 2016"You're getting into unsettling ground that I think is damaging to our sense of humanity."
Synthetic Biology’s Second Worldby Andy BalmerPLOS Synbio CommunityMay 16th, 2016A closed-door meeting of scientists to discuss the creation of a synthetic human genome suggests a secret world for synthetic biology in which decisions are made away from public scrutiny and governance.
Controversial Italian fertility doctor accused of stealing patient's eggby Stephanie KirchgaessnerThe Guardian [UK]May 15th, 2016A patient has accused an Italian fertility doctor of forcibly operating on her and harvesting her eggs.
Scientists Hold Secret Meeting to Consider Creating a Synthetic Human Genomeby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesMay 13th, 2016An invitation to the Harvard meeting said the primary goal “would be to synthesize a complete human genome in a cell line within a period of ten years.”
Three Cambridge startups are on a mission to fix broken genesby Robert WeismanThe Boston GlobeMay 11th, 2016Editas, Intellia, and CRISPR Therapeutics aim to cure diseases from cancer to blood disorders, but these would-be gene editors also must navigate a new round of ethical questions.
Should We Synthesize A Human Genome?by Drew Endy and Laurie ZolothDSpace@MITMay 10th, 2016Human genome synthesis could redefine what now joins all of humanity together as a species. Discussions should not take place without open and advance consideration of whether and under what circumstances it is morally right to proceed.
Scientists are trying to use CRISPR to fix everything. What’s wrong with that?by Emily McManusTED IdeasMay 5th, 2016A historian of eugenics asks: "Will individuals start making decisions to use new biotech to improve themselves and their children?"
I Want To Put A Baby In You: The Curious Case Of Louisianaby Ellen TrachmanAbove the LawMay 4th, 2016Instead of reasonable regulation, the pending Louisiana bill transparently limits the types of people who can enter surrogacy arrangements.
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.
The gene editor CRISPR won’t fully fix sick people anytime soon. Here’s whyby Jocelyn KaiserScience/AAASMay 3rd, 2016After more than two decades of ups and downs, veterans of the gene therapy field are wary of raising expectations about CRISPR for treating diseases.
A Single $249 Test Analyzes 30 Cancer Genes. But Do You Need It?by Sarah ZhangWIREDApril 28th, 2016Color Genomics is marketing gene tests for 30 cancers, but doctors caution that our ability to sequence DNA has far outpaced our ability to understand what the results mean.
Human Experimentation: Rethinking The 'Bad Old Days'by Barron LernerForbesApril 19th, 2016The horrors in our medical past require that we not brush them aside as just wrong but that we look hard at why they happened.
‘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.
The trouble with paying for spermby Alana Cattapan & Françoise BaylisThe Star [Toronto]April 9th, 2016The so-called shortage of Canadian sperm is not about men being unwilling to donate without pay.
Is there a racial "care gap" in medical treatment? [Video][With CGS Advisory Board Member Dorothy Roberts]by Gwen IfillPBS NewsHourApril 5th, 2016A new study finds African-American patients are often treated differently. Among its findings: Medical students believe that African-Americans feel less pain than white patients, and that their skin is thicker.
IVF Ban lifted in Costa Rica: a success for reproductive rights?by Lynn M. MorganPLOS BlogsMarch 30th, 2016After years of political gridlock in the only western hemisphere country to ban IVF, Costa Ricans will finally have access to assisted reproduction.
Teaching medical students to challenge ‘unscientific’ racial categoriesby Ike SwetlitzSTATMarch 10th, 2016Medical school curricula traditionally leave little room for nuanced discussions about the impact of race and racism on health, physicians and sociologists say.
First Uterus Transplant in U.S. Has Failedby Denise GradyThe New York TimesMarch 10th, 2016A day after a news conference lauding what seemed to be a successful surgery, the recipient developed a serious complication and the organ was removed.
Cryonics Taken Apartby Pete ShanksMarch 10th, 2016Corey Pein has written an exposé of Alcor, the cryonics company he describes as "technophilic necromancers."
The perils of human gene editing for reproductionby Marcy DarnovskyWashington ExaminerMarch 8th, 2016Human gene editing for reproduction would be unsafe, is unneeded for medical purposes, and would be dangerously unacceptable on societal grounds.
A Biotech Evangelist Seeks a Zika Dividendby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesMarch 5th, 2016A diverse biotechnology company hopes its genetically engineered mosquitoes can help stop the spread of a devastating virus. But that’s just a start.
The Dirty Secret of Genetic Testing: We're Still Not Sure What "Normal" Looks Likeby Sean CaptainFast CompanyMarch 4th, 2016You can get your entire genetic code deciphered for about $1,000 in a day, but scientists still don't know what most of it means.
[Radio] Gene Editing for Individuals and their Families and Family Caregivers[an interview with CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Gordon AtherleyVoice AmericaMarch 1st, 2016A discussion of human gene editing, and the ways it should and not be used.
Frozen Eggs and Title IX[cites CGS’ Marcy Darnovsky]by Mary Ann MasonChronicle of Higher EducationFebruary 29th, 2016If you’re counting on that procedure to delay your family while you get your career going, think again.
Fertility, grief and big business are not a good combinationby Catherine BennettThe GuardianFebruary 27th, 2016The woman who wants to carry her dead daughter’s child sets in relief our confusion about rights and needs.
Cleveland Clinic Performs First Successful Uterus Transplant In The U.S.by Merrit KennedyNPRFebruary 26th, 2016This opens up another possible path to parenthood besides surrogacy or adoption for U.S. women who do not have a uterus, or who have a uterus that does not function.
Should you edit your children’s genes?by Erika Check HaydenNature NewsFebruary 23rd, 2016In the fierce debate about CRISPR gene editing, it’s time to give patients a voice.
What’s the difference between genetic engineering and eugenics?by Robert GebelhoffThe Washington PostFebruary 22nd, 2016Where we draw the line between "negative eugenics" and "positive genetic intervention" is a political question.
When Parents and Surrogates Disagree on Abortionby Katie O'ReillyThe AtlanticFebruary 18th, 2016An ongoing legal battle between a gestational carrier of triplets and a father-to-be shows the messiness of surrogacy contracts.
This Entrepreneur Is Using Big Data to Help More Women Get Pregnantby Leena RaoFortuneFebruary 18th, 2016Celmatix’s algorithms compare a database of millions of women who have tackled fertility issues to a patient’s personal health and fertility data.
If You Want Life Insurance, Think Twice Before Getting A Genetic Testby Christina FarrFast CompanyFebruary 17th, 2016As genetic testing explodes, US federal law bans health insurers from denying coverage based on results. But the same doesn't apply for disability, life insurance, or long-time care.
There's No Excuse For Doctors To Treat Patients According To Race by Amitha KalaichandranHuffington Post [Canada]February 16th, 2016Professor Dorothy Roberts suggests that we revisit the concept of race when it comes to delivering health care and conducting biomedical research.
