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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. 



The Direct-to-Consumer Stem Cell Industry in the USby Pete ShanksJuly 15th, 2016There are more stem-cell clinics than anyone suspected, and it’s not clear that they are operating with proper supervision.
The EEOC’s Final Rule on GINA and Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs to Take Effect This Monthby Jennifer K. WagnerGenomics Law ReportJuly 14th, 2016The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act now has updated regulations around health information obtained from employees' spouses.
Puffing Cryonics in New Scientist?by Pete ShanksJuly 13th, 2016New Scientist is a popular science magazine that sometimes prioritizes popularity over science.
Why science needs progressive voices more than ever by Alice BellThe GuardianJuly 6th, 2016After Brexit, science must speak up for those who have been marginalized.
A Nation Ruled by Science Is a Terrible Ideaby Jeffrey GuhinSlateJuly 5th, 2016Logic and rationality can erase the nuances of people's lives.
Undertake a Clinical Trial at Your Own Riskby Steve SternbergUS News & World ReportJune 10th, 2016"Money should be set aside to care for people like me, if we're damaged in a clinical trial. We shouldn't be discarded."
DEA Wants Inside Your Medical Records to Fight the War on Drugsby Christopher MoraffThe Daily Beast June 9th, 2016The agency wants access to millions of private health files without a warrant, including those of two transgender men who are taking testosterone.
Biden unveils launch of major, open-access database to advance cancer researchby Laurie McGinleyThe Washington PostJune 6th, 2016The Vice President says the Genomic Data Commons will encourage collaboration among scientists, and will protect patient privacy.
What It Means To Be Human Is Changing Thanks To Gene Editingby Joe Matthews (Zócalo Public Square)Huffington PostMay 27th, 2016“We might be splitting in class between those who can afford to manage our children eugenically and those who cannot.”
As an industry giant invests in science fairs, we all invest (for better or worse) in biotechby Carl ZimmerSTATMay 26th, 2016School science fairs have evolved into sites of biotech and biomedical sponsorship and cultivation.
Forgotten Stories of the Eugenic Age #5: Creating Super-Peopleby Natalie OveyssiBiopolitical TimesMay 23rd, 2016Advocates of eugenics in the early twentieth century thought that careful mating would produce smarter, stronger, better people. What would these people look like? How would they behave? What kind of society would they form? Could making a better world be so simple?
Genome games: A secret meet and a controversyby Pete ShanksDeccan ChronicleMay 22nd, 2016A complete lack of transparency around a gathering to discuss synthetic human genomes triggers anger worldwide.
Is Egg Freezing Only for White Women?by Reniqua AllenThe New York Times [Opinion]May 21st, 2016In the context of egg freezing's unknown risks and success rates, black women are being excluded from "fertility insurance" conversations and face stigma.
Why is Congress trying to weaken the FDA's oversight of dangerous drugs?by Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesMay 19th, 2016With looser standards for drug approval, the "21st Century Cures Act" would grant pharmaceutical companies greater leeway in selling their products.
The disturbing thing that happens when you tell people they have different DNAby Ana SwansonWonkblog [The Washington Post]May 13th, 2016A new study suggests that emphasizing essential differences based on genetics can encourage aggression between groups and stir support for war.
Secret Harvard meeting on synthetic human genomes incites ethics debate[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Joel AchenbachWashington PostMay 13th, 2016If reports about a closed-door meeting are accurate, said Marcy Darnovsky, this "looks like a move to privatize the current conversation about heritable genetic modification."
In science, follow the money – if you canby Paul D. Thacker & Curt FurbergThe Los Angeles TimesMay 12th, 2016Disclosure and restrictions do not harm academic freedom. These policies still allow scientists to pursue research, while ensuring that public health is not put at risk in service of corporate profit.
Meet The Scientists Fighting For More Studies On Genes And Racial Differences In Healthby Peter AldhousBuzzFeedMay 11th, 2016Many question if medicine should seek genetic differences based on a social construct like race, diverting research away from environmental health impacts.
Should We Synthesize A Human Genome?by Drew Endy and Laurie ZolothDSpace@MITMay 10th, 2016Human genome synthesis could redefine what now joins all of humanity together as a species. Discussions should not take place without open and advance consideration of whether and under what circumstances it is morally right to proceed.
