|DNA Dreams, Biopolitical TimesApril 9th, 2014The documentary film that explores the inner workings of BGI Shenzhen, “the world’s largest genomics organization,” is now available in full on YouTube.|
|Is it a Boy?, The Harvard IndependentApril 4th, 2014Today, the use of PGD to select gender is a multi-million dollar enterprise. I would argue that prenatal gender selection is worrisome both from an ethical and societal standpoint. |
|Discriminatory “DNA Sweeps”, Biopolitical TimesMarch 31st, 2014A DNA sweep of “all black and brown migrant workers” at farms in Canada has led to a complaint against the Ontario Provincial Police department alleging misconduct and racial profiling.|
|Synthetic Chromosomes, Bioethics ForumMarch 28th, 2014A team of scientists announced this week that it had successfully created one of the sixteen chromosomes found in yeast cells, marking a meaningful step forward in that part of genetic engineering dubbed synthetic biology. |
|The Silence of the Bioethicists, Impact EthicsMarch 24th, 2014What if one day an investigation determines that serious research misconduct did occur at the University of Minnesota and that most faculty members at the Center for Bioethics remained silent?|
|Is Ed Houben Europe's Most Virile Man?BBC NewsMarch 19th, 2014Ed Houben has an unusual pastime. He has slept with scores of women who seek him out for his legendary powers of insemination. As John Laurenson discovers, he doesn't charge.|
|Stirring the Simmering “Designer Baby” Pot, ScienceMarch 14th, 2014Good ethics begins with good facts, but the effort by the FDA to get the facts straight is just the beginning of the conversation we must have on the wisdom of new reproductive technologies. |
|Whole Genome Sequencing only Halfway There, Biopolitical TimesMarch 14th, 2014A new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that whole genome sequencing has large hurdles to overcome before it can be integrated into clinical care, but there’s another point to consider: Do we want it there in the first place?
|23andMe and the FDA, The New England Journal of MedicineMarch 13th, 2014The debate has been framed as a struggle between medical paternalism and individuals' rights, but that is inappropriate until the diagnostic and prognostic capability of genomic information has been clinically validated.|
|Hacking Your DNA, NewsweekMarch 12th, 2014Imagine a future when Big Data has access not only to your shopping habits, but also to your DNA and other deeply personal data collected about our bodies and behavior. What will the government and others do with that data?|
|Another Legal Setback for Myriad, The ScientistMarch 11th, 2014A U.S. District Court judge denied an injunction to stop Myriad Genetics' competitors from selling tests for BRCA mutations because Myriad’s patent claims may not hold up in an ongoing lawsuit.|
|When Science Doesn't Have all the Answers, BloomMarch 6th, 2014My son’s rare genetic deletion is on the list of disorders identified by microarray analysis of a fetus’s DNA. It makes me sad to think that the lives of children like my son are being targeted for termination. Is this a step forward?|
|Global Genomic Data-Sharing Effort Kicks Off, NatureMarch 6th, 2014The number of sequenced human genomes will soon jump from the thousands to the millions. A coalition of researchers, funders and businesses aims to facilitate the exchange of genomic data. |
|Three-Parent Babies and Eugenics, GenotopiaMarch 6th, 2014The “three-parent baby” is most certainly genetic engineering — it just modifies “cassettes” of genes, if you will, rather than tweaking single genes or nucleotides. It is exactly as eugenic as going through conventional IVF and selecting the traits you want in your offspring.|
|A Powerful New Way to Edit DNA, The New York TimesMarch 3rd, 2014In the past year or so, researchers have discovered that a sophisticated immune system that bacteria use to fight viruses can be harnessed to make changes to the DNA of humans, as well as other animals and plants.|
|China Cracks Down on DNA Testing, ForbesMarch 3rd, 2014Early in February, the Chinese government quietly put the brakes on the provision of genetic tests to customers by domestic hospitals and a variety of medical and health institutions.
