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About Civil Society & Human Biotechnology


"Civil society" refers to institutional political actors outside of government and private enterprise, typically nonprofit advocacy organizations and foundations. The term "non-governmental organization," or NGO, is closely related.

Civil society organizations have come to play an important role in ensuring the accountability of governments, countering the power of corporations, and contributing to democratic governance.

For most of today’s important issues – war and peace, economic growth and equity, ecological sustainability, race and gender equality, and many others – there are dense networks of civil society institutions. For the issues surrounding human biotechnologies, a civil society infrastructure is just beginning to emerge. 



California Set to Prohibit Sterilization of Prisonersby Jonathan ChernoguzBiopolitical TimesJuly 24th, 2014With the unanimous approval of Senate Bill 1135 in Sacramento last month, the victims of recent unauthorized sterilizations in California prisons, and their advocates, seem likely to win this important victory.
Making Sense of the BRAINby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJuly 24th, 2014As criticisms of the brain projects on both sides of the Atlantic ramp up, what lessons can be learned from the successes and failures of the Human Genome Project?
The Perfect 46: A “Science Factual” Film about our Near Futureby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJuly 10th, 2014A new science fiction film called “a sort of prequel to Gattaca” highlights the rise and fall of a genetic startup that analyzes people’s genomes to assess their ability to produce disease-free children.
Science Joins Push to Screen Statistics in Papersby Richard Van NoordenNature NewsJuly 3rd, 2014The new policy follows efforts by other journals to bolster standards of data analysis.
Stem Cells: Taking a Stand Against Pseudoscienceby Elena Cattaneo & Gilberto CorbelliniNatureJune 16th, 2014A pharmacologist and a bioethicist working to protect patients from questionable stem-cell therapies share their experiences in the fight against predatory pseudoscience.
Genetics In Court Is a Very Messy Businessby Alexandra SifferlinTimeJune 4th, 2014Courts may soon face the challenge of determining whether genetics can be linked to criminal behavior.
A Medical Student’s Call for Action Against Research Misconductby Eden AlmasudeThe Hastings CenterJune 3rd, 2014Is research misconduct and abuse the norm in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Psychiatry? A recent investigative report suggests that the answer may well be yes.
Braggadacio, Information Control, and Fear: Life Inside a Brigham Stem Cell Lab Under Investigationby AnonymousRetraction WatchMay 30th, 2014A former research fellow writes, "[I]n spite of the efforts of ethical watchdogs, these are behaviors that science is selecting for with its current funding and publication mechanisms."
One Can Always Say ‘No’by Xavier SymonsBioEdgeMay 23rd, 2014An important question in contemporary bioethics concerns the role of genetic and neurobiological determinism in crime. What role do genes and the wiring of one’s brain play in criminal action?
The Genes Made Us Do Itby Jonathan MarksIn These TimesMay 12th, 2014A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History is a paranoid, anti-intellectual screed. According to author Nicholas Wade, scientists are misleading you about race in order to set their own egalitarian political agenda.
Government to Order Fertility Clinics to Release Donor Informationby Nicole HashamThe Sydney Morning HeraldMay 11th, 2014Fertility clinics in Australia will be required to hand over information about anonymous sperm donors so children can learn about their genetic origins.
Parents and Children Deserve Genetic Privacyby Twila BraseUS News & World ReportMay 1st, 2014Newborn screening has many health benefits. But ownership of infant samples and the DNA they carry must not be transferred from newborns to the state.
Transcendence: See it for its Cultural Relevance, Not its Plot Lineby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMay 1st, 2014Transcendence won’t win you over with its dialogue or love scenes, but it’s a great springboard for pondering what quickly approaching developments in artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and regenerative medicine may actually mean for society.
Human Rights Body Warns Over Mass DNA Screeningby Elaine EdwardsThe Irish TimesApril 11th, 2014A Government proposal which would allow the taking of DNA samples for “mass screening” of certain “classes” of individuals should be prohibited, Ireland's national human rights watchdog has said.
It's a Fair Cop: Police Academy Uses DNA Testing on Students by Julie PowerThe Sydney Morning HeraldApril 3rd, 2014For the first time, the New South Wales Police Force has used DNA testing to screen its newest crop of student police against its crime database.
Discriminatory “DNA Sweeps”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 31st, 2014A DNA sweep of “all black and brown migrant workers” at farms in Canada has led to a complaint against the Ontario Provincial Police department alleging misconduct and racial profiling.
Forced Sterilization Nurse: ‘I Can See Now It Was So Wrong’by Lori Jane GlihaAlJazeera AmericaMarch 24th, 2014A nurse at the government-run 'State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded' and witnessed what may have been thousands of forced sterilizations - part of a government effort to rid society of the “defective,” and create a super race.
Mugshots Built From DNA Databy Sara ReardonNatureMarch 20th, 2014Researchers have developed a computer program that can create a crude three-dimensional model of a face from a DNA sample.
In Me We Trust: Public Health, Personalized Medicine, and the Common Goodby Donna DickensonThe Hedgehog ReviewMarch 12th, 2014We should not underestimate the strength of the commercial and biotechnological interests supporting Me Medicine. We need to reclaim biotechnology for the general good and break down the enclosures that threaten to circumscribe the genetic commons.
When Science Doesn't Have all the Answersby Louise KinrossBloomMarch 6th, 2014My son’s rare genetic deletion is on the list of disorders identified by microarray analysis of a fetus’s DNA. It makes me sad to think that the lives of children like my son are being targeted for termination. Is this a step forward?
The Dangerous “Science” of Gregory Clark, as Read in The New York Timesby Matt RubenPhiladelphia MagazineFebruary 26th, 2014The pseudo-scientific notion that genetics explains why elite families and groups remain on top has surfaced again in a recent New York Times column.
DNA Collection Aids Arrests — But What About Privacy?by Noreen MoustafaAljazeera AmericaFebruary 21st, 2014Privacy advocates warn that warrantless searches of a person’s DNA, especially for misdemeanor arrests, is a slippery slope.
Old Songs, New Tests, and Expensive Childrenby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorFebruary 20th, 2014The CEO of AOL justified a restructuring of the company’s 401(K) plan by citing two "distressed babies." This tone-deaf insensitivity was answered by a disapproving choir, but it sadly resembles too many descriptions of the "cost" of people with disabilities.
The Path to Reading a Newborn’s DNA Mapby Anne EisenbergThe New York TimesFebruary 8th, 2014What if laboratories could run comprehensive DNA tests on infants at birth? Should parents be told of each variation, even if any risk is still unclear? Would they even want to know?
On Race, Medicine, and Reproduction: An Interview with Dorothy Robertsby Sophia SeawellBluestockings MagazineFebruary 4th, 2014The idea that social inequality has innate causes is a powerful way of trying to justify an unjust power arrangement.
New Rule Allows Patients to Get Test Results Directly From Labs, Without Doctors’ Clearanceby  Sandhya SomashekharThe Washington PostFebruary 3rd, 2014Patients may obtain their test results directly from the laboratory that produced them, without having to go through their doctors, under regulations announced Monday by the Obama administration.
Poll Shows We Want Those DNA Breakthroughs But Worry Scientists May Be 'Playing God'by Emily SwansonHuffington PostFebruary 2nd, 2014Seventy-two percent said they would disapprove of efforts to create children with unusually high intelligence or other advantageous traits.
On Race and Medicineby Keith NorrisThe ScientistFebruary 1st, 2014While age and gender are strongly associated with biological differences that may have a significant impact on disease susceptibility and treatment response, the role of race/ethnicity is far less clear.
Why we Should Opt Out of the Government's New Patient Databaseby Edward HockingsThe GuardianJanuary 31st, 2014Medical records in England and Wales will soon be linked to whole-sequenced genomes. Choosing to "opt out" is also taking a stand on what kind of society we want in the future.
Is genius in the genes?by Steven RoseTESJanuary 24th, 2014The debate about genes and intelligence has resurfaced, and it’s more fervent than ever. Can achievement truly be inherited? Should education be tailored to individuals’ genetic potential?
CGS Letter to the FDA on Mitochondrial TransferThe Center for Genetics and Society's letter regarding the FDA's February 25-26 public meeting to discuss the advisability of a technique that would modify the human germline.
[UK] NHS patient data to be made available for sale to drug and insurance firmsby Randeep RameshThe GuardianJanuary 19th, 2014Drug and insurance companies will from later this year be able to buy information on patients – including mental health conditions and diseases such as cancer, as well as smoking and drinking habits – once a single English database of medical data has been created. Harvested from GP and hospital records, medical data covering the entire population will be uploaded to the repository controlled by a new arms-length NHS information centre, starting in March. Never before has the entire medical history of the nation been digitised and stored in one place.
A Short History of Biological Explanations for Povertyby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 2nd, 2014“The Biological Inferiority of the Undeserving Poor” sketches the history of biological explanations for social ills, and warns that we should pay close attention to their current resurgence.