Indian woman gives birth at ~70 with help of IVFby Andrew MarszalThe Telegraph [UK]May 10th, 2016Post-menopausal births with donor eggs are increasingly common in India, where couples are often under intense social pressure to have children.
I Want To Put A Baby In You: The Curious Case Of Louisianaby Ellen TrachmanAbove the LawMay 4th, 2016Instead of reasonable regulation, the pending Louisiana bill transparently limits the types of people who can enter surrogacy arrangements.
Google's DeepMind shouldn't suck up our NHS records in secretby Randeep RameshThe Guardian [US]May 4th, 2016The revelation that 1.6 million patients’ records are being used by the company’s artificial intelligence arm rings alarm bells.
As China’s one-child policy ends, surrogacy services rise in the U.S.by Kevin SmithSan Gabriel Valley TribuneApril 30th, 2016“I’ve been contacted by 15 to 18 agencies out of China... 90 percent of them don’t have any patients. They’re just new agencies trying to make a buck."
Here Are the Medals Given to Eugenically Healthy Humans in the 1920sby Ella MortonAtlas ObscuraApril 26th, 2016People were judged alongside livestock at state fairs in better baby and fitter family contests.
Gay couple win custody battle against Thai surrogate motherby Oliver HolmesThe Guardian [US]April 26th, 2016The central juvenile and family court ruled in favor of the American biological father of 15-month-old Baby Carmen.
Inside the Hidden Global Supply Chain for Frozen Sperm, Eggs, and Embryosby Sarah ZhangWIREDApril 25th, 2016Ever-changing laws and attitudes, which vary not only country by country but within a country, can make transportation logistically difficult.
Why Does Silicon Valley Want to Get So Many Women Pregnant?by Sarah EmersonMotherboard [VICE]April 22nd, 2016Women’s fertility apps have found a profitable niche in the predominantly male tech scene. The tech industry hopes they’ll deliver a lot of valuable private information.
Kuwait Becomes First Country to Collect DNA Samples From All Citizens and Visitors: Reportby Seung LeeNewsweekApril 19th, 2016Kuwait will use mobile centers to collect samples from citizens, and take cheek swabs at airports on all visitors. Anyone faking DNA samples faces up to seven years in prison.
Human Experimentation: Rethinking The 'Bad Old Days'by Barron LernerForbesApril 19th, 2016The horrors in our medical past require that we not brush them aside as just wrong but that we look hard at why they happened.
More People Seek Genetic Testing, But There Aren't Enough Counselorsby Todd BookmanNPRApril 18th, 2016The field of precision medicine is facing a bottleneck: "Who will actually interpret and provide those results to patients?"
The trouble with paying for spermby Alana Cattapan & Françoise BaylisThe Star [Toronto]April 9th, 2016The so-called shortage of Canadian sperm is not about men being unwilling to donate without pay.
Gender Selection As Part Of Advanced Reproductive Technology: Does The U.S. Prefer Boys Or Girls?[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Amy SchaefferThe InquisitrApril 9th, 2016Some are concerned that selecting a non-disease preference like gender will pave the way for gene editing other preferred traits.
CIA’s Venture Capital Arm Is Funding Skin Care Products That Collect DNAby Lee FangThe InterceptApril 8th, 2016Skincential Sciences developed a patented technology that removes a thin outer layer of the skin for a youthful "glow"... and DNA collection.
Meet the feminists who are trying to stop the ‘dictator’s’ daughter from becoming presidentby Manuel RuedaFusionApril 8th, 2016More than 300,000 Peruvian women, most of them poor and indigenous, were sterilized by a birth control program run by president Alberto Fujimori during the 1990s.
Google’s biotech venture hit by ethical concerns over deal with luxury clinicby Charles PillerSTATApril 7th, 2016Verily Life Sciences, Google's ambitious biotech offshoot, has stirred concerns about conflicts of interest.
The disturbing reason some African American patients may be undertreated for painby Sandhya SomashekharThe Washington PostApril 4th, 2016A recent study shows that many white medical students and residents believe inaccurate and at times "fantastical" differences based on race.
The Surrogacy Cycleby Abby RabinowitzThe Virginia Quarterly ReviewMarch 31st, 2016Promising an escape from poverty, transnational surrogacy has left many Indian women with little to show for their efforts. What went wrong?
