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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."

Just What We Need: Slicker Infertility Marketingby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorOctober 21st, 2016A serial tech entrepreneur launches a new start-up called Prelude with a hipster-chic website downplaying the many unknowns of egg freezing.
Social science: Include social equity in California Biohubby Science FARE (Feminist Anti-Racist Equity) Collective: Jessica Cussins, Kate Weatherford Darling, Ugo Edu, Laura Mamo, Jenny Reardon & Charis ThompsonNatureOctober 19th, 20165–7% of the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative's Biohub health-research budget should be used to design and monitor goals of justice and equality from the outset, or social inequalities could limit the project's potential.
Reports of ‘three-parent babies’ multiplyby Sara ReardonNature NewsOctober 19th, 2016Claims of infants created using mitochondrial manipulation techniques in Mexico and China, and two pregnancies in the Ukraine, stir scientific and ethical debate.
World Bioethics Day: Human Dignity and Human Rightsby Leah LowthorpOctober 19th, 2016October 19 marks the first such international event sponsored by the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics. This year's theme of Human Dignity and Human Rights will be celebrated in 55 countries worldwide.
The Misleading Promise of I.V.F. for Women Over 40by Jane E. BrodyNew York TimesOctober 17th, 2016Miriam Zoll pushes back on the optimistic picture that the fertility industry paints for consumers that masks over 20 million failed IVF cycles.
Meet Prelude Fertility, The $200 Million Startup That Wants To Stop The Biological Clock[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Miguel HelftForbesOctober 17th, 2016Despite short and long-term risks with egg retrieval, fertility companies target young people as a new demographic, putting profits ahead of safety.
Mouse eggs made from skin cells in a dishby David CyranoskiNatureOctober 17th, 2016Research breakthrough sparks debate over the prospect of using stem cell techniques to produce synthetic human eggs from body tissue.
Can a DNA Test Really Predict Opiate Addiction?by Zachary SiegelThe Daily BeastOctober 15th, 2016By combining patient genetic profiles with clinical observations, tech company claims its test is 93% accurate without peer-reviewed evidence.
DNA database could help predict your disease — then get you firedby David LazarusLos Angeles TimesOctober 14th, 2016The "Precision Medicine" project of introducing big data into healthcare comes with a host of risks for individuals and communities, including privacy and genetic discrimination.
Advocacy group anecdotes present one-sided picture of genetic testing for breast cancerby Mary Chris JaklevicHealth News ReviewOctober 13th, 2016The push for BRCA genes screening often glosses over the limited foresight given by testing, the corporate ties of advocates, and the lack of support for women who test positive.
Science group seeks to guide Silicon Valley philanthropistsby Erika Check HaydenNature NewsOctober 13th, 2016The Science Philanthropy Alliance works with wealthy individuals, including the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, on a confidential basis to advise them on funding basic research.
Three-person baby 'race' dangerous[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by James GallagherBBCOctober 12th, 2016Scientists and ethicists warn of fertility doctors forum-shopping to perform dangerous mitochondrial manipulation experiments.
CRISPR deployed to combat sickle-cell anaemiaby Heidi LedfordNature NewsOctober 12th, 2016Gene therapy aimed at a single-cell genetic condition shows some success in mice, while highlighting unknowns of human gene editing.
Designer and Discarded Genomesby Ruha Benjamine-flux ArchitectureOctober 12th, 2016Field notes from a Harvard meeting on a "synthetic human genome" moonshot reveal the anti-democratic foundations of HGP-Write.
Some I.V.F. Experts Discourage Multiple Birthsby Jane E. BrodyNew York TimesOctober 10th, 2016The first IVF baby was the only embryo transferred. Since then, fertility protocols have shifted in favor of more cycles and more drugs, contrary to medical evidence.
White Nonsense: Alt-right trolls are arguing over genetic tests they think “prove” their whitenessby Elspeth ReeveVICE NewsOctober 9th, 2016The pseudo-science of "biological race" is perpetuated by white nationalist online communities with "ancestral evidence" provided by 23andMe.
President signs Senate bill that protects eugenics victimsby Richard CraverWinston-Salem JournalOctober 7th, 2016Passed in a bipartisan effort, state restitution payments will not decrease or eliminate federal benefits for class members who were forcibly sterilized.
3-Person IVF Breaking News: Where Are the Advocates for the Public Interest? by Leah LowthorpOctober 7th, 2016A baby created via 3-person IVF was delivered by US doctors in Mexico in order to avoid regulation. How has the media responded in the US and internationally?