|The Rent-a-Womb Boom, The Daily BeastMarch 3rd, 2014Who really profits from India’s multimillion-dollar surrogacy industry? Adrienne Vogt explores the uncertain future of the subcontinent’s baby business.
|The Mammoth Cometh, The New York TimesFebruary 27th, 2014Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening — and it’s going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad.|
|FDA Weighs Unknowns of 3-Person Embryo Fertilization[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky], Associated PressFebruary 26th, 2014Genetic experts cautioned that it could take decades to confirm the safety of an experimental technique, meant to prevent children from inheriting debilitating diseases, that would create babies from the DNA of three people.|
|The New Science Of Three-Parent Babies[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky], NPR On PointFebruary 26th, 2014Mixing DNA from three people to produce one healthy baby. We’ll look at the controversial world of mitochondrial manipulation therapies to avoid inherited disease.|
|Genetically Modified Babies, The 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. |
|Is Genetic Testing Humans Playing God?, CNNFebruary 22nd, 2014Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis allows doctors to test embryos before they are implanted into a woman's womb, to help ensure that certain gene mutations are not passed on. But this procedure is raising myriad complex ethical and social issues.|
|FDA Asked to Approve Creation of Genetically Modified Children, Huffington 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.|
|Old Songs, New Tests, and Expensive ChildrenFebruary 20th, 2014The CEO of AOL justified a restructuring of the company’s 401(K) plan by citing two "distressed babies." This tone-deaf insensitivity was answered by a disapproving choir, but it sadly resembles too many descriptions of the "cost" of people with disabilities.
|Rewriting the Human Genome, MIT Technology ReviewFebruary 12th, 2014CRISPR could make gene therapies more broadly applicable, but, according to George Church, some scientists will be tempted to use it to engineer embryos during in vitro fertilization. |
|Ancient Genome Stirs Ethics Debate, NatureFebruary 12th, 2014The remains of a young boy buried some 12,600 years ago in Montana have revealed the ancestry of one of the earliest populations in the Americas.|
|Questions Relating to 'Mitochondrial Replacement', BioNewsFebruary 10th, 2014The term 'mitochondrial replacement' misrepresents reality while making it difficult for the general public to make an informed decision about the procedures and the grave ethical difficulties they raise for both individuals and the whole of society.|
|The Great Indian Egg Bazaar, The Indian ExpressFebruary 9th, 2014The death in Delhi has brought the spotlight back on the fast rising but largely unregulated egg donation industry in India, riding on lucrative money and word of mouth.|
|First Transgenic Monkeys Born Via “Precision Gene Editing”, Biopolitical TimesFebruary 6th, 2014Chinese scientists announced the birth of the first primates created with a precision gene modification technique, raising both hopes about new insights into human diseases and concerns about new attempts at human inheritable genetic engineering.
|To Catch a Killer Gene: Sisters Race to Stop Mystery Disease[Quotes CGS's Osagie K. Obasogie], NBC NewsFebruary 6th, 2014This story of a family banding together to stop a disease before it cuts a path through society illustrates the promise of genomic medicine, but also the soul-troubling questions that arise when people have a hand in their own evolution.|
|Kercher Trial: How Does DNA Contamination Occur?, BBCJanuary 30th, 2014Potential for the contamination of forensic DNA evidence has been highlighted by the Meredith Kercher murder trial. But just how much of a problem is it and what lessons should be drawn?|
|Should we Cut Back on IVF?, The Boston GlobeJanuary 29th, 2014Yes, say a group of European researchers who came to the conclusion by reviewing studies on women who underwent the procedure and on the health of children born using the technology.