Race, Reparations and the Search for Our Molecular Soulby Michael SchulsonReligion Dispatches (USC Annenberg)March 30th, 2016In a recent book, Alondra Nelson maps the rise of genetic testing among African Americans, investigating the ways that genetic technology is crossing over into social and political worlds.
IVF Ban lifted in Costa Rica: a success for reproductive rights?by Lynn M. MorganPLOS BlogsMarch 30th, 2016After years of political gridlock in the only western hemisphere country to ban IVF, Costa Ricans will finally have access to assisted reproduction.
Inside the garage labs of DIY gene hackers, whose hobby may terrify youby Kristen V. BrownFusionMarch 29th, 2016At the 2015 Gene Editing Summit in D.C., David Baltimore lamented that CRISPR had been overhyped. “It’s not something you can do in a garage,” he said. He was wrong.
Should Parents of Children With Severe Disabilities Be Allowed to Stop Their Growth?by Genevieve FieldThe New York Times MagazineMarch 22nd, 2016Caring for people with severe mental and physical limitations becomes harder as they get older. Some parents believe medically stunting them is the answer — but is it ethical?
Dinosaurs are Extinct, but Normalization is Alive and Wellby Emily Beitiks, Biopolitical Times guest contributorMarch 22nd, 2016While the disability movement is pushing us away from the reductive concept of "normal", dinosaur education for our kids lags behind.
I Can't Breatheby Anne Fausto-SterlingBoston ReviewMarch 21st, 2016The belief in racial essentialism means that the medical curriculum pays scant attention to the means by which the social experience of race produces disease.
A look inside the Czech Republic’s booming fertility holiday industryby Amy SpeierThe ConversationMarch 17th, 2016An estimated 20,000 IVF cycles were completed in the Czech Republic in 2006, a quarter for foreign couples. By 2014, that number had grown to 30,000, a third for foreign couples.
The Limits of Personalized Medicineby Timothy CaulfieldThe AtlanticMarch 16th, 2016A new study suggests that knowing their genetic risk of disease doesn’t motivate people to change their behavior.
Jordan Schnitzer Gets a Son—and a Court Battle[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Nigel JaquissWillamette WeekMarch 16th, 2016A Portland real estate mogul used science and the law to select the sex of his child born via surrogate. The baby's parentage is now in dispute.
Of evil mice and men: Can we blame crime on our genes?by Alan MartinAlphrMarch 14th, 2016Various studies are finding genetic and mental indicators for criminal behaviour - in lab mice.
When Gene Tests for Breast Cancer Reveal Grim Data but No Guidanceby Gina KolataThe New York TimesMarch 11th, 2016Despite the push for precision medicine, doctors are confronted with ballooning genetic data and limited treatment options.
Cryonics Taken Apartby Pete ShanksMarch 10th, 2016Corey Pein has written an exposé of Alcor, the cryonics company he describes as "technophilic necromancers."
My Genes, Myself?by Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times guest contributorMarch 8th, 2016We have become accustomed to ascribing agency to individual genes. But every now and then a story comes along that reminds us just how foolish we are.
'Idiocracy' Is One of the Most Elitist and Anti-Social Movies Ever—Why Do Liberals Love Referencing It?by Adam JohnsonAlterNetMarch 4th, 2016"The pro-eugenics 2006 film finds a home with confused liberals who would rather blame bad breeding than structural classism and racism."
This genetics company claims it can sequence and analyze your entire genome for $999by Tanya LewisBusiness InsiderMarch 3rd, 2016With a doctor's referral, Veritas Genetics will offer smartphone interface and analysis of around 2,000 common clinical conditions.
The Brain Gets Its Day in Courtby Greg MillerThe AtlanticMarch 1st, 2016A new study found that the number of judicial opinions referencing neuroscience as evidence more than doubled between 2005 and 2012.
Bridging Borders: Transnational Surrogacy, Queer Kinship & Reproductive Justiceby Elliot HosmanFebruary 25th, 2016A report on the Making Families conference at UC Berkeley connecting reproductive justice, queer kinship, and transnational surrogacy practices, stories, and research.
The Troubling Rise of Rapid DNA Testingby Ava KofmanNew RepublicFebruary 24th, 2016Your DNA can now be read in less time than it would take to wait at a typical DMV. New portable rapid DNA devices may represent a giant leap backward for civil liberties.