Don’t Miss This: The Story of CRISPR Told in a Comicby Kayla TolentinoOctober 6th, 2016Illustrator Andy Warner helps to break down the complexities of the still unraveling CRISPR gene editing story in his recent piece "Bad Blood."
Uterus Transplants Fail Again: Why Are They So Difficult?by Rachael RettnerLive ScienceOctober 5th, 2016Four uterus transplants using live donors (a first in the U.S.) took place in Dallas with assistance from pioneering Swedish team, but three were removed due to lack of blood flow.
Words Matter: "Hired Womb" vs. "Birth Mother"by Abby LippmanImpact EthicsOctober 3rd, 2016The words we choose to talk about gestational arrangements influence how we think about and regulate third-party reproduction.
Wrong Steps: The First One From Threeby Pete ShanksDeccan ChronicleOctober 2nd, 2016Gene-editing technology is advancing rapidly. What if we come to a consensus about what should not be allowed...and then some renegade scientists, convinced that they know best, just go ahead and do it?
Sally Phillips: Do We Really Want a World without Down’s Syndrome?by Viv GroskopThe Guardian October 1st, 2016The UK national health service will now cover new tests to screen fetuses for Down syndrome. A mother and actress notes the likely result: "It becomes ‘your fault’ if you choose to have the baby."
UK Bioethicists Eye Designer Babies and CRISPR Cowsby Heidi LedfordNature NewsSeptember 30th, 2016The Nuffield Council on Bioethics' new report on genome editing will be followed by recommendations on human germline applications in early 2017.
Meet the guy biohacking puppies to make them glow in the darkby Kristen V. BrownFusionSeptember 28th, 2016The goal isn’t just to make glowing Frankenpuppies. "I want to make perfect dogs...I don’t want slightly imperfect dogs."
Doctors Dig for More Data About Patientsby Melanie EvansWall Street JournalSeptember 25th, 2016In the name of improving treatment, some hospitals are buying their patients' consumer and financial data from third-party brokers.
A Top Journalist is Suing the FDA Over Its Alleged Use of a Banned and Secretive Practice to Manipulate the Newsby Dave MosherBusiness InsiderSeptember 24th, 2016The FDA has imposed "close-hold embargoes," which allow reporters access to newsworthy information only if they agree not to contact outside sources, a keystone of journalistic due diligence.
Controversial Human Embryo Editing: 5 Things to Know[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Rachael RettnerLiveScienceSeptember 23rd, 2016Basic CRISPR experiments in human embryos in Sweden raise questions about passing clear rules against using edited germ cells for reproduction and oversight.
The Newly Found Innocence of Paolo Macchiariniby Leonid SchneiderFor Better ScienceSeptember 23rd, 2016Suspicious justifications underlie recent university, media, and government defenses of the controversial stem cell surgeon.
Can CRISPR–Cas9 Boost Intelligence?by Jim KozubekScientific AmericanSeptember 23rd, 2016There are no superior genes, only genes that provide advantages with a tradeoff for other disadvantages. But some argue that there is a duty to manipulate the genetic code of future children.
Are Swedish Designer Babies Coming Soon?by Eric NiilerSeekerSeptember 23rd, 2016"What are the oversight and controls to prevent this technology from being misused and go to a stage that, for now, the scientific community has agreed is a no-go?"
As Kuwait imposes world’s first DNA collection law, attorney tries to fight itby Cyrus FarivarARS TechnicaSeptember 22nd, 2016"Compelling every citizen, resident, and visitor to submit a DNA sample to the government is similar to forcing house searches without a warrant."
Monsanto Licenses CRISPR Technology to Modify Crops — with Key Restrictionsby Sharon BegleySTATSeptember 22nd, 2016The Broad Institute has issued a CRISPR license to Monsanto, restricting any uses for gene drive, "terminator seeds," or tobacco R&D.
Breaking Taboo, Swedish Scientist Seeks To Edit DNA Of Healthy Human Embryos[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPRSeptember 22nd, 2016Using CRISPR gene editing on human embryos is a step toward attempts at producing genetically modified humans. It's not a step to be taken lightly.
The End of China’s One-Child Policy Has Put Huge Pressure on the Nation’s Sperm Banksby Hannah BeechTimeSeptember 21st, 2016Unlike in the US, selling sperm or eggs is illegal in China, but sperm banks get around that by offering men "subsidies." And illegal sperm banks have proliferated.
Titanic Clash Over CRISPR Patents Turns Uglyby Heidi LedfordNature September 21st, 2016The billion-dollar patent battle over CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing has moved from scientific minutiae to accusations of impropriety.