|Building the Better Baby, Bioethics.netJanuary 21st, 2014BGI, the Chinese company, is hoping that it will soon be able to offer parents an option like that in GATTACA — choosing the “smartest” embryo.|
|[UK] NHS patient data to be made available for sale to drug and insurance firms, The 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.|
|There’s a Gene for That, JacobinJanuary 18th, 2014History is littered with horrifying examples of the misuse of evolutionary theory to justify power and inequality. Welcome to a new age of biological determinism.|
|DNA Dreaming, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 13th, 2014A new documentary looks at the Chinese company that styles itself "the world’s largest genomics organization,” and its hunt for the genetic basis of intelligence. |
|Gene doping: Sport's biggest battle? , BBC NewsJanuary 11th, 2014Gene doping may already be happening, but testing authorities are reluctant to discuss the specifics, and some researchers see ethical issues in withholding treatments.|
|FDA Meeting on Mitochondrial Replacement Rescheduled, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 3rd, 2014The FDA public meeting to discuss “oocyte modification in assisted reproduction” that was postponed due to the government shutdown in October has now been rescheduled for February 25-26.
|A Short History of Biological Explanations for Poverty, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 2nd, 2014“The Biological Inferiority of the Undeserving Poor” sketches the history of biological explanations for social ills, and warns that we should pay close attention to their current resurgence. |
|How Many Donor Offspring are Really Out There?, MediumDecember 23rd, 2013The media and the reproductive industry’s "experts" should not be using patently erroneous figures. There is no reliable method of assessing how many children are conceived via gamete donation each year. |
|Top Science Longreads of 2013, National GeographicDecember 23rd, 2013I’m really optimistic about the future for long, deep, rich science reporting. There are more places that are publishing it, more ways of finding it, and a seemingly huge cadre of people who are writing it well.|
|Biopolitical News of the Year 2013, Biopolitical TimesDecember 19th, 2013For better and worse, 2013 has been a year in which several related issues familiar to those who follow human biotechnology moved into the wider sphere of public discussion.|
|New Ways to Engineer the Germline, Biopolitical TimesDecember 18th, 2013A look at a number of emerging techniques that could compromise the international consensus against human inheritable genetic modification.
|Too Much Information, MIT Technology ReviewDecember 17th, 2013Advances in non-invasive prenatal screening could collide with the politics of abortion and raise the ugly specter of eugenics. Are there limits to how much data parents should have—or want to have—about their children before birth?|
|The Three-Parent Dilemma
, MomsRisingDecember 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.
|The Case for a New Biopolitics, YouTubeDecember 11th, 2013A talk at UC Berkeley Extension for Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvouz (LASERs), a national program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversation with an audience.|
|Building Better Humans, East Bay ExpressDecember 4th, 2013A new documentary looks at the impacts of human enhancement technologies. "I totally get the temptation," says the filmmaker. "But what are we fixing? Who is the problem?"|
|The Failed Promise of 23andMe, BloombergDecember 3rd, 2013The FDA should take stronger action to protect consumers from the risks associated with direct-to-consumer testing - especially overpromises about partial testing.
|San Diego Woman Sues 23andMe Over DNA Test, UT San DiegoDecember 3rd, 2013A class-action lawsuit alleges that 23andMe knowingly misled consumers into thinking that its DNA test kits produce a reliable look at a person’s relative risk for hundreds of diseases and disorders.|
|The Unregulated Sperm Industry, The New York TimesNovember 30th, 2013The new movie “Delivery Man” stars a former sperm donor who finds out that he has more than 500 children. Is this a Hollywood exaggeration or a possible outcome? Truth is, no one knows.|
|Are Three Parents One Too Many?[Quotes CGS], BloombergNovember 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.|
|My Deadly Disease Was Just a Bug, ctrl+verlustNovember 25th, 2013An update to the author's 23andMe report informed him that he had the mutations to develop a life-threatening disease. Except that he didn't. This is his story.|
|What Huxley Knew, Letter to the New York TimesNovember 24th, 2013Huxley’s assembly-line baby factories were an exaggeration, but it’s a mistake to dismiss too quickly his fears about the genetic manipulation of the species.|
|Remembering Adrienne Asch, Biopolitical TimesNovember 21st, 2013We mourn the death and deeply appreciate the life of Adrienne Asch, bioethicist, scholar, and disability rights activist.