Not Every Drop of a Person’s Blood Is the Same, a Study Saysby Donald G. McNeil Jr.The New York TimesFebruary 22nd, 2016As diagnostic tests rely on ever-tinier amounts of blood, some scientists are striking a note of caution. As it turns out, not every drop of blood is identical.
DNA sweeps pose wrenching ethical questionsby Carol GoarThe Star [Toronto]February 17th, 2016In the remote indigenous community of Garden Hill, Manitoba, police are collecting DNA samples from every male 15-66 years of age to find the killer of 11-year-old Teresa Robinson.
If You Want Life Insurance, Think Twice Before Getting A Genetic Testby Christina FarrFast CompanyFebruary 17th, 2016As genetic testing explodes, US federal law bans health insurers from denying coverage based on results. But the same doesn't apply for disability, life insurance, or long-time care.
There's No Excuse For Doctors To Treat Patients According To Race by Amitha KalaichandranHuffington Post [Canada]February 16th, 2016Professor Dorothy Roberts suggests that we revisit the concept of race when it comes to delivering health care and conducting biomedical research.
Cautious approach warranted for new gene-editing techniqueby Paul KnoepflerThe Sacramento BeeFebruary 13th, 2016We urgently need a moratorium on using CRISPR technology on future people, and a full public debate while we learn more about its potential positive and negative effects.
Israeli Parents, Indian Surrogates, a Nepali Earthquake, and "Cheap White Eggs"by Diane Beeson, Biopolitical Times guest contributorFebruary 8th, 2016A recent Radiolab episode reveals rarely examined layers of complexity in the typically fairy-tale accounts of cross-border surrogacy.
We need to talk about egg freezingby Eva WisemanThe GuardianFebruary 7th, 2016It’s expensive, frustrating and can be traumatic. As more and more women make the choice to freeze their eggs, do they know exactly what they’re getting into?
Taking race out of human geneticsby Michael Yudell, Dorothy Roberts, Rob DeSalle & Sarah TishkoffScienceFebruary 5th, 2016"We believe the use of biological concepts of race in human genetic research—so disputed and so mired in confusion—is problematic at best and harmful at worst. It is time for biologists to find a better way."
Pentagon to Offer Plan to Store Eggs and Sperm to Retain Young Troopsby Michael S. SchmidtThe New York TimesFebruary 3rd, 2016A pilot program will pay for troops to have their gametes frozen, in an effort to make military service more appealing and family friendly.
DNA Got a Kid Kicked Out of School—And It’ll Happen Againby Sarah ZhangWiredFebruary 1st, 2016Genetic discrimination. Get used to those two words together. With DNA tests cheap and readily available, the potential for discrimination based on the results has gone way up.
‘No Más Bebés’: Documentary Highlights History of Forced Sterilizations in L.A.by Sonali KolkhatkarTruthDigJanuary 21st, 2016The film covers a grisly era of California history—the forced sterilization of untold numbers of poor, mostly Latino, Spanish-speaking women in the 1960s and 70s.
Why Morphological Freedom Is a Fantasy: Your Body Isn't Just Your Own[cites CGS]by Sarah SloatInverseJanuary 21st, 2016Transhumanists claim complete freedom to modify their bodies, but that absolutist stance could endanger future generations.
Could DTC Genome Testing Exacerbate Research Inequities?by Christine Aicardi, Maria Damjanovicova, Lorenzo Del Savio, Federica Lucivero, Maru Mormina, Maartje Niezen & Barbara PrainsackThe Hastings Center ReportJanuary 20th, 2016The expansion of 23andMe’s database as a resource for genetic science may aggravate existing biases in disease research, leading to impoverished knowledge and exacerbated inequalities.
Jordan Middle School, other schools now up for renamingby Elena KadvanyPalo Alto WeeklyJanuary 13th, 2016Middle school students and their parents are objecting to their school being named for Stanford University founding president David Starr Jordan, because of his involvement in the eugenics movement.
Hemophilia Patient or Drug Seller? Dual Role Creates Ethical Quandaryby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesJanuary 13th, 2016Drugs for hemophilia are so lucrative, drugmakers are hiring patients and their relatives to gain an inside track and access in selling their products.
