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Genetic Crossroads
May 31st, 2007

bullet May 7: Harvard Professor of Government Michael Sandel addressed a standing room-only crowd of more than 100 on his new book, The Case Against Perfection, at a CGS-sponsored symposium at the Berkeley (California) City Club.

A review of The Case Against Perfection in the May 2007 issue of The American Prospect (on-line access requires subscription), titled "Our Bodies, Our Choices," glibly rejects Sandel's concerns about human genetic enhancement on libertarian grounds. But as the University of Minnesota's Dr. Carl Elliott comments in a review of the book in the May 17, 2007 New England Journal of Medicine (on-line access requires subscription), the concerns "are less about what we will do with technology than about what technology will do to us."

bullet May 18: Osagie Obasogie's "Racial Alchemy: Bioethics and the Skin Tone Gene" was published in Bioethics Forum.

bullet May 25: Marcy Darnovsky presented "Biopolitics for a Human Future" at Nobody's Child, Everybody's Children: An International Conference on New Reproductive and Genetic Technologies in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Her remarks were featured in conference coverage in the Nanaimo Daily News. The conference brought together policy makers implementing the Canadian Assisted Human Reproduction Act, scholars, advocates, social workers and counselors working in the assisted reproduction field, and donor offspring.

bullet CGS in the News: CGS staff appeared this month in outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, and Oprah and Friends Radio:

  • May 8: Richard Hayes was quoted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, "Robo-Quandry on issues involving human enhancement": "Many of these new technologies are very powerful and will allow us to manipulate the natural world in ways that we've never seen before. The question is: What sorts of manipulations contribute to the social well-being and what kinds do not?"
  • May 13: Marcy Darnovsky was quoted in a Washington Post article, "Women Hedge Bets By Banking Their Eggs": "We really need to consider how this could open the door to a global trade in women's eggs, which could turn out to be a very exploitative situation."
  • May 13: Sujatha Jesudason was quoted in a New York Times article, "Genetic Testing + Abortion = ???": "The fear is that this will be used as an excuse to limit women's access to abortion. But as these selective technologies are getting popularized we need to try to agree on a set of principles without giving up the fight for reproductive rights"
  • May 16: Marcy Darnovsky was quoted in an Associated Press article, "Firm says test can tell fetus' sex at 6 weeks": "Sex selection might encourage parents to view their kids as commodities. Tests like this could normalize genetic selection and lead to a scenario where parents are one day picking out their child's characteristics from a catalog."
  • May 17: Jesse Reynolds was quoted in a San Diego Union-Tribune article, "State high court declines to review previous ruling": "I think the lawsuit, although we didn't support it, was a blessing in disguise because it put the brakes on, so they could get policy in place before the big bucks started going out."
  • May 18: In response to his Los Angeles Times op-ed on Oprah Winfrey endorsing genetic explanations for racial disparities in hypertension, Osagie Obasogie was interviewed for Oprah and Friends Radio (XM Satellite Radio Channel 156) by Dr. Mehmet Oz.

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