A look into the bioethics of commercialized surrogacy by Clare FogartyThe McGill TribuneFebruary 16th, 2016Discussions centered on the Canadian law that criminalizes the payment of surrogate mothers.
This CRISPR Momentby Françoise Baylis and Janet RossantThe WalrusFebruary 12th, 2016Editing human DNA the way we edit text—are we ready?
'Rogue scientists' could exploit gene editing technology, experts warnby Alan Yuhas and Kamala KelkarThe GuardianFebruary 12th, 2016A senior geneticist and a bioethicist agree with the US spy chief’s claim that gene editing technology could have huge, and potentially dangerous, consequences.
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?
Zika Virus Threat Puts Abortion Rights And Disability Rights On Collision Courseby Chloe AngyalHuffPost PoliticsFebruary 4th, 2016As the epidemic spreads, women's rights to abortion are a hot topic -- but what about the rights of the disabled?
Expert: Parents often won't take surrogate kids with defectsby Rod McGuirkAssociated PressFebruary 3rd, 2016Baby Gammy, left by intended parents with his poor surrogate mother in Thailand, was one of several cases of surrogate children abandoned, an expert told a parliamentary inquiry.
How DNA and 'recreational genealogy' is making a case for reparations for slavery by Steven W. ThrasherThe GuardianFebruary 3rd, 2016Alondra Nelson, academic who was at the forefront of Afrofuturism, has a new book on how DNA can help descendants of slaves seeking compensation.
Three-parent DNA treatment for rare defect raises debate [with video][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]PBS NewshourFebruary 3rd, 2016PBS's William Brangham discusses germline mitochondrial manipulations with Jeffrey Kahn and Marcy Darnovsky.
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.
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.
The United States Once Sterilized Tens of Thousands — Here’s How the Supreme Court Allowed Itby Trevor BurrusMediumJanuary 27th, 2016A lucid and accurate discussion of Buck v. Bell, what led up to it, and its consequences both personal and political.
The First Artificial Insemination Was an Ethical Nightmare by Elizabeth YukoThe AtlanticJanuary 8th, 2016The 19th-century procedure involved lies, a secrecy pledge, and sperm from a surprise donor.
Who is Smart Enough to Decide how to Improve the Human Species?by Joel AchenbachThe Washington PostJanuary 5th, 2016Genetic engineering and molecular biology benefit from the digital revolution. This convergence is arguably one of the biggest stories in the world right now.
King for a Day? On What’s Wrong With Changing the World for the Better by Roland NadlerLaw and Biosciences BlogJanuary 4th, 2016"It’s not so much about ethics (as we usually envision it) as about political philosophy. I’d exhort us to be quicker to ask: who died and made you king?"
Lab Pays $4M to Settle Doctor-Kickback Claimsby Bianca BrunoCourthouse News ServiceDecember 30th, 2015Federal investigators found Pathway violated the False Claims Act by offering physicians and medical groups reimbursements of up to $20 for each saliva kit they submitted for genetic testing.
'We Won't Make Frankensteins,' Cloning Giant Boyalife's CEO Saysby David Lom and Eric BaculinaoNBC NewsDecember 26th, 2015The head of a Chinese firm that is building the world's biggest animal cloning factory has vowed not to use the technology on people — for now, at least.
Shifting Surrogacy Laws Give Birth to Uncertainty by Brad BertrandNikkei Asian Review [Singapore]December 26th, 2015Since the government clampdowns in Thailand, India and Nepal, the focus in Asia has shifted to Malaysia and Cambodia, which lack comprehensive legal frameworks to regulate surrogacy.
We Can Design Our Descendants. But Should We?by Margaret SomervilleThe Globe and Mail [Canada]December 21st, 2015Ethically, we must place the future child at the centre of the decision-making. We must also protect society.
Genetic Testing May Be Coming to Your Officeby Rachel Emma SilvermanThe Wall Street JournalDecember 15th, 2015Health advocates raise concerns about privacy and the potential for illegal discrimination based on employees’ genetic information.
[Letter to the Editor] Genetic Controlby Marcy DarnovskyThe New YorkerDecember 14th, 2015CRISPR is a potentially society-altering technology, and democratic engagement with its trajectory is crucial and pressing.
Health Canada all but ignores illegal ad for surrogate, cash for egg donors, internal documents revealby Tom BlackwellNational Post [Canada]December 13th, 2015Evidence shows that Health Canada has not just turned a blind eye, but has been complicit with illegal activity.
Personalized Medicine: A Faustian Bargain?by Eleonore Pauwels & Jim DratwaScientific AmericanDecember 10th, 2015Individually tailored therapies could be too expensive for many of those whose DNA donations go into creating the treatments.
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.
More Questions than Answers at Gene Editing Summit [cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Chloe PostonGenes to GenomesDecember 9th, 2015"Marcy Darnovsky reminded the room of the societal implications of germ line editing, warning that parents will want to choose traits that society values most."
Future proofingby Editorial BoardNatureDecember 8th, 2015Global discussions on human gene editing and climate change should not sidestep hard decisions on issues that will affect future generations.
Should We Genetically Modify Our Children?by Jessica CussinsKennedy School ReviewDecember 7th, 2015We need the wisdom of historical, global, and social perspectives to help shape a world that is not merely concerned with what is possible, but also with what is beneficial.
Debate begins over ethics of genetic editing[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks]by Michael CookBioEdgeDecember 5th, 2015Varying degrees of caution emerged at the Summit on Human Gene Editing.
The Human Germline Genome Editing Debateby Charis ThompsonImpact EthicsDecember 4th, 2015The range of views expressed at the International Summit on Human Gene Editing underscores the need for broader and more inclusive public discussion.
No designer babies, but summit calls for cautious research[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Lauran NeergaardAPDecember 3rd, 2015The organizing committee argued that gene editing tools are nowhere near ready to use for pregnancy, but that research on embryos can proceed as society continues to grapple with the ethical questions.
Gene Editing: How much justice delayed or denied?by Nicholas G. EvansImpact EthicsDecember 2nd, 2015A nuanced examination of John Harris’ claims against the "unacceptable risks to future generations" associated with gene editing in human reproduction.
Le génie génétique face au risque eugéniste[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Corine LesnesLe MondeNovember 30th, 2015"Nous voulons être sûrs que la technologie soit utilisée pour traiter les maladies et non pour créer des surhommes."
Putting a Price on Human Eggs Makes No Senseby Debora SparFortuneNovember 21st, 2015No one wants to deal with the ugly reality that egg donation is not donation at all, but a high price paid for a piece of one’s body.
F.D.A. Takes Issue With the Term ‘Non-G.M.O.’by Stephanie StromThe New York TimesNovember 20th, 2015"They’re conflating a very new and novel technology with traditional types of breeding...It’s like saying an abacus is very much like a computer."