|Company Patenting Tech for Designing Babies[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky], KTVUNovember 20th, 2013Biotechnology may give parents unprecedented choices. Fertility clinics already use pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to select traits for some in-vitro babies, but intentional manipulation might create ethical nightmares.|
|In Defence of Privacy, BioNewsNovember 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. |
|Philanthropy's Original Sin, The New AtlantisNovember 15th, 2013For all of philanthropy's wonderful qualities, it's important to understand that the first American foundations were deeply immersed in eugenics — the effort to promote the reproduction of the “fit” and to suppress the reproduction of the “unfit.”|
|The IVF Data WarsNovember 15th, 2013The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recently asserted that 60 percent of women who go through IVF end up with a baby, but this is a misleading figure for a number of reasons.|
|Designing Children, Genomics Law ReportNovember 12th, 2013Some degree of mastery over the genetic future of the human species seems to be a possibility. For whom and for what does this technology exist?|
|Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New Worlds, Biopolitical TimesNovember 7th, 2013A public symposium held on November 1 at San Francisco State University provided a rare and important opportunity to engage with the historical and ongoing implications of eugenic ideologies and practices for people with disabilities.
|NIH Seeks Comments on Plan to Share Genomic Data, Biopolitical TimesNovember 7th, 2013The National Institutes of Health is accepting public comments until November 20 on a draft Genomic Data Sharing Policy that promotes the wide-scale sharing of human and non-human genomic data.|
|Are Roboticists Ignoring the Consequences?, Seven DaysNovember 6th, 2013Thanks to innovations such as “low-cost sensors” and “new algorithms,” robots are starting to look like us, move like us and react like us. And if the worshippers of technology have their way, they will replace us.|
|A Conception Conundrum[Quotes CGS's Diane Tober], Psychology TodayNovember 4th, 2013Many donor-conceived children voice "genetic bewilderment" about their origins. Can the trend towards open-identity donation address these existential concerns?|
|The Odds of Innocence, NautilusNovember 3rd, 2013Juries in criminal trials are often encouraged to think of DNA profiling as an exact science. The statistics, however, tell a different story.|
|Root of Maths Genius Sought, NatureOctober 29th, 2013In a study dubbed ‘Project Einstein’, entrepreneur Jonathan Rothberg and physicist Max Tegmark have set their sights on finding the genes that underlie mathematical genius.
|Biology's Brave New WorldThe Promise and Perils of the Synbio Revolution, Foreign AffairsOctober 24th, 2013Synthetic genomics has spawned a dizzying array of new possibilities, challenges, and national security threats. The global bioterrorism and biosecurity establishment remains well behind the curve.|
|ASRM Meeting: What to Know, Biopolitical TimesOctober 24th, 2013The annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the fertility industry organization, typically generates headlines. Here are some of this year’s top stories.|
|Brain Decoding: Reading Minds, NatureOctober 23rd, 2013By scanning "blobs" of brain activity, scientists may be able to decode people's thoughts, their dreams and even their intentions.|
|An Insider’s Antidote for Dangerous Stem Cell Hype, XconomyOctober 22nd, 2013Paul Knoepfler’s new book is a scientific primer and a paean to the promise of stem cell research, but also a warning to vulnerable patients who prematurely look to stem cell therapy as a last-ditch hope for a cure.