Stem Cell Advocates and Critics Push Back on FDA Guidelinesby Alexandra OssolaScientific AmericanSeptember 21st, 2016"After these public meetings the FDA may...send a signal that it is indeed going to rein in the dangerous stem cell clinic industry for real."
Cut-Throat Academia Leads to 'Natural Selection of Bad Science', Claims Studyby Hannah DevlinThe GuardianSeptember 20th, 2016Under pressures of funding and attracting "progeny," many scientists publish surprising yet unreliable findings.
Patients Turn To San Diego Stem Cell Companies For Costly, Unproven Treatmentsby David WagnerKPBSSeptember 20th, 2016One patient lost hundreds of thousands of dollars pursuing unapproved stem cell treatments, and was left with a painful tumor and significantly decreased mobility.
White House science advisers urge Justice Dept., judges to raise forensic standardsby Spencer S. HsuWashington PostSeptember 20th, 2016A new report cautions that widely used methods to trace complex DNA samples to criminal defendants fall short of scientific standards.
Why we need a law to prevent genetic discriminationby Yvonne Bombard, Ronald Cohn & Stephen SchererThe Globe and Mail [Canada]September 19th, 2016After unanimous passage through Canada's Senate, a bill on genetic discrimination is now before the House of Commons.
Human Chimera Research’s Huge (and Thorny) Potentialby Paul KnoepflerWiredSeptember 19th, 2016A stem cell researcher notes a range of tough bioethical questions on the table if the NIH moves forward with lifting its research ban.
Why Some Of India's Surrogate Moms Are Full Of Regretby Julie McCarthyNPRSeptember 18th, 2016Women employed as surrogates are rarely in a position to change the fundamental circumstance of their poverty because the payments simply aren't enough.
US toughens rules for clinical-trial transparencyby Sara ReardonNature NewsSeptember 16th, 2016Under new regulations, researchers must register information on the design and results of clinical trials within 21 days of enrolling their first patient, regardless of outcome.
‘Motherless babies!’ How to create a tabloid science headline in five easy stepsby Gretchen VogelScience MagazineSeptember 14th, 2016Here's the recipe for transforming a modest developmental biology paper into a blockbuster story.
Peru Fails to Deliver for Indigenous Womenby Shena CavalloopenDemocracySeptember 12th, 2016Some 300,000 poor rural indigenous people were forcibly sterilized according to state "quotas," but a public prosecutor has decided not to pursue charges of "crimes against humanity."
When Evolution Fights Back Against Genetic Engineeringby Brooke BorelThe AtlanticSeptember 12th, 2016Gene drive technology raises intense ethical and practical concerns, not only from critics but from the very scientists who are working with it.
DNA Dragnet: In Some Cities, Police Go From Stop-and-Frisk to Stop-and-Spitby Lauren KirchnerProPublicaSeptember 12th, 2016Private police DNA databases are multiplying, and are subject to no state or federal regulation or oversight.
Scandals Waiting to Happen: Institutional Conflicts of Interest at California Stem Cell Agencyby Pete ShanksSeptember 8th, 2016StemCells Inc., which has received tens of millions of dollars from the state-funded stem cell agency, paid its president a hefty sum when he joined its board a week after resigning his position.
Women Freeze Eggs to Gain Time to Find the Right Partners Study Findsby Nicola DavisThe Guardian September 7th, 2016"It is quite dangerous to start suggesting that by medicalising a social problem, we can cure it."
Passing My Disability On to My Childrenby Sheila BlackThe New York TimesSeptember 7th, 2016Drawing on hew own experience, the author challenges the logic of creating "designer babies" with screening or modifying technologies.
The Perils of Planned Extinctionsby Claire Hope CummingsProject SyndicateSeptember 6th, 2016Instead of taking time to fully consider the ethical, ecological, and social issues of gene-drive technology, many are aggressively promoting its use in conservation.
Another Scathing Report Causes More Eminent Heads to Roll in the Macchiarini Scandalby Gretchen VogelScience MagazineSeptember 6th, 2016Fallout continues from a scandal involving patient deaths after a surgeon implanted artificial tracheae seeded with stem cells.
Stem Cell Company Paid $443,500 to Former Head of State Agency That Funds Researchby David JensenThe Sacramento BeeSeptember 1st, 2016Conflict-of-interest allegations have dogged the agency since it was created in 2004 by California voters to use state bond proceeds to finance stem cell research.
Two Women Pregnant after Having Ovarian Mitochondria Injected into EggsThe Japan TimesAugust 30th, 2016Some experts are calling for a careful response to the new procedure, as its safety and effects have not yet been scientifically verified.