Take an online DNA test and you could be revealing far more than you realiseby Andelka Phillips The ConversationJanuary 12th, 2016Consumers shouldn't rely on the terms of personal genomics companies' contracts to protect their privacy or rights.
Bay Area biologist's gene-editing kit lets do-it-yourselfers play God at the kitchen tableby Lisa M. KriegerContra Costa TimesJanuary 11th, 2016"I want to democratize science," says Josiah Zaynor, who builds inexpensive CRISPR kits to encourage non-scientists to learn genome editing skills.
I fathered 800 children, claims sperm donorby Natalie Morton & Sarah BellBBC NewsJanuary 11th, 2016An unlicensed UK sperm donor has been connecting with intended parents online for 16 years, donating once a week and charging $50 a pop.
Belgium's Top Ad Execs Are Donating Sperm and Eggs to Ensure the Nation's Creative Futureby Angela NatividadAdweekJanuary 8th, 2016The "vaguely eugenicist" campaign, called "Ad Babies," asks creative professionals to donate sperm and eggs.
The problem with science journalism: we’ve forgotten that reality matters mostby Brooke BorelThe GuardianDecember 30th, 2015It is the reporter's job to maintain skepticism, look beyond hypotheses and data, find conflicts of interest, trace the money, look at power structures, and see who is excluded or marginalized.
Screening sperm donors for autism? As an autistic person, I know that’s the road to eugenics[cites CGS]by Ari Ne'emanThe GuardianDecember 30th, 2015The London Sperm Bank and other clinics are using technology and making decisions to remove certain people from future generations.
Policing the ethics police: Research review boards face scrutiny as feds propose new rulesby Sabriya RiceModern HealthcareDecember 12th, 2015Critics say Institutional Review Boards are too lax, have unqualified members, are riddled with conflicts of interest, and are overwhelmed by the volume of studies they must review.
Livetweeting #GeneEditSummit: Democratized Debate or Segregated Conversations?by Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesDecember 10th, 2015Though #GeneEditSummit was trending on Twitter, inclusive public debate must be more robust than the livetweeting of insular stakeholder meetings.
Future proofingby Editorial BoardNatureDecember 8th, 2015Global discussions on human gene editing and climate change should not sidestep hard decisions on issues that will affect future generations.
What's in a name? Variations in terminology of third-party reproductionDecember 3rd, 2015Introducing some of the issues previously raised by scholars concerned with analysis of discourse related to third-party reproduction.
San Diego Blood Donors Get Free Genome Sequencingby David WagnerKPBSNovember 24th, 2015Illumina is asking 70 San Diego Blood Bank donors to consent to free sequencing to compile a DNA database for researchers working in the field of "precision" medicine.
F.D.A. Targets Inaccurate Medical Tests, Citing Dangers and Costsby Robert PearThe New York TimesNovember 23rd, 2015Inaccurate and unreliable medical tests are prompting abortions, unnecessary surgeries, putting tens of thousands of people on unneeded drugs and raising medical costs.
Putting a Price on Human Eggs Makes No Senseby Debora SparFortuneNovember 21st, 2015No one wants to deal with the ugly reality that egg donation is not donation at all, but a high price paid for a piece of one’s body.
F.D.A. Takes Issue With the Term ‘Non-G.M.O.’by Stephanie StromThe New York TimesNovember 20th, 2015"They’re conflating a very new and novel technology with traditional types of breeding...It’s like saying an abacus is very much like a computer."
New Rules Proposed to Address Privacy and Trust in the Precision Medicine Initiativeby Katayoun Chamany, Biopolitical Times guest contributorNovember 19th, 2015The US Precision Medicine Initiative's goal of a million sequenced genomes is helping to propel a revision to the Common Rule governing human subject research.
Move Over, Jony Ive — Biologists Are the Next Rock Star Designersby Liz StinsonWIREDNovember 18th, 2015A biotech startup that calls itself an "organism design foundry" and works with designers and artists is part of a US bioeconomy that already generates $350 billion annually.
End ‘stem cell tourism,’ experts urgeby Michael CookBioEdgeNovember 14th, 2015Stem cell scientists appear to have oversold their product. Now patients, tired of waiting for the cures they were promised, are seeking unproven stem cell-based treatments that are causing more harm than good.
[China] Couples in China making babies through assisted reproductionChina DailyNovember 14th, 2015Half of the 90 million Chinese women now allowed to have a second child are between the ages of 40 and 49, and many couples are turning to assisted reproduction clinics.