Scientists may soon be able to 'cut and paste' DNA to cure deadly diseases and design perfect babiesby Tanya LewisBusiness InsiderNovember 19th, 2015CRISPR gene editing tools are being proposed for a wide range of uses, many of which pose risks to ecological systems and human society.
CRISPR Gene Editing: Proofreaders and Undo Buttons, but Ever "Safe" Enough?by Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesNovember 19th, 2015Recent trends include research reports of "spellcheck" and "undo" functions associated with CRISPR gene editing, and a shift toward greater caution about germline applications.
Gene Therapy: Comeback? Cost-Prohibitive?by Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesNovember 19th, 2015Recent CRISPR news sometimes confuses germline modification - which should be put off limits - and gene therapy, which presents its own set of social and ethical risks to resolve before rushing to market.
Gene Manipulation In Human Embryos Provokes Ethical Questions: This controversial new research could have some serious, long-term societal implications. [Video][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]
Better Babiesby Nathaniel ComfortAeonNovember 17th, 2015The long and peculiar history of the designer human, from Plato’s citizen breeders to Nobel sperm banks, and the latest iteration of human genetic perfectability: CRISPR gene editing.
End ‘stem cell tourism,’ experts urgeby Michael CookBioEdgeNovember 14th, 2015Stem cell scientists appear to have oversold their product. Now patients, tired of waiting for the cures they were promised, are seeking unproven stem cell-based treatments that are causing more harm than good.
[Cambodia] Gov’t to Crack Down on Surrogacy Clinicsby Chea Takihiro & Jonathan CoxKhmer TimesNovember 11th, 2015Surrogacy companies are moving their “wombs for rent” services from Thailand to Cambodia, but government officials plan to classify surrogacy as a form of human trafficking.
Theranos isn’t the only diagnostics company exploiting regulatory loopholesby Arielle Duhaime-RossThe VergeNovember 11th, 2015Startups are taking advantage of an FDA exception to offer diagnostic health tests to consumers without peer review or verification of health claims.
The Risks of Assisting Evolutionby Elizabeth AlterThe New York TimesNovember 10th, 2015Crispr-Cas9 and gene drive allow us to bend evolution to our will, but will they spark an ecological catastrophe?
British police face deluge of foreign DNA requests if UK joins EU crime database, says reportby David BarrettThe TelegraphNovember 8th, 2015Officials warn that innocent Britons could be branded criminals if the UK joins a controversial EU project.
Eggs unlimitedby Jennifer Couzin-FrankelScienceNovember 6th, 2015OvaScience's fertility procedure appalls some reproductive biologists, and is currently not permitted in the US. But the company is marketing its treatment in Canada and some analysts are upbeat.
As Companies Collect More Health Data, Cops Will Ask To See It[cites CGS' Elliot Hosman]by Stephanie M. LeeBuzzfeedNovember 5th, 2015Law enforcement will request what users share with health technology companies, from DNA to step counts. The nature and number of those requests are largely unknown.
How Much Should a Woman Be Paid for Her Eggs?by Jacoba UristThe AtlanticNovember 4th, 2015Is the money a woman receives for her eggs payment for her services, her discomfort, or her biological property?
Would you edit your unborn child’s genes so they were successful?by Mairi LevittThe GuardianNovember 3rd, 2015A parent’s desire to do the best for their child could create problems.
Genetic testing evolves, along with health and ethics debatesby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesOctober 30th, 2015The FDA approved 23andMe to provide carrier tests, turning the personal genomics service into a direct-to-consumer family-planning tool, but without the genetic counselor to explain carrier status risks.
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?
Forgotten Stories of the Eugenic Age #4, Part 3: The Blurry Boundaries of Eugenic Infanticideby Natalie OveyssiBiopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2015The final entry of the three-part examination of Dr. Harry Haiselden, Baby John Bollinger, and the practice of eugenic infanticide explores the legacy of Haiselden’s career and its meaning for the rights of individuals with disabilities.
[India] Blanket ban likely on NRIs, PIOs, foreigners having kids through surrogacyThe Economic TimesOctober 15th, 2015A draft bill limits intended parents to Indian residents, allows single and divorced women to contract as surrogates, and addresses healthcare for women during surrogacy.
The CRISPR Germline Debate: Closed to the Public?by Elliot HosmanBiopolitical TimesOctober 15th, 2015Recent CRISPR media coverage focuses on hype rather than engaging the ethical and social implications of the groundbreaking technology—even as many call for public inclusion in the genome editing debate.
After Asilomarby EditorialNature NewsOctober 14th, 2015Scientist-led conferences are no longer the best way to resolve debates on controversial research, and scientists who wish to self-regulate ignore public outcry at their peril.
A Tale of Do-It-Yourself Gene Therapyby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewOctober 14th, 2015An American biotech CEO of BioViva claims she is the first to undergo gene therapy to reverse aging, participating in an experiment that intentionally avoided approval processes.
Surrogacy as an Iceberg: 90 Percent Below Waterby Emma ManiereBiopolitical TimesOctober 14th, 2015While agencies market surrogacy as a fulfilling “journey,” they also caution prospective consumers about ethical and financial pitfalls. These contradictory messages reflect the true complexity of commercial surrogacy.
Forgotten Stories of the Eugenic Age #4, Part 2: The Black Stork Rises: Dr. Haiselden’s Celebrity and Public Controversyby Natalie OveyssiBiopolitical TimesOctober 14th, 2015After Baby Bollinger’s death under Dr. Haiselden’s care, letter-writers flooded newspapers with both praise and criticism. Haiselden went on to co-write and star in The Black Stork, a film celebrating eugenic medicine.
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.
What's Missing From Ontario's IVF Policy?by Vanessa GrubenOttawa CitizenOctober 11th, 2015The province should require collection of anonymized data on IVF use, success rates, and complications; it should also address the information needs of children conceived via donor gametes.
Sky-high price of new stem cell therapies is a growing concernby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesOctober 9th, 2015Late-stage clinical trials of two treatments backed by California's $6-billion stem cell program are underway. Will Californians be able to afford them?
Gay or Straight? Saliva Test Can Predict Male Sexual Orientationby Jessica HamzelouNew ScientistOctober 8th, 2015Many scientists have expressed caution over the results, and concerns over potential misuse have led the lead researcher to quit the project entirely.
30k-60K US Sperm and Egg Donor Births Per Year?by Wendy KramerHuffington PostOctober 6th, 2015For 28 years the estimated number of children born via donor insemination has remained 30,000. But there is no reliable information in the public domain.
UNESCO Calls for More Regulations on Genome Editing, DTC Genetic Testingby StaffGenomeWebOctober 6th, 2015The organization's International Bioethics Committee reaffirms its support for a moratorium on modifying the human germline.
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."
List of Speakers for NAS Meeting on Human Gene Editingby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogOctober 1st, 2015A preliminary list of speakers for the National Academies' international summit on human gene editing has emerged, showing a troubling lack of diversity.