The Biological Inferiority of the Undeserving Poorby Michael B. KatzSocial Work and Society International Online JournalDecember 24th, 2013The biological definition of poverty reinforces the idea of the undeserving poor, which is the oldest theme in post-Enlightenment poverty discourse.
Screening Newborns For Disease Can Leave Families In Limboby Nell GreenfieldboyceNPRDecember 23rd, 2013Patient advocacy groups have been pushing states to adopt mandatory newborn screening for more and more diseases, including ones that have no easy diagnosis or treatment.
Selling Tests, Selling Treatments: A Few Reflections on Medical Advertisingby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorDecember 18th, 2013The questions raised by the recent New York Times article about aggressive selling of ADD drugs should also be posed to those marketing non-invasive prenatal gene tests.
‘Generation Cryo’: How A New Generation Is Redefining Familyby Marisa PeñalozaWBURDecember 17th, 2013Thousands of children are conceived using sperm and egg donors every year, a group large enough to entice MTV to air “Generation Cryo.”
Professor Plomin Goes to Parliamentby John GillottBioNewsDecember 16th, 2013The House of Commons Education Committee, currently investigating 'underachievement in education of white working class children,' heard about the genetics of children with learning disabilities.
Similar But Not Identical: Study Reveals More About Twins Than About Educationby Steve ConnorIndependentDecember 13th, 2013The headlines this week about a new study of the role of genetics in educational achievement told only part of the story.
Singularity: Reading our genes like computer code[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Jane WakefieldBBC NewsDecember 9th, 2013Marcy Darnovsky tells the BBC: "It's becoming ever more clear that genetic information will never yield solid actionable data about an individual's risks for the vast majority of common complex diseases."
Court to Consider California's DNA Collection Lawby Paul EliasAssociated PressDecember 9th, 2013California's Attorney General and the Obama administration are urging a federal appeals court to uphold California's mandatory collection of DNA samples from every arrestee.
Philanthropy's Original Sinby William A. SchambraThe New AtlantisNovember 15th, 2013For all of philanthropy's wonderful qualities, it's important to understand that the first American foundations were deeply immersed in eugenics — the effort to promote the reproduction of the “fit” and to suppress the reproduction of the “unfit.”
You Can't Predict Destiny by Designing Your Baby's Genomeby Megan Allyse and Marsha MichieThe Wall Street JournalNovember 8th, 2013New genetic and reproductive techniques will only reveal that human life is too multifaceted to be reduced to a mathematical formula.
NIH Seeks Comments on Plan to Share Genomic Databy Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 7th, 2013The National Institutes of Health is accepting public comments until November 20 on a draft Genomic Data Sharing Policy that promotes the wide-scale sharing of human and non-human genomic data.
Disability Studies: A New Normalby Cecilia Capuzzi SimonThe New York TimesNovember 1st, 2013Like black studies, women’s studies and other liberation-movement disciplines, disability studies teaches that it is an unaccepting society that needs normalizing, not the minority group.
Are We Too Close to Making Gattaca a Reality?by Ferris JabrScientific AmericanOctober 28th, 2013An era of market-based eugenics would exterminate any lingering notions of meritocracy. But that could never happen this side of the silver screen, right?
Advocating Eugenics in the UK Department of Educationby Pete ShanksHuffington PostOctober 28th, 2013A senior adviser to the UK Secretary of State for Education has provoked a flurry of complaints about his technocratic, effectively eugenic, definitely gene-focused approach to public policy.
NIH Requests Comment on Genomic Data Sharing Policy Draftby Nicolle StrandThe Blog of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical IssuesOctober 23rd, 2013The National Institutes of Health published a draft version of its new genomic data sharing policy, along with a request for public comment.
Health Chiefs Plan to Ban Adverts for Overseas Baby Sex-Selection Tripsby Christy ChoiSouth China Morning PostOctober 20th, 2013Health chiefs are set to slap an advertising ban on Hong Kong businesses that offer medical tourism packages for the growing number of couples who want to choose the sex of their babies.
'Where Did I Come From?' Donor Eggs, Sperm and a Surrogateby Anndee HochmanThe InquirerOctober 17th, 2013Child psychologists have long advised telling kids "early and often" about their origins, especially when those origins involve donor eggs or sperm.
Dominic Cummings may Disagree, but Wealth is Considerably More Heritable than Genesby Polly ToynbeeThe GuardianOctober 14th, 2013His section on genetics implies that human fate is sealed at birth, as the Calvinists and eugenicists thought.
Update: The FDA and the Human Germlineby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 10th, 2013The FDA's scheduled October 22–23 meeting to discuss germline mitochondrial replacement is attracting attention from the media and elsewhere.
Girls Not Allowedby Vanessa BairdNew InternationalistOctober 4th, 2013Honest regulation of sex selection, however tricky to enforce, is necessary because individual acts are having extremely harmful collective consequences.
Center for Genetics and Society Calls on 23andMe to Disavow “Designer Babies”: Controversial New Patent Raises Critical Questions [Press statement]October 2nd, 201323andMe's new patent is an irresponsible step that amounts to shopping for designer donors in an effort to produce designer babies.
Your Body, Their Propertyby Osagie K. ObasogieBoston ReviewSeptember 30th, 2013When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down human gene patents it took one aspect of the debate over property interests in human biological materials off the table. But other body parts are still considered fair game.
Studying How The Blind Perceive Race[Discusses the work of CGS's Osagie Obasogie]by Kat ChowNPRSeptember 29th, 2013Blinded by Sight: Seeing Race in the Eyes of the Blind hits shelves in November.
30 Years Later, A MacArthur 'Genius' Reflects[Discusses the work of CGS's Osagie Obasogie]by Kat ChowWGBH NewsSeptember 26th, 2013Former MacArthur Foundation fellow Ramón Gutiérrez calls Osagie Obasogie's work on how blind people understand race the most interesting research he's come across lately.
At the End of the Slippery Slope: Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogyby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 24th, 2013Atwood says her trilogy "invents nothing we haven’t already invented or started to invent" — suggesting that though her work is fiction and not a tract, she also intends to do far more than entertain.
Wealthy Chinese Seek U.S. Surrogates for Second Child, Green Cardby Alexandra HarneyReutersSeptember 23rd, 2013Wealthy Chinese are hiring American women to serve as surrogates for their children, creating a small but growing business in "designer" American babies for China's elite.
More DNA Samples, More Debateby Erica E. PhillipsThe Wall Street JournalSeptember 23rd, 2013In Orange County, California, officials are taking DNA samples from people charged with minor offenses such as shoplifting and drug possession, in exchange for agreeing to dismiss the charges or as part of plea deals.
Gendercide in the CaucasusThe EconomistSeptember 21st, 2013The practice of aborting female foetuses is found mostly in China and other Asian countries. But it is prevalent in the Caucasus, too. Two new studies look at why—and suggest the practice may spread.
Maryland v. King: Three Concerns about Policing and Genetic Informationby Elizabeth E. JohGenomics Law ReportSeptember 19th, 2013The decision in Maryland v. King affirmed that DNA databanking in the criminal justice system is here to stay, but the majority opinion raises at least three potentially troubling concerns about policing and genetic privacy.
Tech Titans Form Biotechnology Companyby Claire Cain Miller and Andrew PollackThe New York TimesSeptember 18th, 2013Google has conceived and backed a new biotechnology company to fight the aging process and the diseases that accompany it.
"Me medicine" could undermine public health measuresby Donna DickensonNew ScientistSeptember 16th, 2013The growth of personalised medicine threatens the communal approach that has brought our biggest health gains.
After Disasters, DNA Science Is Helpful, But Often Too Priceyby Christopher JoyceNPRSeptember 13th, 2013Forensic scientists who use DNA for identifying the unnamed casualties of natural disasters and war say the technology isn't always available where it's most needed, like in poor countries, or in war zones like Syria.
Consortium Receives $8M to Investigate Molecular Roots of Extreme AggressionGenomeWebSeptember 12th, 2013The European Union has approved and funded a project called Aggressotype, aimed at determining the molecular roots of extreme aggression in children.
The Politics of Sex Selective Abortion Bans in the UK and the USby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 12th, 2013Recent publicity in the UK, and lawsuits and legislative hearings in the US, are a reminder that right-wing activists make cynical use of the sex selection issue to restrict women's reproductive rights.
David Langwallner: DNA Database is Welcome but it Will Need Safeguardsby David LangwallnerIndependent.ieSeptember 9th, 2013The Irish Innocence Project welcomes the new Irish DNA database bill, but the retention of DNA from non-convicted persons raises genuine concern as to the length of time such material can be retained.
Havasupai, HeLa, and the Fallacy of Neutral Scienceby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesAugust 28th, 2013A recent claim that misuse of Havasupai DNA was a “fairy tale” has stirred up heated debates about informed consent and scientific ethics.
More Concerns Over Familial DNA Searchingby Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesAugust 28th, 2013A recent paper by Rori Rohlfs et. al., and two accompanying videos, suggest that real concerns still remain with familial searching in California's DNA databases.