Why FBI and the Pentagon are afraid of gene drivesby Sharon BegleyStat NewsNovember 12th, 2015Officials from DARPA to the United Nations bioweapons office are concerned about the potential of “gene drives” to alter evolution in ways scientists can’t imagine.
23andMe Will Resume Giving Users Health Databy Andrew PollackThe New York TimesOctober 21st, 2015Two years after a forced hiatus from providing consumers with genetic health probabilities, the FDA has cleared 23andMe to provide carrier status and lactose intolerance tests.
Indigenous peoples must benefit from scienceby Dyna RochmyaningsihNature NewsOctober 20th, 2015The triple helix of science, the private sector, and government have driven the world’s economy since the Industrial Revolution, but to drive sustainable development, science must empower rural communities — not just serve industry and governments.
Expanding Notions of Discrimination: Genetic Information & Competitive Sportsby Craig KlugmanBioethics.netOctober 16th, 2015The International Olympic Committee has new hormonal guidelines to segregate athletes into two competitive sex categories.
Could Having Your DNA Tested Land You in Court?by Claire MaldarelliPopular ScienceOctober 16th, 2015Police in Idaho accused a man of an unsolved murder via partial DNA matching based on DNA records obtained from Ancestry.com.
American Surrogate Death: NOT the Firstby Mirah RibenHuffPost BlogOctober 15th, 2015Brooke Lee Brown's death "underscores the ethical problem with asking women to serve as surrogates for non-medical reasons." Is death simply an occupational hazard in the surrogacy industry?
Handheld DNA reader revolutionary and democratising, say scientistsby Ian SampleThe GuardianOctober 15th, 2015The $1,000 device is not designed to read human genomes, but it can quickly identify bacteria and viruses, and spot different gene variants in sections of human genetic code.
The CRISPR Germline Debate: Closed to the Public?by Elliot HosmanBiopolitical TimesOctober 15th, 2015Recent CRISPR media coverage focuses on hype rather than engaging the ethical and social implications of the groundbreaking technology—even as many call for public inclusion in the genome editing debate.
After Asilomarby EditorialNature NewsOctober 14th, 2015Scientist-led conferences are no longer the best way to resolve debates on controversial research, and scientists who wish to self-regulate ignore public outcry at their peril.
A Tale of Do-It-Yourself Gene Therapyby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewOctober 14th, 2015An American biotech CEO of BioViva claims she is the first to undergo gene therapy to reverse aging, participating in an experiment that intentionally avoided approval processes.
Forgotten Stories of the Eugenic Age #4, Part 2: The Black Stork Rises: Dr. Haiselden’s Celebrity and Public Controversyby Natalie OveyssiBiopolitical TimesOctober 14th, 2015After Baby Bollinger’s death under Dr. Haiselden’s care, letter-writers flooded newspapers with both praise and criticism. Haiselden went on to co-write and star in The Black Stork, a film celebrating eugenic medicine.
Ancestry.com is talking to the FDA about using DNA to estimate people's risk of diseaseby Arielle Duhaime-RossThe VergeOctober 12th, 2015After the FDA regulated 23andMe, another big player in the personal genomics business who has focused on genetic ancestry is looking to merge into providing lucrative health information.
Feminists, get ready: pregnancy and abortion are about to be disruptedby Eleanor RobertsonThe GuardianOctober 12th, 2015A clinical trial of uterine transplants will begin soon in the UK. Are artificial wombs on the horizon?
Video Review: Talking Biopolitics[cites CGS and CGS fellow Lisa Ikemoto]by Rebecca DimondBioNewsOctober 12th, 2015George Annas spoke with Lisa Ikemoto about his new book on genomic medicine and genetic testing.
Gene-edited 'micropigs' to be sold as pets at Chinese instituteby David CyranoskiNature NewsSeptember 29th, 2015Originally designed as models for testing expensive drugs in smaller quantities, the pigs are now being marketed as customizable pets.
Born that way? ‘Scientific’ racism is creeping back into our thinking. Here’s what to watch out for.by W. Carson Byrd & Matthew W. HugheyWashington PostSeptember 28th, 2015Recent studies show the media and white communities embracing the idea of racial genetic differences, twisting history and circumventing effective policy strategies.