What 2,500 Sequenced Genomes Say about Humanity’s Futureby Lizzie WadeWiredSeptember 30th, 2015Genomics has gone from being a "race-free" science to being a "race-positive" one.
Disgraced Scientist Clones Dogs, and Critics Question His Intentby Rob SteinNPRSeptember 30th, 2015Sooam Biotech, founded by scientific pariah Hwang Woo Suk, has cloned over 600 dogs for $100,000 each. The process works only one-third of the time and is risky.
Scientists Find Gene Editing with CRISPR Hard to Resist[quotes Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks]by Cameron ScottHealthlineSeptember 29th, 2015CRISPR is so cheap and easy to use, we may be genetically engineering human embryos before we have time to decide if we should.
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."
Prop 47 Could Purge DNA Databaseby Kristina DavisThe San Diego Union-TribuneSeptember 27th, 2015A California ballot initiative reduced certain low-level, nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors, but the fate of the consequent DNA collection is unclear.
Why the Majority of Sperm Donations in Canada Are from the U.S.[Canada]by Jim BrownCanadian Broadcasting CorporationSeptember 27th, 2015Only 5-10% of donated sperm in Canada is from domestic donors; the majority comes from US providers who, unlike their counterparts north of the border, are paid.
Who has your DNA—or wants itby Jocelyn KaiserScienceSeptember 25th, 2015More and more groups are amassing computer server–busting amounts of human DNA. At least 17 biobanks that hold, or plan to hold, genomic data on 75,000 or more people.
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?
Ohio Abortion Bill Stokes Old Tensions between Disability and Abortion Rights Advocatesby Emma ManiereBiopolitical TimesSeptember 24th, 2015A round-up of recent articles and commentaries about Ohio’s HB 135, which would ban abortions sought due to fetal diagnoses of Down syndrome.
Forgotten Stories of the Eugenic Age #4, Part 1: The Short Life and Eugenic Death of Baby John Bollingerby Natalie OveyssiBiopolitical TimesSeptember 24th, 2015In 1915, Dr. Harry Haiselden refused to operate to save the life of John Bollinger, a baby with disabilities, whom he believed would be a burden on society.
The Life of a Professional Guinea Pigby Cari RommThe AtlanticSeptember 23rd, 2015Phase 1 trials are almost always where the money is. Is paying vulnerable populations to participate in dangerous drug studies the equivalent of coercion?
Down Syndrome Blood Test Sparks Abortion Debateby Amy Dockser MarcusWall Street JournalSeptember 21st, 2015Advocates worry that more accurate prenatal tests will lead more people to end pregnancies without understanding how life with Down syndrome has dramatically changed.
Can knowing you and your family may get Alzheimer’s ever be positive?by Giulia RhodesThe GuardianSeptember 21st, 2015In the vast majority of cases, the cause of Alzheimer’s remains unclear, a complex interplay of environmental and genetic factors not yet fully understood.
CRISPR Democracy: Gene Editing and the Need for Inclusive Deliberationby J. Benjamin Hurlbut, Krishanu Saha, & Sheila JasanoffIssues in Science and TechnologySeptember 21st, 2015CRISPR raises basic questions about the rightful place of science in governing the future in democratic societies.
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."
We Shouldn’t be Allowed to Choose our Children’s Sex[Australia]by Tamara Kayali BrowneThe Ethics CentreSeptember 16th, 2015Sex selection is a product of, and perpetuates, false assumptions about gender that keep men and women “in their places.”
As Ontario Set to Roll Out IVF program, Panel Urges Those Older than 42, Severely Obese be Excluded[Canada]by Tom BlackwellNational PostSeptember 14th, 2015The recommendations are aimed at avoiding the cost overruns that doomed a similar plan for government funding of IVF in Quebec.
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."
Why you shouldn’t know too much about your own genesby Carolyn JohnsonWashington PostSeptember 11th, 2015The poster child for the uncertainty underlying direct-to-consumer DNA testing is a gene called MTHFR. In almost no cases does testing for it have any medical utility.
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.
Disability and the Politics of Abortion by Judith LevineSeven Days [Vermont]September 9th, 2015We must not use technology to cull fetuses that might have differently abled bodies. We cannot allow abortion law to rescue them at the cost of their mothers' freedom.
The Moral Imperative for Psychologistsby George Annas, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 9th, 2015Is Steven Pinker’s recent essay a hidden plea to save scientific research from the perversion of ethically unfettered technological progress?
To Freeze or Not to Freeze? [Australia]ABC AustraliaSeptember 6th, 2015Women in their 20s, 30s and 40s are choosing to freeze their eggs while they wait for the perfect partner or navigate the ideal career path.
Does Down Syndrome Justify Abortion?by Mark Lawrence SchradNew York TimesSeptember 4th, 2015In a typical pregnancy, women who choose to have an abortion are often saddled with shame and social stigma. Meanwhile, there remains significant stigma associated with being the parent of a child with special needs.
Seoul Sets Advisory Limit on IVF Embryo Transfer[South Korea]by Claire LeeThe Korea HeraldSeptember 2nd, 2015South Korea’s Health Ministry is revising its guidelines for IVF, discouraging medical professionals from transferring more than three embryos in a single procedure.
Coerced Sterilization of Canadian Indigenous Women in 70s Widespread: Researcherby Chris ArsenaultReutersSeptember 1st, 2015The Canadian government was often aware of the problem, but did not act to stop it.
Debate Ensues as Prenatal Tests Reach Beyond Down Syndromeby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewAugust 31st, 2015Doctors and genetic counselors question the expanding scope of blood tests during pregnancy.
Banning Abortion for Down Syndrome: Legal or Ethical Justification? by Bonnie SteinbockHastings Center Bioethics ForumAugust 26th, 2015Instead of passing an unenforceable and unconstitutional law, Ohio should devote its time to ensuring that all people with disabilities, Down syndrome or otherwise, get the resources and services they need.
We're Tantalizingly Close to a New Era in Childbirthby Ellie KincaidTech InsiderAugust 24th, 2015Doctors and scientists are working on a number of experimental technologies to try to make getting pregnant easier for older women.
Choosing Children’s Sex Is an Exercise in Sexism[Australia]by Tereza HendlThe ConversationAugust 23rd, 2015Australian guidelines for ethical use of IVF allow sex selection for medical reasons. But draft guidelines now open for public submissions may allow the choice for social reasons.
Ohio Bill Would Ban Abortion if Down Syndrome Is Reasonby Tamar LewinThe New York TimesAugust 22nd, 2015The legislature is expected to approve the measure. Gov. John Kasich, a Republican who is running for president, opposes abortion but has not yet taken a position on this bill.
Genome Editing: The Age of the Red Pen [Cites CGS]The EconomistAugust 22nd, 2015Germline editing is widely seen as a bourn no ethical traveller should cross. Some scientists want a moratorium on any work aimed at engineering the germ line; others say basic research should continue.