Sperm Donor at Heart of Canadian Lawsuits Admits He Lied to Company Xytex, Police Sayby Diana MehtaThe Canadian PressAugust 30th, 2016Amidst pending lawsuits, Sperm Donor 9623 has turned himself in to the police for "falsifying paperwork."
Why Gene Tests for Cancer Don't Offer More Answersby Jessica WapnerScientific AmericanAugust 29th, 2016Genetic profiling of tumors has a long way to go. Many patients learn that their cancers have mutations for which no drug exists
Forget Ideology, Liberal Democracy’s Newest Threats Come From Technology and Bioscienceby John NaughtonThe GuardianAugust 28th, 2016Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, reviewed here, argues that "In the 21st century, those who ride the train of progress will acquire divine abilities of creation and destruction, while those left behind will face extinction."
Adopted Koreans, Stymied in Search of Birth Parents, Find Hope in a Cotton Swabby Marie Tae McDermottNew York TimesAugust 27th, 2016In search for birth family connections, South Korean adoptees turn to the personal genomics industry for answers.
Why India’s New Surrogacy Bill Is Bad For Womenby Sharmila RudrappaThe Huffington PostAugust 26th, 2016In an attempt to regulate surrogacy, the bill has further deregulated the industry and opened the possibilities for deeper harms to working class women.
The Little-Known History of the Forced Sterilization of Native American Womenby Erin BlakemoreJSTOR DailyAugust 25th, 2016Both the IHS and its dark history of forced sterilization were the result of longstanding, often ham-fisted attempts to "address" American Indians’ health care needs.
FBI’s New DNA Process Produces More Matches in Suspect Databaseby Devlin BarrettWall Street JournalAugust 25th, 2016In May, the Bureau reduced the number of genetic locations required for a potential match (from 10-13 to 8-9 loci), resulting in thousands of new "hits."
New Surrogacy Bill Bars Married Couples with Kids, NRIs, Gays, Live-ins, Foreignersby Express News ServiceThe Indian ExpressAugust 25th, 2016The draft bill permits only "altruistic surrogacy" for childless couples who have been married for at least five years.
Surrogacy Still Big Business in Shanghai Despite National Banby Alice YanSouth China Morning PostAugust 25th, 2016Since China's one-child policy relaxed two years ago, the surrogacy industry has been expanding despite recent police raids.
Kuwait’s new DNA collection law is scarier than we ever imaginedby Daniel RiveroFusionAugust 24th, 2016National security policies require residents, citizens, and visitors to submit DNA samples, shaping new definitions of the country's citizenship.
Babies’ Health Could Be Affected by Variation in IVF Nutrientsby Jessica HamzelouNew Scientist August 24th, 2016Pharmaceutical companies keep the "recipe" of IVF culture media a secret, but research suggests long-term health effects for resulting children.
Accessible Synthetic Biology Raises New Concerns for DIY Biological Warfareby Joseph NeighborVICE MotherboardAugust 23rd, 2016The monopoly on biology once held by governments and universities has been broken, posing significant challenges for the international community.
Humans of the Future Could Be Much Faster Than Usain Bolt or Michael PhelpsSouth China Morning PostAugust 23rd, 2016We could be getting closer to the post-human era, where we modify our own genetics to the point that we're less recognisably "human" than ever before.
Gene Mapping May Not Be for Everyoneby Karen WeintraubUSA TodayAugust 22nd, 2016Genetic tests reveal variations in the genome that might not cause problems but could lead to unnecessary medical tests, anxiety and treatments.
Staying Ahead of Technology’s Curvesby Doug HillBoston GlobeAugust 21st, 2016Embracing disruptive technologies without trying to anticipate and prepare for their potential consequences is now, more than ever, a bad idea.
These New Stem Cell Treatments Are Expensive — and Unprovenby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesAugust 19th, 2016"Stem cells have become a medical buzzword," Paul Knoepfler notes. "I see a lot of businesses using direct marketing to patients to take advantage of that."
Ethical questions raised in search for Sardinian centenarians' secretsby Stephanie KirchgaessnerThe GuardianAugust 12th, 2016Samples from residents of Sardinia’s "Blue Zone," who are famed for longevity, have been sold to a for-profit British research firm.
Diversity, disability and eugenics: An interview with Rob Sparrowby Xavier SymonsBioEdgeAugust 11th, 2016Philosophers and the medical profession have been way too swift to make judgments about other people’s quality of life. We're not as far from the bad old eugenics as many think.