Involuntary Sterilization Then and Nowby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesAugust 28th, 2013North Carolina will be the first US state to offer compensation to victims of state-sponsored forced sterilization programs. The decision marks a milestone in the long struggle for recognition of this tragic history, but what about the questionable sterilizations still taking place today?
What DNA Testing Reveals About India’s Caste System by Dan KedmeyTimeAugust 27th, 2013New research reveals that genetic mixing between castes in India ended 1,900 years ago, around the same time the caste system was being codified in religious texts.
Is Individuality the Savior of Eugenics?by Nathaniel ComfortScientific AmericanAugust 23rd, 2013Once defined as “the science of human improvement through better breeding,” eugenics has roared back into the headlines in recent weeks in both Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll personae.
Blind People Can Still Identify Race (And Be Racist)[Quotes CGS's Osagie Obasogie]by Rose EvelethSmithsonianAugust 22nd, 2013Many non-racist people like to call themselves “color blind,” as in “blind to the color of someone’s skin.” But what about people who are actually blind?
California Legislators Urge Speedy Inquiry into Prison Sterilizationsby Corey G. JohnsonCenter for Investigative ReportingAugust 21st, 2013Legislators today fast-tracked an audit into why doctors under contract with the state sterilized nearly 150 female prison inmates from 2006 to 2010 without the required authorizations.
Guess What? Racism Isn't Good Scienceby Jesse LarnerHuffington PostAugust 21st, 2013Jason Richwine is back, still defending his previous work, and still not addressing the problems with IQ tests or the fact that the "science" he looks to has been greatly problematized.
Rich Nations not Collaborating in Genomics for Public Health, Says OECD by Lynne TaylorPharmaTimesAugust 19th, 2013New reports show that the development of genomics for public health is being prioritised mainly by low and middle income nations, with richer countries not seeking to collaborate in such research.
The Empire Strikes Backby Jonathan MarksAnthropomicsAugust 19th, 2013New claims about the geneticist who collected samples from Native Americans to study diabetes, and then piggybacked research on schizophrenia without consent, compels us to revisit the case.
North Carolina’s Bold Model for Eugenics Compensationby Peter Hardin and Paul LombardoRichmond Times-DispatchAugust 11th, 2013In a landmark action, North Carolina legislators have voted to spend $10 million to compensate men and women sterilized under the state’s 20th century eugenics program.
Deal Done Over HeLa Cell Lineby Ewen CallawayNatureAugust 7th, 2013Over the past four months, the director of the US National Institutes of Health met with Henrietta Lacks's family members to discuss what should be done with genome data from the HeLa cells.
Edge of the Map: An Experiment in Science and in Theaterby Alice WexlerUCLA Center for the Study of WomenAugust 6th, 2013A group of Harvard students created a theater piece called Edge of the Map, a collage based on real-life and invented scenarios involving ethical and social dilemmas in genetics.
The Fallibility of DNAby Michael RisherThe New York TimesJuly 31st, 2013The myth of DNA infallibility has another dimension: when the government warehouses DNA samples on a large scale, we increase the chances that innocent citizens might be arrested and jailed.
Russian-Speakers who Want to Make Aliya Could Need DNA Testby Asher ZeigerThe Times of IsraelJuly 29th, 2013The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office says would-be immigrants from the former Soviet Union may be asked to prove Jewish bloodline.
UK Forensic Science Slammed by Inquiryby Daniel CresseyNatureJuly 25th, 2013UK government failures over forensic science are leading to fragmentation, research gaps and possibly even miscarriages of justice, according to a parliamentary inquiry on the subject.
High-Tech, High-Risk Forensicsby Osagie K. ObasogieThe New York TimesJuly 24th, 2013For far too long, we have allowed the myth of DNA infallibility to chip away at our skepticism of government’s prosecutorial power, undoubtedly leading to untold injustices.
A Few Notes on the Invisibleby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJuly 23rd, 2013Thoughts about disability, invisibility, Ethan Saylor's death at the hands of private police, and news that the extra chromosome that causes Down syndrome may one day be “silenced.”
Rising Use of DNA to Nab Low-Level Criminalsby Ben FinleyInquirerJuly 20th, 2013The use of genetic material to catch low-level criminals, mostly for property crimes, is growing nationwide.
FBI Announces Review of 2,000 Cases Featuring Hair Samplesby Michael DoyleMcClatchy Washington BureauJuly 18th, 2013The FBI will review thousands of old cases to see whether analysts exaggerated the significance of their hair analyses or reported them inaccurately.
Senator Leahy Urges NIH to Use March-In Rights on Myriad BRCA Testby Donald ZuhnPatent DocsJuly 17th, 2013The government can ensure greater access to genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer, under a law that protects taxpayers from having to pay for inventions the public has already funded.
Pitts: Gruesome Bad Old Days of Eugenics Haven't Left Usby Leonard PittsThe ColumbianJuly 15th, 2013We have traveled far, only to wind up in this familiar place where the vulnerable and voiceless, the ones most deserving of our compassion, are regarded instead as inferiors and allowed to be victimized.
Is Your DNA in a Police Database?by Jill LawlessAssociated PressJuly 12th, 2013Countries around the world are collecting genetic material from millions of citizens in the name of fighting crime and terrorism — and, according to critics, heading into uncharted ethical terrain.
The Gene For Hubrisby Nathaniel ComfortGenotopiaJuly 10th, 2013Genetics and reproduction are intensely potent, and wherever we find abuse of power we should be alert to the harnessing of biology in the service of tyranny.
Designer Babies are on the Horizon but Aren't Here Yet by EditorialNew ScientistJuly 10th, 2013IVF is inexorably opening the door to a future where parents can choose desirable traits in their children.
Let's be Clear About Science Education and Engagementby Melanie Smallman and Simon LockThe GuardianJuly 8th, 2013Of course science education is important, but it would be a mistake to believe that a better-educated public would give scientists a freer rein.
Legislature Can Still Do Eugenics CompensationCharlotte ObserverJuly 8th, 2013The North Carolina legislature can still include money in this year’s budget to compensate victims of the state’s disgraceful and long-running eugenics program.
Female Inmates Sterilized in California Prisons Without Approvalby Corey G. JohnsonCenter for Investigative ReportingJuly 7th, 2013The Center for Investigative Reporting has found that California doctors sterilized nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals.
Guilty Knowledgeby Fiona MacDonaldThe Sydney Morning HeraldJuly 6th, 2013A neurocriminologist's new book raises the ethically fraught question of whether we should use biological clues to identify potential criminals and intervene.
The Rise of a New Eugenicsby Lloyd Lewis and Julie ReiskinDenver PostJuly 4th, 2013Non-invasive prenatal testing technology is dangerously ahead of society's understanding of people who have Down syndrome.
Expansion Of The Genetic Surveillance State: Taking The Blood Of Babies Born To Mississippi Teensby Kashmir HillForbesJuly 2nd, 2013A new law requires Mississippi hospitals to store the blood of babies born to mothers 16 and younger - "a very invasive law to a woman who is already in a vulnerable situation."
Facebook Grapples with Rules for Patients Seeking Organ Donorsby Kevin B. O’ReillyAmerican Medical NewsJuly 1st, 2013The social media site already has shown it can send the organ donation message in an unprecedented fashion. Now it’s trying to standardize the process.
DOH Mulls Infant Gender-Selection Curbs For Sex Ratioby Alison HsiaoTaipei TimesJuly 1st, 2013Taiwan’s skewed boy-girl ratio of newborns is a serious issue, the health agency said, after drawing fire for its gender balance policies.
Center for Genetics and Society - Marcy Darnovsky on Initiative Radio with Angela McKenzie[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Angela McKenzieInitiative RadioJune 30th, 2013Marcy Darnovsky talks about the work to encourage responsible uses and effective governance of the new human genetic and reproductive technologies.
Supreme Court Backs DNA Collection in Arrests[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Michael FitzhughThe Burrill ReportJune 28th, 2013The ruling opens a door for law enforcement, but raises privacy and social justice concerns.
From Suspects to the Spitterati: A collision of power, profit, and privacyby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 27th, 2013DNA collection is increasingly ubiquitous, and the push for access to genetic information is gaining momentum. What questions should we be considering?
A Culture of Consentby EditorialNatureJune 26th, 2013More than 50 years after the WI-38 cell line was derived from a fetus, science and society has still to get to grips with the ethical issues of using human tissue in research.
Supreme Court Strikes a Hard Blow to Tribal Sovereignty in Adoption Case by Aura BogadoThe NationJune 25th, 2013The court appears to have ruled as if it was deciding the issue based on race.
A New High-Tech, Grass-Roots Effort to Fight Breast Cancerby Apoorva MandavilliSlateJune 25th, 2013A volunteer effort is trying to "Free the Data" so that scientists everywhere can analyze Myriad's data and help women make informed choices about their breast-cancer risk.