What Are You Doing with My DNA? by Diana KwonScientific AmericanAugust 21st, 2015The play “Informed Consent” explores deep ethical questions in genetics research.
Conversation with Kelly Hills: Human Genetic Modification & Bioethicsby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogAugust 20th, 2015“It can be very tempting, when `doing science,’ to merely think about the pieces in front of you: I’m swapping out broken DNA for something better! But…how do we define broken? How do we define better?”
IVF Mix-Up Case Now Before Court of Appealby Selina LumThe Straits Times [Singapore]August 20th, 2015A woman whose was conceived with a stranger's sperm rather than her husband's is appealing to be awarded upkeep costs.
Inside Illumina’s Plans to Lure Consumers with an App Store for Genomes by Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewAugust 19th, 2015The head of the largest gene-sequencing company envisions holding your DNA, then selling it to you little by little.
B.C. Company to Launch DNA Testing Service by Pamela FayermanVancouver SunAugust 19th, 2015British Columbia is grappling with regulatory and accreditation issues for a company planning to launch the first direct-to-consumer DNA testing service based in the province.
Rise of the Citizen Scientistby EditorialNatureAugust 18th, 2015From the oceans to the soil, technology is changing the part that amateurs can play in research. But this greater involvement raises concerns that must be addressed.
Fertility Clinics Let You Select Your Baby’s Sexby Sumathi ReddyThe Wall Street Journal“Family balancing” can become a smoke screen for families who want boys. Nonmedical sex selection is legal in only a few countries, including the US; medical organizations are split on the issue.
Experts Call for Greater Scrutiny of Egg Donation Practicesby Patrice WendlingClinical Endocrinology News Digital Network August 14th, 2015Some clinics and agencies may be minimizing risks in recruitment ads and websites, incentivizing repeated donations, or overstimulating donors for the benefit of recipients and clinic success rates.
How Social Determinants of Health Affect Life Spansby Margaret FarengerThe Detroit NewsHealth was once considered a question of genetics, individual behaviors and medical treatment. New models are illuminating powerful connections between health, resources and environment.
It's Time for an Uncomfortable Discussion about What it Really Means to Engineer a 'Better Baby'[Australia] by Kevin LoriaBusiness Insider [Australia]August 13th, 2015“Humans have more flaws than we know what to do with ... One of them is that we don’t know what it would mean to make a better baby.”
Právo: No One Wants Czech Child Born to Surrogate Mother by CTKPrague Daily MonitorAugust 13th, 2015The Czech infant, now a year old, was diagnosed with congenital epilepsy and paralysis. Both the intended parents and surrogate mother renounced parental rights, leaving him in institutional care.
"Eggsploitation: Maggie's Story" Reveals Unknown Risks of Egg Retrieval by Emma ManiereBiopolitical TimesAugust 13th, 2015"Eggsploitation: Maggie's Story" reveals how the fertility industry takes advantage of individuals' altruistic motives in search of profit while the medical risks remain unknown.
Surgeons Smash Records with Pig-to-Primate Organ Transplantsby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewAugust 12th, 2015A biotech company is genetically engineering pigs so that their organs might work in people.
Exciting CRISPR-Powered “Gene Drive” Also Has Scientists Deeply Concernedby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogAugust 12th, 2015While potential heritable genetic modification via CRISPR is generating substantial discussion, gene drive warrants increased attention because of its broad power and self-propagating nature.
Forgotten Stories of the Eugenic Age #3: Divorce, “Crying Off,” and the Perils of Eugenic Perfectionby Natalie OveyssiBiopolitical TimesAugust 12th, 2015The surprising role of historical eugenics in divorces and breach of promise cases reveal the harms of "perfection."
Cold Caseby Anne Fausto-SterlingBoston ReviewAugust 11th, 2015Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg likes to make faces. But she doesn’t paint or sculpt them, precisely. She doesn’t even decide what they look like.
Why it Matters that the FDA Just Approved the First 3D-Printed Drugby Dominic BasultoWashington PostAugust 11th, 20153D printers could fundamentally change the way patients take certain types of medicine.
CRISPR Race Heats Up As Gates, Crossovers Put $120M Into Editas by Ben FidlerXconomyAugust 10th, 2015Some of the biggest names on Wall Street and elsewhere are handing the largest round of funding yet to a CRISPR-Cas9 startup.
Ageing and Fertility: Biology Comes Secondby Kirsty OswaldBioNewsAugust 10th, 2015As long as we live in a society that expects women to sacrifice so much more than men to be a parent, we might as well stop talking about biology.
IVF: Do Children Have the Right to Know if They're the Result of a Stranger’s Sperm or Egg Donation?by Linda GeddesThe IndependentAugust 10th, 2015A 2003 survey by the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge found that 47% of parents of kids conceived after egg donation had no intention of telling.
Thailand Bans Commercial Surrogacy for Foreigners, Singles[Thailand]by Penny Yi WangABC NewsAugust 7th, 2015After recent scandals involving foreign intending parents, Thailand has banned commercial surrogacy serving foreign clients.
One Penn State Professor Unmasks the Role Genetics Play in Human Faces
by Boen WangThe Daily CollegianAugust 7th, 2015Penn State scientist's attempts to map human faces from DNA samples provokes skepticism, and concern about consequences for DNA forensics and racial profiling.
Can We Reverse the Ageing Process by Putting Young Blood into Older People?by Ian SampleThe GuardianAugust 4th, 2015As a business proposition, the transfusion of young blood raises all kinds of fears. It raises the spectre of a macabre black market, where teenagers bleed for the highest bidder, and young children go missing from the streets.
Bioethical Silence & Black Livesby Derek AyehVoices in BioethicsAugust 3rd, 2015"While bioethicists have had no issue condemning genetic experimentation they seem to sew their mouths shut on the matter of black lives."
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?
Four Problems with the DNA Databaseby Sharon FernandesTimes of IndiaAugust 2nd, 2015India's Human DNA Profiling Bill 2015 proposes to set up a national DNA database of criminals that will include rapists, murderers and kidnappers.
Price and Prejudice: How Ads for Egg Donation are Starting to Sound like Matrimonials[India]by Ipsita ChakravartyScroll.inAugust 2nd, 2015Should people be allowed to cherry-pick egg donors in a bid to produce babies with specific traits?
'Gene Drive': Scientists Sound Alarm Over Supercharged GM Organisms Which Could Spread in the Wild and Cause Environmental Disastersby Steve ConnorThe IndependentAugust 2nd, 2015Scientists fear new technique for generating “supercharged” genetically modified organisms that can spread rapidly in the wild may be misused and cause health emergency or environmental disaster.
UC Irvine to Exhibit Artworks Created via Biological Engineeringby Mike BoehmLos Angeles TimesJuly 31st, 2015Artists who want to manipulate the building blocks of life as we know it to create art as we’ve never known it.