The Human Egg Business: More Media Coverage of California Cash-for-Eggs Legislation[citing CGS]by David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportAugust 5th, 2016AB 2531, backed by the fertility industry, would remove caps on payments for egg retrieval, thus inducing women to gamble with their health.
Questions about Deaths in Cancer Trials using Gene-Altered Cellsby Katherine DrabiakBiopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 5th, 2016Excitement about immunotherapy and gene therapy approaches to cancer has eclipsed ethical questions about seven recent deaths in clinical trials.
NIH Plans To Lift Ban On Research Funds For Part-Human, Part-Animal Embryosby Rob SteinNPRAugust 4th, 2016Concerns include the inadvertent creation of animals with partly human brains, endowing them with some semblance of human consciousness or human thinking abilities. (Public comment until September 4.)
The Case Against Public Investment in Reproductive Genetic Modificationby Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 3rd, 2016Philosopher Tina Rulli argues that three-person IVF germline modification is not a “life-saving” medical therapy.
It's time for a conversation on parental surrogacy rulesby Celine CooperMontreal GazetteJuly 31st, 2016Is Montreal inching closer to relaxing or even abandoning its entrenched disapproval of procreative surrogacy?
35 couples used surrogates since new law in placeThe Nation [Thailand]July 31st, 2016Government agencies will track outcomes for women working as surrogates and children born in surrogacy arrangements, and analyse information on ways to improve regulations.
Stem Cell Therapies Are Still Mostly Theory, Yet Clinics Are Flourishingby Gina KolataThe New York TimesJuly 28th, 2016570 clinics in the United States are offering untested stem cell therapies.
When Baby-Making Moves From the Bedroom to the Laboratoryby Natalie SchreyerMother JonesJuly 28th, 2016"You want to get the best car," says Hank Greely. "Why don't you want to get the best baby?"
We’re on the cusp of a gene editing revolution, are we ready?by EditorialNew ScientistJuly 27th, 2016Fast-moving genetic technologies may be on the road to outpacing public acceptance and debate.
Human Enhancement Freaks People Out, Study Finds; Designer Babies Might 'Meddle With Nature'by Ed CaraMedical DailyJuly 26th, 2016Survey reveals more wariness than excitement for genetic technologies that would 'enhance' people.
Human Enhancement: The Scientific and Ethical Dimensions of Striving for Perfectionby David MasciPew Research CenterJuly 26th, 2016Genetic technologies raise questions ranging from the technical to the social.
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.
Can this woman cure ageing with gene therapy?by Dara Mohammadi & Nicola DavisThe GuardianJuly 24th, 2016Elizabeth Parrish has tried out her company’s anti-aging gene therapy, but the biology of aging may be more complicated than we understand.
Uncle Sam Wants You — Or at Least Your Genetic and Lifestyle Informationby Robert PearThe New York TimesJuly 23rd, 2016The Precision Medicine Initiative will seek participants from various geographies and socioeconomic statuses across the country.
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.
Nudging patients into clinical trialsby Bradley J. FikesThe San Diego Union-TribuneJuly 20th, 2016Incentives include money and rewards such as iPads.
Roma women share stories of forced sterilisationby Renate van der ZeeAl Jazeera [Czech Republic]July 19th, 2016The systematic sterilisation of Roma women was state policy in the former Czechoslovakia. The Czech government has rejected a compensation law.
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.
[September] Victory on CA Eggs-for-Research Bill | Gene Editing Changes Everything? | Jobs at CGSOur monthly newsletter Biopolitical Views & News rounds up our commentary and recent news stories. Here's the September issue!
Resumed stem cell study by EditorialThe Korea TimesJuly 13th, 2016Cloning-based stem cell research in Korea is set to resume, and will use nearly 600 human eggs.
Considering Gene Editingby Jef AkstThe ScientistJuly 12th, 2016"Given the world as we know it, germline genetic enhancement could exacerbate the already obscene gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots.'"
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, 2016The office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment further on the inclusion of gene editing as a potential "weapon of mass destruction."
First he pioneered a new way of making life. Now he wants to try it in peopleby Karen WeintraubSTATJuly 8th, 2016"If someone were to proceed with [three-person IVF] now, my own view is that’s probably irresponsible."
In Juno patient deaths, echoes seen of earlier failed companyby Sharon BegleySTATJuly 8th, 2016"Both companies...had only a superficial, almost cartoonish, understanding of how [the experimental therapy] works at the cellular level. And now three people are dead."
Eugenics bill passes Houseby Kevin EllisShelby StarJuly 7th, 2016The North Carolina bill will ensure that compensation payments to victims of the state's eugenic sterilization program are 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.
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.
'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.
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