Pioneering Icelandic Genetics Company Denied Approval for Data-Mining Planby Jocelyn KaiserScienceJune 20th, 2013A national agency that oversees data privacy in Iceland has rejected a request from deCODE to allow it to estimate the genotypes of 280,000 Icelanders who have never agreed to take part in the company's research.
'More Rights, More Inclusion, Better Country': Argentina Approves IVF for All[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Alex SternThe Huffington PostJune 20th, 2013In vitro fertilization is now available to heterosexual couples, single women, and gay couples in Argentina.
New Study Tracks Emotional Health of 'Surrogate Kids'by  Linda CarrollTodayJune 19th, 2013New research suggests that children born to a surrogate may experience more adjustment problems in youth than those conceived with third-party eggs or sperm.
Inside the Stem Cell Shell Gameby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJune 18th, 2013Sociologist Ruha Benjamin examines the California stem cell initiative from a social justice perspective.
Poking Holes in Genetic Privacyby Gina KolataThe New York TimesJune 16th, 2013For years now, a steady stream of research has eroded scientists’ faith that DNA can be held anonymously.
Supreme Court Rules Human Genes May Not Be Patentedby Adam LiptakThe New York TimesJune 13th, 2013Isolated human genes may not be patented, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday.
The Bleak New World of Prenatal Geneticsby Marcy Darnovsky and Alexandra Minna SternThe Wall Street JournalJune 12th, 2013Like so many other powerful technologies, fetal gene tests must be used with caution and care.
Police Agencies Are Assembling Records of DNAby Joseph GoldsteinThe New York TimesJune 12th, 2013A growing number of local law enforcement agencies across the country have begun amassing their own DNA databases of potential suspects, some collected with the donors’ knowledge, and some without it.
Should Police Use DNA to Investigate a Suspect’s Family Members?by Nanibaa’ A. Garrison, Rori V. Rohlfs, and Stephanie M. Fullerton, Biopolitical Times guest contributorsJune 11th, 2013A DNA-based technique called familial searching can help police solve serious crimes. It can also be abused in ways that expose innocent people to unwarranted police surveillance.
Welcome to the “Genetic Panopticon”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 5th, 2013In a forceful blow to the Fourth Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that police can collect DNA from people who have been arrested – but who have not been convicted, and may never be.
Discussing "De-Extinction"by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 5th, 2013A one-day conference, "De-extinction: Ethics, Law & Politics," included advocates of the idea, as well as environmentalists, animal welfare experts and philosophers expressing a range of concerns.
California DNA Law is Broader Than Program Upheld by Supreme Courtby Maura DolanThe Los Angeles TimesJune 3rd, 2013The Supreme Court's decision allowing authorities to take DNA from people when they are arrested may not mean that California's DNA collection program will survive court challenges.
They’re Coming for Your DNAby Emily BazelonSlateJune 3rd, 2013The Supreme Court just made it much easier for the government to collect genetic information.
Spirometry: A Built-in ‘Correction’ For Race?by Lundy BraunBrown UniversityJune 3rd, 2013A device that measures lung capacity automatically makes “corrections” for the patient’s race, but a review of the underlying research finds that race is rarely defined or skillfully considered.
Justices Allow DNA Collection After an Arrestby Adam LiptakThe New York TimesJune 3rd, 2013The Supreme Court ruled that the police may take DNA samples from people arrested in connection with serious crimes, prior to conviction.
Quest for 'Genius Babies'?by Colleen FlahertyInside Higher EdMay 29th, 2013Controversy about a cognitive genomics project raises concerns that a new generation of eugenicists may be coming of age.
Groups File Suit Against Arizona Law that Bans Abortion Based on Race, Gender Selectionby Howard FischerEast Valley TribuneMay 29th, 2013A coalition of rights groups are suing to overturn a two-year-old Arizona law banning abortion for race or gender selection.
UK Building DNA Database in the NHS 'By Stealth'by Helen WallacePublic Service EuropeMay 23rd, 2013The plan involves sequencing the DNA of everyone in England and adding this information as an attachment to each person's medical file.
Race Is Not Biologyby Merlin ChowkwanyunThe AtlanticMay 23rd, 2013How unthinking racial essentialism finds its way into scientific research.
California Bill Would Prevent Genetic-Testing Firms from Using Surreptitiously Obtained DNAby Jessica ShugartMercury NewsMay 23rd, 2013Under current California law, genetic testing companies can reveal your most intimate biological secrets to anybody, without your knowledge or permission. A new bill may change that.
Pregnant at 60Where there's a uterus, there's a way? by Miriam ZollThe AtlanticMay 22nd, 2013A look behind the headlines reveals a 35-year landscape of assisted reproductive technologies that continue to fail far more often than is reported, particularly in older women.
Branstad Signs Bill Widening DNA Sampling to Misdemeanor CasesAssociated PressMay 16th, 2013People convicted of certain aggravated misdemeanors in Iowa now will be required to submit DNA samples to the federal DNA database.
Angelina Jolie and the Fate of Breast Cancer Genes[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Alexandra Le TellierLos Angeles TimesMay 14th, 2013Angelina Jolie described her double mastectomy as a way to gain control over mutations in her "breast cancer genes," but how much control we have over BRCA1 and BRCA2, and human genes in general, is yet to be determined.
There's More to Life Than Freezing Your Eggs[Quotes CGS's Diane Tober]by Jacoba UristThe AtlanticMay 14th, 2013Suddenly, it seems, everyone is singing the praises of egg freezing as the latest cure for a woman's declining fertility, but it isn't quite the panacea the media would have you believe.
EEOC Files and Settles Its First GINA-based Employment Discrimination Lawsuitby Jennifer K. WagnerGenomics Law ReportMay 13th, 2013Although individuals have brought complaints against employers alleging violations, this is the first lawsuit initiated by the EEOC to enforce the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
The Dark Art of Racecraftby Ta-Nehisi CoatesThe AtlanticMay 13th, 2013Jason Richwine takes his place in a long history of research on race and IQ, one of the most discredited fields of study in modern history.
Talking Biopolitics is Back!by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMay 13th, 2013A series of live web-based conversations with cutting-edge thinkers on the social meaning of human biotechnologies will be kicking off next week. RSVP now to join the conversations!
The DNA in Your Garbage: Up For Grabsby Kevin HartnettThe Boston GlobeMay 12th, 2013Drop a hair? Anyone can legally sequence your genetic material—and privacy experts want to close that gap.
The Big Freezeby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorBiopolitical TimesMay 9th, 2013The Wall Street Journal devoted almost two full pages to a piece championing social egg freezing, and gave it a headline that is pure sales.
Conservative Immigration Scholar: Black and Hispanic Immigrants Are Dumber Than European Immigrantsby Adam SerwerMother JonesMay 8th, 2013Jason Richwine, who coauthored a Heritage Foundation study on immigration, didn't just argue that certain minorities are dumber in his scholarship—he also said it at a public panel.
A Petition for Change in Memory of Dan Markingsonby Emily Smith BeitiksBiopolitical TimesMay 8th, 2013The story of a young man’s premature death illustrates the medical-industrial complex at its worst.
Direct Action? Seats at the Table? All of the Above?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 2nd, 2013Last week, some 15 French activists in chimpanzee masks disrupted a Forum on Synthetic Biology in Paris, raising questions about the appropriateness of that kind of activism.
How are Humans Going to Become Extinct?by Sean CoughlanBBC NewsApril 25th, 2013Experiments in areas such as synthetic biology, nanotechnology and machine intelligence are hurtling forward into the territory of the unintended and unpredictable.
Prenatal DNA Sequencingby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewApril 23rd, 2013Reading the DNA of fetuses is the next frontier of the genome revolution. Do you really want to know the genetic destiny of your unborn child?
The Baby Blueprint [VIDEO][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]Al Jazeera EnglishApril 22nd, 2013Would you choose your child's genetic potential? Live debate with Marcy Darnovsky, Stuart Newman, Julian Savulescu, and Nita Farahany.
Supreme Court Hears Gene Patent Case; Activists Rally on Courthouse Stepsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 18th, 2013The justices heard arguments in the Myriad gene patent case, and seemed critical of the patents but perhaps unwilling to make a broad ruling.
Synthetic Biology as Public Relationsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 17th, 2013Recent synthetic biology projects related to malaria, flu and conservation are providing PR cover for the field and its corporate sponsors.
New “Semisynthetic” Anti-Malarial Drug is Unneeded and Sets Dangerous Precedent While Threatening Farmer Livelihoods[Press Release]SynBioWatchApril 15th, 2013A pharmaceutical giant announced that it will replace the entire world supply of the preferred anti-malarial treatment with a semi-synthetic product produced using synthetic biology - a controversial, unregulated biotechnology.
Microbes Can Mass-Produce Malaria Drugby Emily SingerMIT Technology ReviewApril 10th, 2013Drug makers can now brew large vats of the malaria drug artemisinin with synthetic biology techniques.
