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About Eugenics & Human Biotechnology


Eugenics entails using science and/or breeding techniques to produce individuals with preferred or "better" characteristics.

In the early twentieth century, eugenic ideologies and practices drew on genetic theories of the day in efforts to control human reproduction. This provided scientific cover for policy decisions about who should and shouldn't reproduce—decisions largely informed by discriminatory attitudes toward marginalized groups. In the United States, a widespread eugenics movement led to the forced sterilization of tens of thousands of people considered "unfit," to stringent immigration restrictions on undesired populations, and to public policies that encouraged "fitter families" to produce more children.

Eugenic ideas and rhetoric pioneered in the United States were taken up by the Nazis, who used them to justify their extermination of Jews, people with disabilities, and other groups. The Nazi genocides led to an almost complete rejection of eugenic ideas immediately after World War II.

In recent years, a small but disturbing number of scientists, scholars, and others have begun calling for "reconsideration." Some urge the development of inheritable genetic modification (changing the genes passed on to children) and the expanded use of selection technologies such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. Some support these technologies as a way to "seize control of human evolution." Others see them as an efficient, rapid means to produce "enhanced" children.

There are still some traditional eugenicists who focus on purported racial and group differences in intelligence and behavior. But many transhumanists and other eugenicists seek to differentiate their high-tech visions from earlier programs. They say that they reject the racism and government coercion that characterized various twentieth century eugenicists, and argue that market dynamics and individual choice will drive twenty-first century eugenics.



Let people most affected by gene editing write CRISPR rulesby Jessica HamzelouNew ScientistApril 29th, 2016The US National Academies' committee on human gene editing held a discussion in Paris at the French National Academy of Medicine.
Here Are the Medals Given to Eugenically Healthy Humans in the 1920sby Ella MortonAtlas ObscuraApril 26th, 2016People were judged alongside livestock at state fairs in better baby and fitter family contests.
Dwarfism, Chemical Limb Lengthening, and Informed Consentby Joseph StramondoInternational Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics BlogApril 25th, 2016CA biotech BioMarin Pharmaceuticals has completed Phase 2 of a drug clinical trial designed to "normalize" annual growth but not address health complications of dwarfism.
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.
In IVF, Questions About ‘Mosaic’ Embryosby Kira PeikoffThe New York TimesApril 18th, 201620% of embryos have both "normal" and "abnormal" cells, generating false positive genetic test results, and questions among fertility clinics about whether to implant.
Identity, disability and the genomeby Felicity BoardmanBioNewsApril 11th, 2016It is vital that the voices of families living with the very genetic diseases to be targeted by germline gene editing are heard--it is their lives and stories that offer us the most valuable insights into what we stand to lose.
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.
Turning to technology when nature isn't enough for pregnancyby Marion CallahanBucks County Courier Times / The HeraldApril 9th, 2016“Gender is not a disease; it's a preference. Once you start doing it for preferences, not medical reasons, you are opening a door to a big slippery slope.”
Gender Selection As Part Of Advanced Reproductive Technology: Does The U.S. Prefer Boys Or Girls?[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Amy SchaefferThe InquisitrApril 9th, 2016Some are concerned that selecting a non-disease preference like gender will pave the way for gene editing other preferred traits.
Meet the feminists who are trying to stop the ‘dictator’s’ daughter from becoming presidentby Manuel RuedaFusionApril 8th, 2016In the 1990’s more than 300,000 women-mostly poor and indigenous-were sterilized in Peru by a birth control program run by president Alberto Fujimori.
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