Congress Should Support Access to Post-Conviction DNA Testingby Kirk BloodsworthThe HillJuly 29th, 2015"If not for post-conviction DNA testing, I might still be in prison, or worse, I could have been executed."
Law Banning Commercial Surrogacy Takes Effect ThursdayBangkok PostJuly 29th, 2015Controversy continues to swirl around children born before Thailand's new law was passed this winter.
CRISPR/Cas Gene-Editing Technique Holds Great Promise, but Research Moratorium Makes Sense Pending Further Study by Jeff Bessen The Conversation July 29th, 2015In the enthusiasm and hype surrounding CRISPR, it is easy to forget that the technology has been in wide use for barely three years and the accompanying risks are not yet known.
Stars, Bars, and Embryosby Emma ManiereBiopolitical TimesJuly 28th, 2015Controversies about the confederate flag and prenatal genetic testing are far more complex than "choice" and "intent" suggest.
Cutting-Edge Technology and Mitochondrial Diseases - Where is the Limit?by Dusko IlicBioNewsJuly 27th, 2015In their latest study, Shoukrat Mitalipov and collaborators report on two potential 'gene correction' strategies that can help patients with mitochondrial diseases.
Sperm Donor Fathers Reveal Struggle of Not Knowing Who Their Kids Areby Lauren McMahPerth Now [Australia]July 26th, 2015“A lot of the commentary and discussion focuses on the donor-conceived people but I think it’s equally important to look at the impact on donors."
Outsourcing Motherhood: India's Reproductive Dystopiaby Namita KohliHindustan TimesJuly 26th, 2015Stories of DNA mismatches, abandoned babies, and unscrupulous practices at IVF clinics suggest that commercial surrogacy in the country is almost in a state of lawlessness.
Putting a Price on a Human Egg by Ashby JonesThe Wall Street JournalJuly 26th, 2015A lawsuit claims that price guidelines used by fertility clinics artificially suppress the amount women can get for their eggs.
India’s DNA Profiling Bill May Become One of the World’s Most Intrusive Lawsby Akshat RathiQuartzJuly 24th, 2015India’s prime minister wants to ensure that DNA analysis is used more widely to convict criminals despite many flaws in the proposed bill.
Scientist Criticizes Media Portrayal of Researchby Chris WoolstonNature NewsJuly 24th, 2015A psychology researcher looks at media missteps in reporting work on music and the brain.
Republicans Just Sabotaged a Bill that Would Have Helped Wounded Vets Start Familiesby Jennifer Gerson UffalussyFusionJuly 23rd, 2015A recent Congressional bill would have extended coverage for fertility treatments to retired veterans.
Drifting Away from Informed Consent in the Era of Personalized Medicineby Erik ParensThe Hastings Center ReportJuly 23rd, 2015In our excitement about the technological capacity to gather genomic data at an ever-lower cost, we are drifting away from what has long been a basic ethical commitment.
The Ethical Sperm Bank: An All-Open Sperm Bank. An Idea Whose Time Has Comeby  Wendy KramerHuffington PostJuly 22nd, 2015These are the only solutions in the absence of government regulation. Perhaps in time and as public pressure mounts, regulation will follow.
The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syalby Aisha FarooqDESIblitz.com [UK]July 22nd, 2015A new novel explores issues of infertility and surrogacy that affect South Asian and British Asian society today.
What You Really Need to Know About Egg Freezingby  Charlotte Alter, Diane Tsai, & Francesca TrianniTime July 16th, 2015Some call egg freezing an "insurance policy" for modern women. But does it really work? Here are eight key takeaways from six months of reporting.
POV: It’s Time to Regulate the Fertility Industryby George AnnasBoston University TodayJuly 16th, 2015Patients' intense desire to have children can leave them at the mercy of the market and unscrupulous practitioners. The fertility industry does not, and perhaps simply cannot, police itself.
Can We Cure Genetic Diseases Without Slipping Into Eugenics?by Nathaniel ComfortThe NationJuly 16th, 2015Gene editing could correct genetic mutations for serious illnesses. Will it also create a new eugenics of personal choice?
Eliminating Intersex Babies Is not a Legitimate Use of Genetic Embryo Testingby Celeste OrrThe GuardianJuly 11th, 2015Using preimplantation genetic diagnosis to select against embryos with culturally devalued bodies, like intersex people and people with disabilities, is simply a contemporary example of eugenics.
Don't Mistake Genetics for Fateby Andrew Gelman & Kaiser FungThe Daily BeastJuly 11th, 2015It’s easy for the media to get misled on studies that seem to support genetic determinism. The result is that readers are exposed only to the puffery but only rarely to the skepticism.
Misunderstanding the Genome: A (Polite) Rantby Jonathan GitlinArsTechnicaJuly 8th, 2015One misconception: Genetic tests don't always tell you if someone has a disease. They're typically probabilistic — they tell you if you've got a greater chance of a problem than the average person.
First Federal Bill to Acknowledge US Eugenics Would Help Victims of State Sterilization Programsby Jonathan ChernoguzBiopolitical TimesJuly 8th, 2015If passed, it would be the first federal legislation to recognize the history of sterilization abuse that took place during the twentieth century in the name of eugenics.
Genome Researchers Raise Alarm Over Big Databy Erika Check HaydenNature NewsJuly 7th, 2015Storing and processing genome data will exceed the computing challenges of running YouTube and Twitter, biologists warn.
Our Focus on the Future Present by Jacob CornInnovative Genomics Initiative blogJuly 6th, 2015At this time, the Innovative Genomics Initiative Lab will not do research on human germline editing for the following several reasons.
Infertile Couples Hope New Technology Helps Select Most Successful Embryosby Michelle MunzSt. Louis Post-DispatchJuly 5th, 2015EmbryoScope is an incubator and camera in one. It promises to improve the selection of embryos most likely to result in pregnancy and birth.
Surrogate Children Get Legal Recognition in Franceby Philippe SottoTimeJuly 3rd, 2015While surrogacy will remain banned in France, children born abroad through this practice will now be legally tied to their parents and will be granted birth certificates and French citizenship.
India's Draft Surrogacy Bill Proposes that Would-Be Parents Pay a Bondby Amrit DhillonSouth China Morning PostJuly 3rd, 2015The bill, if passed by parliament, will create a government agency to fix and monitor the standards of cleanliness, medical expertise and ethics of fertility clinics.
Should Babies Have Their Genomes Sequenced?by Anna NowogrodzkiMIT Technology ReviewJuly 2nd, 2015The BabySeq project in Boston has begun collecting data to quantify the risks and benefits of DNA sequencing at birth.
Ethics of Gene Editing[with CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Betty RollinKQED Religion & Ethics NewsweeklyJuly 2nd, 2015Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society discusses possible consequences of human germline gene editing for future generations.