Three-Parent Children in UK Possible After HFEA Report[Quotes the Center for Genetics and Society]by Michael CookBioEdgeApril 6th, 2013The UK fertility regulator's report to the government misrepresented its own findings about public opinion.
Who Decides What Patients Need to Know?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 2nd, 2013The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics report on "incidental findings" in genetic tests has kicked up a storm of controversy, not least because it seems to contradict February's ACMG recommendations about testing children.
Sex-Selective Discrimination Common in Indian Wombs: US StudyHindustan TimesMarch 31st, 2013Indian women carrying male foetuses are likelier to receive pre-natal medical care than their counterparts pregnant with girls, a new research by American scientists suggests.
The Era of Genetics-Based Advertising is Comingby Daniela HernandezWiredMarch 28th, 2013If you thought personalised advertising based on your Facebook status updates, Gmail content or online browsing behaviour was creepy, just you wait. The era of genetics-based advertising is coming, and it could be just as profitable.
Scientists Unravel Genetic Causes of Prostate, Breast and Ovarian Cancerby Ian SampleThe Guardian March 27th, 2013A national screening programme for prostate cancer could be introduced by the NHS following an international effort by more than 1,000 scientists to unravel the genetic causes of prostate, breast and ovarian cancer.
Brain Scans Predict Which Criminals are More Likely to Reoffendby Regina NuzzoNatureMarch 25th, 2013Neuroscientists say they have found a way to predict whether convicted felons are likely to commit crimes again from looking at their brain scans.
Beyond Tokenistic Inclusion: Science, Citizenship, and Changing the Questions by Ruha BenjaminHuffington PostMarch 25th, 2013The scientific community prides itself on free and open inquiry, and yet when it comes to raising questions about the social and political implications of our work, a peculiar form of self-censorship seems to be at work.
Online Petition Seeks Justice on Behalf of Dan Markingsonby Emily Smith BeitiksBiopolitcal TimesMarch 25th, 2013Dan Markingson's binding enrollment in a clinical drug trial led him to commit suicide just six months in; a close friend has initiated a petition asking the Minnesota governor to investigate.
Patients Should Get DNA Information, Report Recommendsby Jennifer Couzin-FrankelScience InsiderMarch 21st, 2013Fourteen genetics experts, with the backing of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, are proposing that anyone whose genome is sequenced should automatically learn about serious health risks and problems.
Three-Person IVF Moves Closer in UKby James GallagherBBC NewsMarch 20th, 2013The UK has moved closer to becoming the first country to allow the creation of babies from three people.
A Rally Against Human Gene Patents on the Supreme Court’s Stepsby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMarch 19th, 2013Breast Cancer Action argues that when “a corporation controls human genes, corporate profits will always come before our health.”
Major Grocer to Label Foods With Gene-Modified Contentby Stephanie StromThe New York TimesMarch 8th, 2013Whole Foods Market will become the first US retailer to require labeling of all genetically modified foods sold in its stores, a move that some experts said could radically alter the food industry.
Should Patients Understand that They are Research Subjects? by Jenny ReardonSan Francisco ChronicleMarch 3rd, 2013A routine form at a UCSF doctor's appointment stipulates that your tissues and cells can be collected, and that you have no rights to any "commercially useful products that may be developed."
The Throwawaysby Sara MojtehedzadehGuernicaMarch 1st, 2013In Kenya, doctors are force-sterilizing HIV-positive women—in some cases, without their knowledge.
Justices Wrestle Over Allowing DNA Sampling at Time of Arrestby Adam LiptakThe New York TimesFebruary 26th, 2013The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that one justice said is "perhaps the most important criminal procedure case that this court has heard in decades.”
Connecting the Neural Dotsby John MarkoffThe New York TimesFebruary 25th, 2013In setting the nation on a course to map the active human brain, President Obama may have picked a challenge even more daunting than ending the war in Afghanistan or finding common ground with his Republican opponents.
Can They Patent Your Genes?by Daniel J. KevlesThe New York Review of BooksFebruary 25th, 2013This spring, the Supreme Court will hear a case that may well decide whether genes can be patented, and the consequences for American biomedicine could be huge.
Faroes’ 50,000 Residents Leap Into DNA Testing Quagmireby John LauermanBloombergFebruary 24th, 2013A proposed plan would decipher the complete DNA sequence of every citizen of the Faroe Islands, but a deeper debate about issues of privacy, ownership, and utility is still needed.
DNA and the Constitution[Editorial]The New York TimesFebruary 24th, 2013The substantial harm to innocent people that could result from the misuse of DNA greatly outweighs the benefits. And the safeguard against such harm is the Fourth Amendment, whose fundamental protections the Maryland court upheld. The Supreme Court should do likewise.
New Guidelines for Genetic Testing in Childrenby Bonnie RochmanTimeFebruary 21st, 2013The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics have released a new statement on genetic testing in children, suggesting ways to navigate the ethical, legal, and social complexities.
A Call for International Prohibition of Forced Genital-Normalizing Surgery and Sterilizationby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesFebruary 21st, 2013A new report from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture focuses on human rights abuses in health-care settings, and bolsters LGBTQI activists in their fight against involuntary sterilizations and genital-normalizing surgeries.
We Are Egg Donors: A New Self-Advocacy Community by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesFebruary 19th, 2013Women who have donated their eggs or are considering it can share stories and research, provide mutual support, and leverage their presence beyond that of individual women who are heavily recruited and then instantly forgotten.
Too Much InformationSupreme Court 2013: Why collecting DNA from people who are arrested won’t help solve more crimes.by Brandon L. Garrett and Erin MurphySlateFebruary 12th, 2013Research shows that police solve more crimes not by taking DNA from suspects who have never been convicted, but by collecting more evidence at crime scenes.
Horror in a Mass Sterilization Camp: Unconscious Indian Women Were Dumped in a Field After Undergoing a Painful Sterilization Operation by Carol KuruvillaNew York Daily NewsFebruary 7th, 2013A sterilization drive at a rural hospital in West Bengal ended in scandal after four doctors rushed to sterilize 106 Indian women within a day and left them outside to recover.
Israel Admits Targeting Ethiopian Jews for Compulsory Contraception by Diane ToberBiopolitical TimesFebruary 7th, 2013Israeli government officials have admitted to coercing Ethiopian Jewish immigrant women into taking long-acting contraceptive injections.
Will Pre-Conviction DNA Collection Become the National Norm?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesFebruary 7th, 2013The United States Supreme Court will hear a case later this month that will determine the legality of collecting DNA from people who are arrested for but not convicted of any crime.
Supreme Court to Hear Fight Over Taking DNA From Arrested Peopleby David SavageLos Angeles TimesFebruary 2nd, 2013The Supreme Court will hear a privacy rights challenge to the police practice of taking DNA from people arrested but not convicted.
Proposal to Collect DNA From Immigrants Too Orwellian: Opinion by Opinion staffDaily NewsJanuary 31st, 2013Undocumented immigrants should not be required to submit DNA samples as a condition of staying in the United States.
French Gay Marriage Plans Stir Parenthood Debateby Associated PressNPRJanuary 31st, 2013The president's promise to legalize gay marriage was seen as relatively uncontroversial when it first came up, but the news reopened a raw national debate on fertility treatments, surrogacy and adoption.
3 Years After Inception, a DNA Technique Yields Little Success for the Policeby Joseph Goldstein and J. David GoodmanThe New York TimesJanuary 27th, 2013The process of turning crime-scene DNA into a family tree of possible leads has been quietly undertaken in more than two dozen cases in New York City since 2009, but there have as yet been no cases solved due to a lead generated by a "family search."
Privacy Fear for DNA Dragnetby Tony WallStuff (New Zealand)January 20th, 2013A district court judge who is a world expert in forensic DNA has called for a public debate on the use of familial DNA testing, saying it raises serious privacy issues and has the potential to subject entire families to life-long genetic surveillance.
Born to Run the World?by Abby Lippman, Biopolitical Times guest contributorBiopolitical TimesJanuary 17th, 2013Forget about glass ceilings, sexism in employment, gender inequities, and all those other structural and societal policies and practices that put obstacles in the way of women (and racialized groups) getting ahead. Maybe they just lack the "leadership gene."
A Rebuttal to Mark Lynas’ GMO Reversalby Jason MarkEarth Island JournalJanuary 11th, 2013Organic farmer, writer, and environmental policy advocate delves into Lynas' rationale for turning pro-GMO and finds scientific, environmental, economic, and social reasons not to agree.
Your Medical Data in the Cloud? Not So Fast, Says HHS Privacy Officialby Andrea PetersonScience ProgressJanuary 9th, 2013Digital health records are superior to physical ones for many reasons, but data security and privacy of health information are major obstacles and policy has not yet caught up with practice.
More Female Fetuses Aborted in Europeby Claudia HennenDWJanuary 7th, 2013Sex selection is not just a problem confined to China and India: New statistics show skewed sex ratios in favor of boys in Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro.
