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Bulletin - Update on Recent Activities of the Center for Genetics and Society

Genetic Crossroads
March 6th, 2002

Dear Friends,

Concern over human cloning and inheritable genetic modification
continues to accelerate. Over the past few weeks the Center
for Genetics and Society has played key roles in a number of
important developments, as noted below.

In the next few weeks there will be more from CGS, including
the launch of our website. You can preview the home page and
tables of contents at <http://www.genetics-and-society.org>.
Expect your next issue of Genetic Crossroads soon.

This is still just the beginning of what is sure to be one
of the most intense social and political engagements of all
time. We look forward to working with all of you to protect
our common human future.

Recent Developments Involving the Center for Genetics and Society:

1. Briefing for United Nations Cloning Treaty Delegates: Last
Tuesday, February 26, CGS organized a briefing in New York City
for delegates to the United Nations committee that is beginning
work to negotiate a treaty banning human reproductive cloning.
We had been told to expect a turnout of 30-50 but over 120 showed.

2. Success! In December CGS and other groups organized a sign-on
letter protesting the statement by John Robertson, acting chair
of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Ethics
Committee, that sex selection for “gender variety”
was now “ethically acceptable.” In February the ASRM
repudiated Robertson’s statement and said that sex selection
for any reasons other than disease prevention should be discouraged.
See the letter and more at <http://www.genetics-and-society.org/new.html>.

3. Our first report “The New Technologies of Human Genetic
Modification: A Threshold Challenge for Humanity” is available
at <http://www.genetics-and-society.org/resources/cgs/newtechs.pdf>
in PDF format.

4. Breakthrough News Analysis On Sunday, February 8 the Washington
Post ran an important analysis of the controversy over cloning
legislation in the U.S. Congress. The analysis reviewed favorably
the position that CGS has taken the lead in promoting: a ban
on reproductive cloning and a moratorium on research cloning.
See the story at <http://www.genetics-and-society.org/resources/items/20020220_washpost_weiss.html>.

All this is happening as the U.S. Senate approaches a vote
on human cloning legislation within the next few weeks. Positions
are polarized and the outcome is too close to call. Whichever
way the vote goes, the work of educating and mobilizing Americans
and others concerning dangerous applications of the new human
genetic technologies will have only begun.


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