How the Law has Failed Children of Anonymous Sperm Donorsby Sarah DingleDaily Life [Australia]June 30th, 2015One of many donor-conceived people created under Australia's anonymous donation regime is fighting for the right to know her biological background.
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.
Editing Of Human Embryo Genes Raises Ethics Questionsby Britt E. EricksonChemical & Engineering NewsJune 29th, 2015With the promise of gene-editing tools come worries that the technology could be used to create designer babies with enhanced traits, such as higher intelligence or greater beauty.
The Promise and Peril of Crisprby John Lauerman and Caroline ChenBloomberg BusinessweekJune 25th, 2015The "cheap gene-editing method could lead to cures — and frankenbabies."
US Congress Moves to Block Human-Embryo Editingby Sara ReardonNature NewsJune 25th, 2015The House appropriations committee has approved a spending bill that would prohibit the FDA from spending money to evaluate research or clinical applications on gene editing in human embryos.
Unregulated Surrogacy: Law Yet to Deliverby Vandana ShuklaThe Tribune [India]June 24th, 2015The Indian Council of Medical Research has to draft an appropriate, more equitable legislation that would look at the rights of the surrogate and her health vis-a-vis technology.
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: NAS and NAM Initiative on Human Gene Editingby AnnouncementCommittee On Science, Technology, and LawJune 24th, 2015The National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine are launching a major initiative to guide decision making about controversial new research involving human gene editing.
CRISPR: Move Beyond Differencesby Charis ThompsonNatureJune 24th, 2015Researchers and ethicists need to see past what can seem to be gendered debates when it comes to the governance of biotechnology.
CRISPR: Science Can't Solve itby Daniel SarewitzNature CommentJune 23rd, 2015Democratically weighing up the benefits and risks of gene editing and artificial intelligence is a political endeavour, not an academic one.
Should You Freeze Your Eggs?by Debora SparMarie ClaireJune 22nd, 2015The entire business of egg freezing borders on a trap. What it's really selling is a hedge against regret: a way for women to avoid waking up one morning with the sudden realization that they've forgotten to have a baby.
"Jurassic World" and the Dinosaurs at the USDAby Rachel SmolkerTruthoutJune 22nd, 2015The regulations of the US Department of Agriculture are in desperate need of an overhaul if they are to protect the public from the derailing of billions of years of evolution for the purpose of corporate profit-making.
Manipulating the Genome of Human Embryos: Some Unforeseen Effectsby Craig HoldregeThe Nature InstituteJune 22nd, 2015Over and beyond technical issues is the pressing ethical concern: should researchers cross the line into genetically manipulating human embryos?
Face Recognition Row Over Right to Identify You in the Streetby Hal HodsonNew ScientistJune 19th, 2015If you are walking down the street, a public street, should a company be able to identify you without your permission?
French Families Sue State to Recognize Surrogate Birthsby Philippe SottoAssociated PressJune 19th, 2015The case could change how surrogate births are handled in France, where infertility treatments are highly regulated and where many consider it unethical to make money off human reproduction.
6 Realities of Genomic Researchby Dan KoboldtMass GenomicsJune 19th, 2015I’m as excited about this as anyone (with the possible exception of Illumina). Even so, we should keep in mind that not everything is unicorns and rainbows when it comes to genomic research.
Will Pope Francis’s Climate Message Break Through Where Others Have Failed?by Marianne LavelleScienceJune 18th, 2015The letter—184 pages long in its English version—also goes far beyond climate issues, touching on biodiversity conservation, genetically modified crops, and other issues.
Ancient American Genome Rekindles Legal Rowby Ewen CallawayNature NewsJune 18th, 2015The finding seems likely to rekindle a legal dispute between Native American tribes and the researchers who want to keep studying the 8,500-year-old skeleton.
Building the Face of a Criminal From DNABBCJune 18th, 2015The face of a killer constructed from DNA left at the scene of a crime: it sounds like science fiction. But revealing the face of a criminal based on their genes may be closer than we think.
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.
Unused Embryos Pose Difficult Issue: What to Do With Themby Tamar LewinThe New York TimesJune 17th, 2015In storage facilities across the nation, hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos — perhaps a million — are preserved in silver tanks of liquid nitrogen.
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.
Down Syndrome Screening isn’t About Public Health. It’s About Eliminating a Group of People.by Renate LindemanWashington PostJune 16th, 2015Testing should be used to enhance health and human well-being instead of discriminating against people based on their genetic predisposition.
Taking Control of Our Genetic Information: Could it Go Too Far?by Karthika MuthukumaraswamyThe Huffington PostJune 16th, 2015Up until recently, those in the technology industry and those conducting genomic research would have been considered strange bedfellows. But big data - more specifically, big genomic data - is bringing the two groups together.
University of Minnesota to Overhaul Research Protectionsby Jennifer Couzin-FrankelScienceJune 15th, 2015More than a decade after Dan Markingson's suicide, the University of Minnesota released a 75-page document describing an effort to restructure its system and calm its critics.
Retractions Coming Out From Under Science's Rugby Benedict CareyThe New York TimesJune 15th, 2015Scientists in fields as diverse as neurobiology, anesthesia and economics are debating how to reduce misconduct, without creating a police-state mentality that undermines creativity and collaboration.
Pre-Implantation Diagnosis to be Allowedby Jeannie WurzSwissInfo [Switzerland]June 14th, 2015About 62% of Swiss voters have said yes to genetic screening of embryos before implantation in a woman’s uterus.
Looking back: Daniel Callahanby Michael CookBioEdgeJune 13th, 2015A retrospective by one of the founders of American bioethics is a reminder of a broader and more communitarian view of the discipline.
California Stem Cell Agency Symposium: 'Vague Fears' vs. Potential Genetic Alteration of Human Race[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJune 11th, 2015California’s $3 billion stem cell agency has called a high-level meeting for next fall to examine a "red-hot" issue that many researchers say could lead to alteration of the human race.
The Pentagon’s Gamble on Brain Implants, Bionic Limbs and Combat Exoskeletons by Sara ReardonNature NewsJune 10th, 2015DARPA is making a big push into biological research — but some scientists question whether its high-risk approach can work.
IVF: A Numbers Game Made Worse by Rogue Clinicsby Loretta HoulahanThe Age [Australia]June 10th, 2015A big discrepancy in the success rates of clinics is kept secret from us.
Should We Edit the Genetic Essence of Life?by Margaret SomervilleThe Globe and MailJune 8th, 2015Will we create a new class-based society of the “gene rich” and “gene poor”? Is there a human right not to be designed?
The Bioethics of Genetic Diversityby Xavier SymonsBioEdgeJune 6th, 2015The ethical issues surrounding the protection of genetic variation in a population are examined.
Amazon, Google Race to Get Your DNA into the Cloudby Sharon Begley and Caroline HumerReutersJune 5th, 2015The tech giants are racing to store data on human DNA, seeking market share in a business that may be worth $1 billion a year by 2018.