UK Government's Enthusiasm for GM Not Matched in Developing Nationsby John VidalThe Guardian January 4th, 2013Across the world, countries are turning their backs on GM crops; perhaps the coalition in the UK could learn something from them.
Rape in India: A Result of Sex Selection? by Erika ChristakisTimeJanuary 4th, 2013Behind the angry protests over the horrific gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student is an even deeper story: the preference for male babies in India and much of the world may be at the root of this senseless violence.
As a Girl in India, I Learned to Be Afraid of Menby Mira KamdarThe AtlanticJanuary 4th, 2013Sex-selective abortion, female infanticide and the sheer neglect of girls have made for a growing gender gap in India. In the wake of the brutal gang rape of a young paramedical student in Delhi, Indian citizens have taken to the streets to show their outrage.
Human Rights Court Orders Costa Rica to Legalize In Vitro Fertilizationby L. AriasTico TimesDecember 20th, 2012The Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a ruling against the government of Costa Rica condemning its ban on in vitro fertilization.
German Federal Court Bans Mass Genetic TestingDeutsche WelleDecember 20th, 2012A German court has ruled that evidence from voluntary mass genetic testing cannot be used against participants' family members.
Gendercide Stingsby S.A.The EconomistDecember 18th, 2012A lawyer and women’s rights activist is taking an unusual approach to India’s skewed sex ratios.
A DNA Database in the NHS: The End of Privacy?by Helen WallacePublic Service EuropeDecember 12th, 2012Governments, police, journalists, employers, insurers and even nosy neighbours would inevitably get access to personal information about medical conditions and non-paternity if a DNA database is built in the National Health Service.
Genome Challenge Emerges in Society Sharing DNA Benefitsby John LauermanBloomberg BusinessweekDecember 9th, 2012Scientists at a Nobel conference in Stockholm voiced worry that we will end up with a genetic divide, increasing already problematic social inequalities.
Welcome to DownTown Abbeyby Jane RidleyPage Six MagazineDecember 6th, 2012New York City's modern-day dukes and duchesses blur the lines between upstairs and downstairs, demanding their household help provide everything from donated eggs to properly behaved aquatic animals.
The Jury is Out on Nationwide DNA Databaseby Peter StannersThe Copenhagen PostDecember 1st, 2012Questions remain about whether a nationwide DNA database would help solve more crimes or simply be an ineffective drain on police resources.
Girls R Us: Sex Selection, Sound Bites and Weak Databy Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorNovember 21st, 2012Evidence-light provocations about “the end of men” notwithstanding, sex selection for sons remains a growing global crisis.
Social Codes: Sharing Your Genes Onlineby Daniela HernandezWiredNovember 9th, 201223andMe, which calls itself "the first genetic social network," is launching a mobile app that lets users organize and share their genomes online. Privacy is a concern the company will leave to its users to navigate.
Opinion: Science in the Courtroomby James TaberyThe ScientistNovember 6th, 2012Should biological explanations for criminal behavior influence a judge’s or jury’s decision about how to handle a case? If so, how?
Making Babies, Just to Make Ends Meetby Susan StraightThe New York TimesNovember 3rd, 2012After learning that her neighbor became a surrogate to pay the bills, the author finds out more about what it's been like for her to rent out her womb.
Military Mind Warsby Jonathan D. MorenoThe ScientistNovember 1st, 2012How neuroscience research can inform military counterintelligence tactics, and the moral responsibilities that accompany such research.
Money Doesn't Talk, It Liesby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesNovember 1st, 2012California's Proposition 37, which would require labeling of genetically modified food, is being battered by a million dollars a day of deceptive commercials, but the race is roughly tied.
Why Cheaper Genetic Testing Could Cost Us a Fortuneby Bonnie RochmanTimeOctober 26th, 2012Experts are concerned that new genetic tests will increase overall health care spending and that test results will make it harder for people to get insurance.
Will My Son Develop Cancer? The Promise (and Pitfalls) of Sequencing Children’s Genomes by Bonnie RochmanTimeOctober 22nd, 2012Can you imagine wanting to know whether your newborn baby will fall victim to Alzheimer’s disease decades down the road? What about cancer or diabetes?
Colman Chadam, California Boy, Ordered To Transfer Schools For Carrying Cystic Fibrosis Gene Huffington PostOctober 18th, 2012An 11-year-old has been ordered to leave his current school because of his genetic makeup. His parents are taking the issue to court.
DNA Analysis: Far From an Open-and-Shut CaseForensic evidence is widely considered to be the result of purely objective lab tests, but there's growing proof that psychological bias plays a partby Vaughan BellGuardian [UK]October 13th, 2012DNA forensics can become less a case of "matching barcodes" than one of deciding whether any one of the numerous and disjointed "barcode fragments" seem to fit the original.
Vote for the Dinner PartyIs this the year that the food movement finally enters politics?by Michael PollanNew York TimesOctober 10th, 2012California’s Proposition 37, which would require that genetically modified foods carry a label, has the potential to change the politics of food not just in California but nationally too.
Economics and Genetics Meet in Uneasy UnionUse of population-genetic data to predict economic success sparks war of words.by Ewen CallawayNatureOctober 10th, 2012A paper about to be published in a prestigious economics journal claims that a country’s genetic diversity can predict the success of its economy. Critics of the study see genetic determinism, and even racism.
'Single Gene May Hold Key to Life Itself'by Nathaniel ComfortHuffington PostSeptember 23rd, 2012"Gene for..." headlines may be a symptom of, or catalyst for, Americans' infatuation with controlling life.
Crucial GMO Food Fight in Californiaby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 20th, 2012California's Proposition 37 aims to label GMO foods, and the industry is fighting back hard.
Selling Sickness: The Conferenceby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesSeptember 19th, 2012Health care reformers and drug industry critics will gather to challenge the global tide of disease mongering.
Science, Standards and Forensics: Part III by Brandon L. GarrettHuffington PostSeptember 9th, 2012If we are going to use forensics to put people in prison for years, Congress should pass legislation to make forensics far more of a science.
Where Is the Path Forward for Forensics? Part II by Brandon L. GarrettHuffington PostSeptember 7th, 2012Problems abound with DNA forensics and have led to numerous wrongful convictions, but so far, scientific recommendations have been ignored by Congress. What is the path forward?
Forensics on the Hill: Part I by Brandon L. GarrettHuffington PostSeptember 5th, 2012Donald Eugene Gates' fate was sealed by two stray hairs and he spent nearly three decades in prison, before his innocence was finally proven. How often is DNA forensics wrong?
South Carolina to Collect DNA After Every Felony Arrestby Seanna AdcoxAssociated PressSeptember 1st, 2012South Carolina’s law enforcement agency will soon collect DNA samples from people when they’re arrested for a felony – rather than post-conviction.
DNA Test Jailed Innocent Man for Murderby Hannah BarnesBBC NewsAugust 31st, 2012Scientists, lawyers and politicians have raised concerns over the quality of forensic evidence testing - is the criminal justice system too reliant on lab tests without seeing their limitations?
Forensic Test Can Predict Hair and Eye Colour From DNAby Paul RinconBBC NewsAugust 24th, 2012Scientists have developed a forensic test that can predict both the hair and eye colour of a possible suspect using DNA left at a crime scene.
Who's Your Daddy? DNA Clinic Gives Answers, Sparks Concernsby Lily KuoReutersAugust 22nd, 2012A mobile DNA testing facility is raising questions about the ramifications of quick and easy tests to determine paternity and other biological connections.
Vt. High Court to Weigh Pre-Conviction DNA Testingby Dave GramThe Boston GlobeAugust 20th, 2012The Vermont Supreme Court has been asked to rule on the constitutionality of a 2009 law allowing the state to take DNA samples from people charged with but not yet convicted of crimes.
Stop and Swab: Dramatic Increases in DNA Police Databasesby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesAugust 20th, 2012DNA databases continue to grow exponentially as more U.S. states allow police to seize DNA samples from people who have been arrested but not convicted, and from those suspected of misdemeanors as well as felonies.
Special Journal Issue on Genes and Athleticsby Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesAugust 9th, 2012Just in time for the 2012 Summer Games, the journal Recent Patents on DNA & Gene Sequences has published a special issue on genetics and athletics.
NY Law Expanding DNA Database Takes Effectby Dan WiessnerReutersAugust 1st, 2012Almost anyone convicted of a crime in New York is now required to submit a DNA sample to the state's sweeping criminal database.
Supreme Court May Review Case over DNA Samplesby Jonathan Stempel and Terry BaynesReutersJuly 30th, 2012The Supreme Court signaled on Monday that it may review whether law enforcement officials may collect DNA samples from people who have been accused, but not convicted, of serious crimes.
Federal Court Taking Second Look at Calif. DNA Lawby Associated PressYahoo NewsJuly 26th, 2012A federal appeals court decided to take another look at a California law that requires DNA samples to be taken from anyone arrested for a felony, not just after a conviction.
