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About Biopolitics, Parties, Pundits & Human Biotechnology


Policy decisions about human biotechnologies have typically been debated among elite commissions and experts. But controversy is increasingly spilling over into mainstream news media and political debates.

This trend has been most notable in the United States, with the emergence of human embryonic stem cell research as a political issue. Stem cell debates at the policy level have made this discussion far more visible to the public.

The Bush Administration's restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research elevated the issue to the front pages of newspapers. Shortly after its announcement in 2001, partisan battle lines were drawn in ways that mirror the abortion rights divide.

Republicans hoped that opposition to research that destroys embryos would increase support among their party's religious conservative base. Democrats countered by assembling a coalition of patient advocates, biomedical researchers, and biotechnology entrepreneurs and appealed to moderate swing voters and Republicans who they believed would be swayed by promises of cures.

There were some notable exceptions to this partisan line-up. Some conservatives support embryonic stem cell research; some liberals and progressives who support the research in principle criticize aspects of its conduct and regulation. Unfortunately, the polarized debate has frequently distorted facts while obscuring a range of important social issues unrelated to the moral status of embryos.



Medical schools must play a role in addressing racial disparitiesby Jocelyn Stried, Margaret Hayden, Rahul Nayajk & Cameron NuttSTATJuly 25th, 2016Medical schools must be proactive because racism is written into their very textbooks.
Craig Venterís Latest Productionby Arlene WeintraubMIT Technology ReviewJuly 25th, 2016Venter's startup is using data to explore the links between our DNA and illness.
Taking Genomic Data Globalby Elizabeth WoykeMIT Technology ReviewJuly 25th, 2016Startups focused on Asia are among those aiming to bring precision medicine to far more people.
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.
'Activist judge' compares surrogacy to human traffickingby Daniel BiceMilwaukee-Wisconsin Journal SentinelJuly 24th, 2016The couple was forced to take second and third mortgages out on their home, but they were finally granted parental rights.
Chinese parents look to genes to see what talents their child hasby Yang XiGlobal TimesJuly 24th, 2016Some parents believe this helps them make parenting decisions, including what extracurricular activities their children pursue.
Can this woman cure ageing with gene therapy?by Dara Mohammadi & Nicola DavisThe GuardianJuly 24th, 2016Elizabeth Parrish has tried out her companyís anti-aging gene therapy, but the biology of aging may be more complicated than we understand.
Uncle Sam Wants You ó 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.
Should we pay women to donate their eggs for research? No, and here's why.[citing CGSí Marcy Darnovsky, fellow Lisa Ikemoto]by Michael HiltzikThe Los Angeles TimesJuly 22nd, 2016The risks of egg retrieval, particularly long-term risks, are not yet understood due to a lack of studies.
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.
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