Morality, Religion and Experimenting on Youby Robert KlitzmanHuffington PostJune 4th, 2015Experiments on humans have become not only more common, but more complicated and controversial, often raising profound moral dilemmas.
Bill to Protect the Genetic Profiles of Californians Clears Assembly Floor – AB 170by Christopher SimmonsCalifornia NewswireJune 3rd, 2015The legislation will will allow parents to make informed decisions about allowing their newborn’s blood sample to be retained and leased to researchers.
Brave New Genomeby Eric S. LanderNew England Journal of MedicineJune 3rd, 2015It has been only about a decade since we first read the human genome. We should exercise great caution before we begin to rewrite it.
Human Factory Farming and the Campaign to Outlaw Surrogacyby Mirah RibenDissident VoiceMay 30th, 2015America is known as the most lax country for adoption and surrogacy. It has been called the Wild West for its lack of regulation of these practices. Is this a legacy we want to continue?
The Success Rates From IVF are Nowhere Near What People Thinkby Ellie KincaidBusiness Insider [Australia]May 29th, 2015Around 40% of IVF cycles result in babies for women aged 32 and younger. Not even 10 years later, for women aged 40, that success rate is cut in half to less than 20%.
Tired Tropes and New Twists in the Debate about Human Germline Modificationby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMay 28th, 2015Techno-enthusiasts now argue that as we think about the human future, we should rule out considering what we might learn from works of literature and film, as well as those aspects of myth, policy and history they don’t like.
The Lessons of Asilomar for Today’s Scienceby Alexander CapronThe New York TimesMay 28th, 2015Attempts to use new gene editing techniques to "improve" our descendants raises profound ethical and social issues, and a group dominated by scientists is too self-interested and unrepresentative to take them on.
Let’s Talk About the Ethics of Germline Modificationby Gregor WolbringImpact EthicsMay 27th, 2015We need clarity about where the public discussion should take place, what exactly it should focus on, and who should participate.
Center for Genetics and Society comments on White House and National Academies approaches to altering the human germline[Press statement]May 27th, 2015“The endorsement of a pause by the White House is an important first step."
The Scope of Eugenics: A Workshopby Jonathan ChernoguzBiopolitical TimesMay 27th, 2015The four-day workshop, organized by the Edmonton-based Living Archives Project on Eugenics in Western Canada, brought together early-career scholars interested in eugenics to discuss historical models and forms of "Newgenics."
The University of Minnesota’s Medical Research Messby Carl ElliottThe New York TimesMay 26th, 2015Rather than dealing forthrightly with these ethical breaches, university officials have seemed more interested in covering up wrongdoing with a variety of underhanded tactics.
Why We Need To Talk Now About The Brave New World Of Editing Genesby Carey GoldbergWBURMay 22nd, 2015Suddenly, it’s no longer purely science fiction that humankind will have the ability to tinker with its own gene pool. But should it?
Weighing The Promises Of Big Genomicsby David DobbsBuzzFeedMay 21st, 2015Your DNA may be up for sale. And the sale depends on an exaggerated picture of genetic power and destiny.
Do We Really Need an Even Better Prenatal Test for Down Syndrome?by Chris KaposyImpact EthicsMay 19th, 2015Because of their ease of use and their non-invasiveness, the new non-invasive prenatal tests for Down syndrome could contribute to increased numbers of selective terminations of pregnancy.
Does Biotech Need Limits?by Azeen GhorayshiBuzzFeed NewsMay 19th, 2015A group of the world’s top scientists and bioethicists just got together to hammer out the goals and limits of 21st-century biotechnology. And some of them really, really don’t agree.
Innovation and Equity in an Age of Gene Editingby Charis Thompson, Ruha Benjamin, Jessica Cussins and Marcy DarnovskyThe GuardianMay 19th, 2015As experts gather in Atlanta to discuss the rights and wrongs of editing human genomes, four of the attendees explain why it is vital to put social justice at the heart of the debate.
US Science Academies Take on Human-Genome Editing[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Sara ReardonNatureMay 18th, 2015The academies will hold an international summit this autumn, and establish a working group to develop a consensus statement.
Stem Cell 'Wild West' Takes Root Amid Lack of US Regulationby Matthew PerroneAssociated PressMay 18th, 2015More than 170 US clinics are selling experimental stem cell procedures — a mushrooming industry that has flourished despite little evidence of its safety or effectiveness.
Is it Time to Question the Ethics of Donor Conception?by Olivia GordonThe TelegraphMay 18th, 2015Donor-conceived children now have the right to identify their genetic parents. But for some, the change came too late, and not knowing can be "excruciatingly painful."
Unregistered Surrogate-Born Children Creating 'Legal Timebomb', Judge Warnsby Owen BowcottThe GuardianMay 18th, 2015Without a court-sanctioned parental order and improved international legal frameworks, children could end up “stateless and parentless.”
Francis Collins on CRISPR: "Designer Babies Make Great Hollywood — And Bad Science"by Julia BelluzVoxMay 18th, 2015There's a strong consensus that is a line we should not cross.
National Academies Will Meet to Guide 'Gene Editing' Researchby Lisa M. KriegerSan Jose Mercury NewsMay 18th, 2015The landmark conference will gather researchers and other experts. One observer warns, "This is an ethical, social and human issue, not a technological issue. I don't think the scientists are the right people to be addressing it."
The Genome Engineering Revolutionby Ryan Clarke and James HyunTech CrunchMay 13th, 2015A brief introduction to the CRISPR-cas9 system.
Science is Often Flawed. It's Time we Embraced That.by Julia Belluz and Steven HoffmanVoxMay 13th, 2015That science can fail shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. It's a human construct, after all. And if we simply accepted that science often works imperfectly, we'd be better off.
Regulate Gene Editing in Wild Animalsby Jeantine LunshofNature World ViewMay 12th, 2015Unless properly regulated and contained, this research has the potential to rapidly alter ecosystems in irreversible and damaging ways.
Microbiomes Raise Privacy Concernsby Ewen CallawayNature NewsMay 11th, 2015Call it a "gut print." The collective DNA of the microbes that colonize a human body can uniquely identify someone, researchers have found, raising privacy issues.
Is DNA the Next Frontier in Privacy?by Nikhil SwaminathanAljazeera AmericaMay 11th, 2015The president has called for a million people to volunteer their DNA sequences, health records and sensor tracking data, but the government is mum on how it will protect their privacy.
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.
The Blurred Lines of Genetic Data: Practicality, Pleasure and Policingby Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostMay 8th, 2015Shocking news from Idaho is a reminder that we don’t always control what happens with our data, and won’t always like it.
DNA 'Printing' A Big Boon To Research, But Some Raise Concerns[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPRMay 7th, 2015"Heinz talks openly about everybody being able to create entirely novel creatures... Do we want the teenager next door to be creating Godzilla in the bathtub? I don't want that."
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