Myth of 'The Jukes' Offers Cautionary Genetics Taleby Dan VerganoUSA TodayJune 30th, 2012A look at the modern-day manifestations of the bad idea behind "the infamous Jukes family," as the founder of the eugenics movement described them.
The Place of Race in Understanding Healthby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 27th, 2012Anne Fausto-Sterling considers the meaning of race in health disparities, comparing the work of three prominent scholars who may shake up the status quo.
Human Genetics Commission Publish Final Reportby Rebecca HillBioNewsJune 7th, 2012The Human Genetics Commission has published its final report, which marks the end of its 12 years as an advisory body to the Government.
Bay Area Artist Looks to Biopolitical Issues for Inspirationby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 7th, 2012Bay Area artist Doug Minkler addresses concerns about synthetic biology and the corporatization of scientific research in his socially conscious posters.
Ancestry Testing Goes for Pinpoint Accuracyby Ewen CallawayNatureJune 6th, 2012Commercial ancestry testing is now taking advantage of whole-genome scans, providing more accuracy, though a still imperfect picture of geographical origins.
N.C. House Approves Measure Compensating Victims of Eugenics Programsby Lynn BonnerNews ObserverJune 5th, 2012In a 86-31 vote, the state House approved a measure that will compensate people sterilized by a state authority over four decades ago.
Is International Governance on the Horizon for Synthetic Biology? by Daniel SharpBiopolitical TimesMay 31st, 2012New developments at the international level mark a potential victory for progressives concerned about synthetic biology.
DNA Study Seeks Origin of Appalachia's Melungeonsby Travis LollerAssociated PressMay 24th, 2012Varied claims have been made about the origins of a group of dark-skinned Appalachian residents. Some thought they originally came from Portugal, but a new DNA study shows a different story.
Klout, Social Media and the Politics of Science by Sona MakkerBiopolitcal TimesMay 23rd, 2012The social media landscape is not an even playing field - money delivers an edge, and hype often sells. How are social media and online influencers shaping discourse in the realm of science and technology?
Another Anti-Abortion Sting – This Time, Trying to Blame Planned Parenthood for Sex Selection by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMay 15th, 2012An anti-choice sting operation aims to convince Americans that confronting sex selection is best done by restricting reproductive rights.
What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets – New Book by Noted Scholarby Sona MakkerBiopolitical TimesMay 2nd, 2012What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, the new book by leading philosopher Michael Sandel, explores the consequences of a society in which everything and anything has a price tag.
Union of Concerned Scientists Exposes “Corporatization” of Scienceby Daniel SharpBiopolical TimesMarch 15th, 2012A new Union of Concerned Scientists report addresses the dangers of corporate influence in science, and provides recommendations for governance.
Collecting Stories about the Harms of Gene Patenting by Marcy DarnovskyFebruary 23rd, 2012The ACLU launches a public campaign education campaign about the consequences of gene patenting.
Stop the Genetic DragnetPolice currently collect samples of DNA from detainees—retaining the DNA even if a suspect turns out to be innocentby The EditorsScientific AmericanNovember 22nd, 2011Police in about 25 states and federal agents can take a DNA sample after arresting, and before charging, someone. If they are cleared, their DNA stays downtown, a record that is hard to erase.
Bay Area Local News Reports on Asian Egg Marketby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesNovember 17th, 2011Demand is high for young Asian women willing to provide their eggs for other people’s fertility treatment.
Lab Fight Raises U.S. Security Issuesby Jennifer GollanNew York TimesOctober 22nd, 2011Biosafety expert Paul Rabinow resigned from the UC Berkeley-led Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center, and asserted that the Center is not doing enough to prevent a biological disaster.
Police Balk At Submitting Their Own DNA to Forensic Databasesby Osagie K. ObasagieBiopolitical TimesOctober 20th, 2011Despite their ardent support for expanding DNA databases for criminals and non-convicted arrestees, many police officers are refusing to submit their own DNA, calling it a civil rights violation.
Celebrating Dorothy Roberts and Fatal Inventionby Doug PetBiopolitical TimesOctober 6th, 2011The Center for Genetics and Society co-sponsored two events celebrating Dorothy Roberts' new book, Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-Create Race in the Twenty-First Century.
Celebrating Our Bodies Ourselvesby Doug PetBiopolitical TimesSeptember 29th, 2011A series of public events marks the 40th anniversary of Our Bodies Ourselves.
Turning 40, Going Globalby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 28th, 2011Born in Boston, Our Bodies, Ourselves has become an international force for women's rights.
Sex Selection: Not only Asia’s Problem, Says Council of Europe by Doug PetBiopolitical TimesSeptember 15th, 2011A committee of the Council of Europe approved a draft resolution and recommendations for addressing the growing problem of sex selection in Europe.
The Problem with Twin Studiesby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesAugust 26th, 2011Slate's Brian Palmer critiques the proliferation of scientific findings based on twin studies that claim to isolate the genetic underpinnings of human behavior.
Pro-choice women's health and public interest advocates voice concerns regarding fetal gene tests for sex and trait selectionAugust 22nd, 2011Tests raise concerns about the well-being of children, women and families and the prospect of testing for additional traits other than sex.
New Book on the Biopolitics of Raceby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesAugust 18th, 2011Dorothy Roberts' new book meets an urgent need: encouraging greater thought and public discussion on what new genetic technologies mean for society’s understanding of racial difference and its commitment to racial justice.
Concerns about fetal gene tests for sex and trait selection [video][Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]Al Jazeera (English)August 12th, 2011Al Jazeera English television station examines the impact of a new fetal gene test for sex and trait selection.
The Myriad Breast Cancer Patent Case Continuesby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesAugust 1st, 2011A federal appeals court mostly overturned the lower court ruling that invalidated Myriad's patents on breast cancer genes, but further appeals are expected.
New rules urged on hybrid animal-human experimentsby Ben HirschlerReutersJuly 21st, 2011A group of leading British researchers say that scientific experiments that insert human genes or cells into animals need new rules to ensure they are ethically acceptable.
Sperm Donor's 24 Kids Never Told About Fatal Illnessby Susan Donaldson JamesABC NewsJuly 21st, 2011Guidelines indicate that donated sperm cannot have any "relevant communicable disease or agent," but there is no limit on how many donations can be made nor is there any sharing of medical information between the donor and the child's family.
Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines on Outsourcing Clinical Trialsby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesJuly 19th, 2011Fault Lines’ Zeina Awad offers a compelling inside look into the questionable business of using vulnerable populations from the developing world to test drugs that will not benefit them and will largely be consumed by Westerners.
California agency: Little cells, big salary[Editorial]Los Angeles TimesJuly 7th, 2011The big paycheck of the state's stem cell research agency chief is disturbing, particularly because it's a time when most state agencies are making radical cutbacks.
Are Skewed Sex Ratios In America’s Future? by Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesJune 30th, 2011Might technological shifts turn Americans’ preference for sons into a full-blown son preference?
Eight Babies and the End of a Doctor's Careerby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 15th, 2011Fertility specialist Dr. Michael Kamrava lost his license to practice medicine for repeated negligence involving three patients, including the mother of octuplets.
Honorary Degree For Henrietta Lacksby Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesJune 9th, 2011One of the most interesting ways in which Lacks has been recognized is the granting of a posthumous honorary degree (doctorate of public service) by Morgan State University
Axing Gamete Donor Anonymity: British Columbia Ruling Reflects Growing Global Conversation by Jillian TheilRH Reality CheckMay 26th, 2011A British Columbia judge has ruled that anonymity for gamete donors in the Canadian province is unconstitutional.
Illinois Bill Could Allow State To Collect DNA From Those Presumed Innocent, Marking Nationwide Shift by Will GuzzardiWashington PostMay 26th, 2011If Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signs House Bill 3238, it will mark a turning point in the national landscape on DNA collection.
Rights watchdog calls for halt to DNA testing[Canada]CBC NewsMay 25th, 2011Canada's civil liberties watchdog is calling on investigators in a murder investigation to immediately stop voluntary DNA sampling, calling the practice coercive.
High Court judge approves commercial surrogacy[United Kingdom]BBC NewsMay 19th, 2011Citing the welfare of the child involved, the judge retrospectively approved a commercial surrogacy arrangement made by a British couple who hired a woman from the Ukraine.
New Book on Race and Geneticsby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesMay 12th, 2011Science writer Alondra Oubré has just published an ambitious new book entitled Race, Genes, and Ability: Rethinking Ethnic Differences.
Tax agency: DNA test no proof of paternity[Sweden]by Rebecca MartinThe LocalMay 10th, 2011The Swedish Tax Agency does not want to recognise a DNA test as confirmation of the paternity of a Sierra Leone man currently living with his son.
Petition for an Egg Donor Registryby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 5th, 2011A petition being circulated by the Alliance for Humane Biotechnology calls for the creation of a well-publicized national registry to track the long-term risks of egg retrieval.
