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Genetic Crossroads
June 11th, 2008

Crossing an Ethical Boundary
by Marcy Darnovsky, The Journal of Life Sciences
What prompted the recent headlines about genetically modified human embryos? Why did a brief account of an experiment at Cornell University, presented last fall at an American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference and then published without fanfare in its journal Fertility and Sterility, suddenly make news around the world?

Homo Genesis [PDF]
by Marcy Darnovsky, Bitch
Techno enthusiasts are marketing extreme reproductive technologies to gay families in a way that could set us on the road to a new chapter in eugenic experimentation.

Germline Modification Carries Risk of Major Social Harm
by Marcy Darnovsky, Nature
In this letter to the editor, CGS's Darnovsky points out that when discussing the potential to derive gametes from stem cells, we must be willing to draw lines proscribing socially pernicious applications.

Egg shortage hits race to clone human stem cells: Researchers back bid to pay donors
US stem-cell researchers are calling for changes to state laws that prohibit compensating women who donate eggs for research.... Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society in Oakland, California, says that such schemes split the doctor's duty of care three ways: between donor, fertility patient and researchers.

Is Sex Necessary for Reproduction?
San Francisco Chronicle
The in vitro fertilization industry, which originated in the 1980s as a solution for infertile couples, has actively sought to expand its market scope by tapping social trends and collaborating with researchers in genetics and stem cell technology.... Marcy Darnovsky, associate executive director of the group, said the Cornell work should not have been done without a broad public policy debate. Whatever its intent, Darnovsky said, the research could help create the technological foundations for "a real-world Gattaca" of genetically enhanced offspring for the affluent and discrimination against unenhanced genetic castes. "The technology and also the market dynamics are developing really quickly here," she said. "We don't want to be on the platform watching the train pull out of the station."

UK Scientists to Combine Human, Animal Embryos
CNN Headline News
Marcy Darnovsky discussed human-animal cytoplasmic hybrids with CNN's Glenn Beck.

The Smiling Heretic
The Journal of Life Sciences
Reg Kelly hopes the multidisciplinary institute he leads will help find new ways to improve public health and California's economy. But not everyone is a fan of his efforts to boost collaboration between academia and industry.... "The kinds of involvements and entanglements with private industry that are routine now would have been scandalous a generation ago," says Marcy Darnovsky, associate executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, an Oakland, California-based public policy organization. "We really need to ask how the new commercial environment could be affecting the quality, the disinterestedness, and the public interest values we bring to decisions about research paths."


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