|FDA Meeting on Germline Mitochondrial Replacement Postponed, Biopolitical TimesOctober 22nd, 2013The FDA public meeting to discuss a form of human inheritable genetic modification has been postponed because of the aftermath of the government shutdown; now there is more time to spread the word and get involved.|
|The Genomic Oracle, SlateOctober 21st, 2013If your DNA is sequenced at birth, how would if affect your life? A new project aims to find out.|
|How Science Goes WrongThe EconomistOctober 19th, 2013Modern scientists are doing too much trusting and not enough verifying — to the detriment of the whole of science, and of humanity.|
|Reproductive Rights and Responsibilities[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky], Dissident VoiceOctober 17th, 2013Medical science and reproductive technologies are imploring us to consider if our genetic material is ours – solely – once it has been shared through natural reproduction or in a laboratory resulting in another life.|
|Review: The Sports Gene, Biopolitical TimesOctober 17th, 2013David Epstein’s new book is unfortunately named. Sports Genes? – with an emphasis on the question mark – would have been more accurate. Nonetheless, the author provides a thoughtful exploration of some very tricky terrain.|
|The Killing Point, NSFWCorpOctober 16th, 2013Malcolm Gladwell cherry-picks his way through the complicated fields of physiology, genetics, and sport to frame an argument on performance-enhancing drugs that is not only ill-informed, it’s downright dangerous.|
|The Clone Named Dolly, The New York TimesOctober 14th, 2013This week’s Retro Report video tells the story of Dolly the sheep. The Scottish scientists who created her recall the painstaking process of trying to get the experiment to work.|
|The Arlene Bynon Show[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky], The Arlene Bynon ShowOctober 7th, 2013Marcy Darnovsky discusses 23andMe's recent "designer baby" patent with on a national affairs program broadcast on SiriusXM. |
|Girls Not Allowed, New InternationalistOctober 4th, 2013Honest regulation of sex selection, however tricky to enforce, is necessary because individual acts are having extremely harmful collective consequences.|
|23andMe's 'Build-a-Baby' Patent Criticised[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]BBC NewsOctober 3rd, 2013A US patent for a database that uses DNA testing to tell prospective parents which traits their future offspring may inherit has been criticised by experts.
|The Damaging Language of “Cure” and Down Syndrome, PatheosOctober 2nd, 2013Once again we’re hearing news of a breakthrough in research on drug therapies to enhance the cognitive processing of people with Down syndrome. And once again, the discussions seem to fixate on the controversial notion of a “cure.”|
|Dangerous Work, NatureOctober 2nd, 2013Behavioural geneticists must tread carefully to prevent their research being misinterpreted.|
|[VIDEO] Debating Embryonic Genetic Testing[With CGS Advisory Board member Francine Coeytaux]The DoctorsOctober 1st, 2013New genetic tests, including Next Generation Sequencing, can radically improve the odds of a healthy, full term pregnancy … but where do we draw the line? Hear more from The Doctors.|
|Outsourcing a Life[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky], San Francisco ChronicleSeptember 30th, 2013The Akanksha Infertility Clinic in Anand, India allowed a San Francisco Chronicle reporter and photographer full access to its facilities, except for the delivery room.|
|Blinded By Science[Mentions CGS's Jessica Cussins]Center for Environmental HealthSeptember 30th, 2013Three stories of science gone wrong: distorted science, unethical science, and just plain nutty science. We learn about geoengineering, flame retardant chemicals, and the controversy over misuse of Havasupai DNA.|
|Your Body, Their Property, Boston ReviewSeptember 30th, 2013When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down human gene patents it took one aspect of the debate over property interests in human biological materials off the table. But other body parts are still considered fair game.|
|30 Years Later, A MacArthur 'Genius' Reflects[Discusses the work of CGS's Osagie Obasogie], WGBH NewsSeptember 26th, 2013Former MacArthur Foundation fellow Ramón Gutiérrez calls Osagie Obasogie's work on how blind people understand race the most interesting research he's come across lately.|
|Scientists Warn Against “Three-Parent IVF” Experiment, Biopolitical 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.|
|Gene Therapy With a Difference, The New York TimesSeptember 23rd, 2013The idea is that a disease can be ameliorated not by replacing a defective gene, as is done in gene therapy, but by correcting it. But hopes for the new technique have now suffered a big blow.|
|More DNA Samples, More Debate, The Wall Street JournalSeptember 23rd, 2013In Orange County, California, officials are taking DNA samples from people charged with minor offenses such as shoplifting and drug possession, in exchange for agreeing to dismiss the charges or as part of plea deals.|
|Gendercide in the CaucasusThe EconomistSeptember 21st, 2013The practice of aborting female foetuses is found mostly in China and other Asian countries. But it is prevalent in the Caucasus, too. Two new studies look at why—and suggest the practice may spread.|