Media Passes Gene Test, Parents Flunkby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 21st, 2011Parents interested in having their own genes tested also want to test their kids, but the media reports quote experts recommending against routine testing of children for adult-onset diseases.
More Arguing About Human Gene Patents in Courtby Doug PetBiopolitical TimesApril 7th, 2011A Federal Court of Appeals panel heard oral arguments in the Myriad case, but gave no hint of its decision; either way, many expect it to go to the Supreme Court.
Genetic Bill of Rights: Teetering on the brink of Massachusetts law? by Doug PetBiopolitical TimesMarch 31st, 2011The Massachusetts legislature will deliberate on the introduction of a Genetic Bill of Rights next week. Public interest advocates are signing on in support while others oppose.
FDA Considers Regulation of DTC Gene Tests, Setting Blogs Ablaze by Jillian TheilBiopolitical TimesMarch 17th, 2011Supporters and critics of direct-to-consumer gene tests debate an FDA advisory panel’s recommendations to conduct them in medical settings.
Profits, Princes and Police DNA Databasesby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMarch 16th, 2011A new investigation reveals disturbing commercial pressures to establish forensic DNA databases that may go well beyond legal limits in Europe and the US.
Palace denies 'shameful' database link[United Kingdom]by Matthew D'Arcypublicservice.co.ukMarch 11th, 2011A deal signed under Tony Blair's government to help the United Arab Emirates build a DNA database of its entire population must be scrapped, human rights and genetics bodies have warned.
Donor-Conceived Children Look for Their Own Biological Historyby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesMarch 2nd, 2011A feature story in Newsweek highlights the growing trend for donor offspring to assert their right to know their genetic origins.
Past medical testing on humans revealedby Mike StobbeThe Washington PostFebruary 27th, 2011Much of this horrific history is 40 to 80 years old, but it is the backdrop for a meeting in Washington this week by a presidential bioethics commission.
Donor-Conceived and Out of the Closetby Alessandra RaffertyNewsweekFebruary 25th, 2011The children of anonymous sperm donors are growing up, speaking out, and demanding rights in a forum fraught with controversy.
Courts 'will reject test secrecy'[The United Kingdom]by Paul RinconBBC News February 24th, 2011There is a serious mismatch between the government's aim to commercialise forensic science and the requirement of courts for openness, according to a top forensic expert.
Is DNA taken from arrestees constitutional? by Nathan GorensteinPhiladelphia InquirerFebruary 24th, 2011A federal appeals court will decide whether it is constitutional for the government to take DNA from people arrested but not convicted and keep the specimens on file like fingerprints.
Pushing the Bioethics Envelope to Serve Neo-Eugenic Purposesby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesFebruary 24th, 2011Prominent British-based bioethicists seem to be changing the terms of debate, in favor of eugenic interventions.
State stem cell firm uses tax dollars for nonpublic campuses[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Katie WorthSan Francisco ExaminerFebruary 20th, 2011The Institute's bill for PR is also being called into question, in a time when public resources are especially scarce.
Woman with learning difficulties could be forcibly sterilised[United Kingdom]by Tim RossThe TelegraphFebruary 14th, 2011A woman with learning difficulties could be forcibly sterilised after she gives birth this week to stop her becoming pregnant again.
Fertility Industry Fraud…Yet Again by Jillian TheilBiopolitical TimesFebruary 14th, 2011An Idaho fertility company failed to pay egg donors and lied to investigators when questioned about the non-payments.
DNA profiles to be deleted from police database[United Kingdom]BBC NewsFebruary 11th, 2011Following a critical European Court of Human Rights ruling, the UK will make wide-ranging changes to its DNA forensics policies.
State wants to collect your DNA on arrest, not convictionby Chris SullivanMyNorthwest.comFebruary 2nd, 2011There's a push in Washington state to start the collection process much earlier.
Home DNA kits to test paternity go on sale in shops[United Kingdom]by Anthony BaxterBBCFebruary 1st, 2011It is the first High Street shop to sell the kits, which let people settle disputes over whether someone is father to a baby without outside help.
The murky world of reproductive medicine[Canada]CTV NewsJanuary 29th, 2011Sometimes the desire to have a baby is so strong that it has led Canadians to venture into an increasingly murky world of assisted human reproduction.
Bill seeks to regulate wombs-for-rent[India]by Kounteya SinhaTimes of IndiaJanuary 27th, 2011India's Union health ministry has now finalised the Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Regulation Bill 2010, which has been sent to the law ministry for its approval.
Pigging out on genetically modified porkby Christina StevensGlobal NewsJanuary 24th, 2011Genetically engineered pork may one day become a part of your local grocer's food list. But who's to decide whether or not this product should be on the shelves?
Clinical trials on trial[Commentary]by Osagie ObasogieThe New ScientistJanuary 22nd, 2011Vulnerable people are increasingly targeted as subjects for clinical research. Have we forgotten the lessons of past abuses?
Schumer visits Utica to tout DNA fingerprintingby Robert BrauchleUtica Observer-DispatchJanuary 20th, 2011US Senator Charles Schumer is introducing federal legislation that would allow law enforcement agencies to take DNA samples from anyone arrested for violent crimes.
Uncle Sam could want YOU and your DNA, tooby Jillian TheilBiopolitical TimesJanuary 20th, 2011A secretive group of scientific advisors recommends that the Department of Defense collect DNA from US soldiers, and gives little attention to the potential implications of such a practice.
Surrogacy Law: Conn. Gives Non-Genetic Parents Legal Rightsby Susan Donaldson JamesABC NewsJanuary 20th, 2011Connecticut's Supreme Court honors a signed agreement between a surrogate mother and a gay couple.
Police DNA test plan to put off prostitutes' punters[United Kingdom]by Jane Fae OzimekThe Register (UK)January 19th, 2011Another day, another database idea.
Prisoners as Human Subjects: A Closer Look at the Institute of Medicine's Recommendations to Loosen Current Restrictions on Using Prisoners in Scientific Researchby Osagie K. ObasogieStanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil LibertiesJanuary 18th, 2011Greater attention must be paid to prisoners’ heightened vulnerability as human subjects, and the relevance of human rights to research ethics.
Lisa Jardine starts egg donor compensation discussion[United Kingdom]by James GallagherBBC NewsJanuary 17th, 2011The UK's assisted reproduction regulatory agency has opened a public consultation about payments for sperm and eggs.
The Rise and Decline of Military Human Enhancementby Michael Burnam-FinkScience ProgressJanuary 7th, 2011We are in, at best, a lull in military investments in human enhancement research. That is why now is a good time to start asking hard questions about how—and indeed if—we should proceed along this course.
Bioethics and its Discontentsby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJanuary 4th, 2011A call for bioethics to expand its framework, and to balance autonomy against the collective good without privileging either a priori.
Assisted reproduction and choice in the biotech age: recommendations for a way forward[Editorial]by Francine Coeytaux, Marcy Darnovsky, Susan Berke FogelContraceptionJanuary 1st, 2011An editorial in the journal of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals.
The Corrupting Influence of the Business of Biotechby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesNovember 23rd, 2010Many scientists seem oblivious of the potential that industry funding offers for conflicts of interest.
Habermas Warns of Genetic Claims that Bolster Xenophobia by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesNovember 4th, 2010One of the most influential living philosophers uses a New York Times op-ed to caution that "false biological conclusions" are fueling discrimination against Muslim immigrants in Germany.
New Scientist Puts Another Chink in DNA Forensics’ Armorby Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesOctober 14th, 2010The New Scientist’s Linda Geddes draws attention to the role of subjectivity in determining the significance of DNA evidence.
Abolition of HFEA 'won't save anything'BBC NewsSeptember 24th, 2010The former chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, one of many publicly funded non-governmental advisory bodies in the UK that may be scrapped, analyses the gap the abolition of the body will leave.
60 Minutes on Stem Cells and Snake Oilby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesSeptember 22nd, 201060 Minutes recently re-aired a story about stem cell con artists who play on the desperation of people with fatal degenerative diseases.
Designer babies, with an Indian twistby Saritha RaiGlobal PostSeptember 21st, 2010More and more Indians want egg donors, but only if they're from the right caste.
Should U.S. Citizenship Be Heritable?by Osagie K. ObasogieBiopolitical TimesAugust 21st, 2010If not birthright, what should be the basis of citizenship?
How DNA evidence creates victims of chance by Linda GeddesThe New ScientistAugust 18th, 2010The DNA statistics juries are provided with often overstate the evidence
Gopher Kids or Guinea Pigs?by Doug PetAugust 13th, 2010University of Minnesota researchers attempting to investigate the genetic features of “normal and healthy” kids plan to solicit DNA samples from child-parent volunteer pairs at this month’s state fair.
ACLU says California DNA law violates privacyby Bob EgelkoSan Francisco ChronicleJuly 14th, 2010The American Civil Liberties Union told a court that the government should not be allowed to take the "genetic blueprint" of someone who hasn't been convicted of a crime.
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