Seeing Others: Is Racial Prejudice Innate or Learned?[Cites CGS's Osagie Obasogie]by Chelsea LeuCalifornia MagazineSeptember 24th, 2015UC Hastings professor and CGS Senior Fellow Osagie Obasogie explains that the way blind people understand race supports the idea that the perception of race is learned.
The Life of a Professional Guinea Pigby Cari RommThe AtlanticSeptember 23rd, 2015Phase 1 trials are almost always where the money is. Is paying vulnerable populations to participate in dangerous drug studies the equivalent of coercion?
Can knowing you and your family may get Alzheimer’s ever be positive?by Giulia RhodesThe GuardianSeptember 21st, 2015In the vast majority of cases, the cause of Alzheimer’s remains unclear, a complex interplay of environmental and genetic factors not yet fully understood.
CRISPR Democracy: Gene Editing and the Need for Inclusive Deliberationby J. Benjamin Hurlbut, Krishanu Saha, & Sheila JasanoffIssues in Science and TechnologySeptember 21st, 2015CRISPR raises basic questions about the rightful place of science in governing the future in democratic societies.
"Moonshot Medicine": Putative Precision vs. Messy Genomesby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 9th, 2015The promise is "personalized" genetic treatment plans; the reality is that most health disparities are environmental.
The Moral Imperative for Psychologistsby George Annas, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 9th, 2015Is Steven Pinker’s recent essay a hidden plea to save scientific research from the perversion of ethically unfettered technological progress?
Nepal Bans Surrogate Births — Worry for Gay Israelisby JTAThe ForwardAugust 27th, 2015Many gay Israelis now travel to Nepal for surrogacy because Israel bans surrogate pregnancies for same-sex couples.
Court: $50M verdict in Seattle-area ‘wrongful birth’ doesn't shock the conscienceby Levi PulkkinenSeattlePIAugust 26th, 2015A Washington appeals court upheld a $50 million verdict in favor of a couple whose son was born with severe birth defects that should have been spotted by genetic testing.
Biohackers Gear Up for Genome Editingby Heidi LedfordNature NewsAugust 26th, 2015DIY labs and synthetic biology "amateurs" are working with cheap and easy-to-use CRISPR gene-editing technology to create novel GM organisms, causing concerns about regulation and safety.
Alphabet/Google Isn’t Evil but Genetically Modifying Mosquitos Might Beby Mic WrightThe Next WebAugust 25th, 2015Recent biotech hype about using gene drive to reduce global malaria is best understood as a new chapter in humanity's historically poor record of forcibly changing ecosystems.
The Colonial Origins of Conservation: The Disturbing History Behind US National Parksby Stephen CorryTruthoutAugust 25th, 2015Environmental conservation that excludes tribal peoples has deep connections with historical eugenics.
[Video] Is It Worth Your Time and Money to Freeze Your Eggs?[Interview with CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by StaffBroadly [VICE]August 24th, 2015This report investigates the commercial promises of Egg Banxx "freezing parties" while following a patient through the process of egg retrieval.
How Beliefs in Biological Differences Can Undergird Racial and Policy Attitudesby Carson ByrdUSAPPAugust 24th, 2015A new study shows racial differences in beliefs about the influence of genes on certain traits can affect public support for policies aimed at mitigating racial inequality.
Rise of the Citizen Scientistby EditorialNatureAugust 18th, 2015From the oceans to the soil, technology is changing the part that amateurs can play in research. But this greater involvement raises concerns that must be addressed.
A BC Alum's New Site Links LGBT Couples With Egg Donors, Sperm Donors & Surrogatesby Rebecca StrongBostInnoJuly 13th, 2015Bird Meets Bee, an ART matchmaker website launching in October, would feature customizable user profiles and filter criteria such as "LGBT status, heritage, hair color, eye color, or height."
Eliminating Intersex Babies Is not a Legitimate Use of Genetic Embryo Testingby Celeste OrrThe GuardianJuly 11th, 2015Using preimplantation genetic diagnosis to select against embryos with culturally devalued bodies, like intersex people and people with disabilities, is simply a contemporary example of eugenics.
Who's Advising the Government on Human Genetics?by Alice MaynardBioNewsJune 29th, 2015A diversity of voices is needed to hold the UK government accountable, instead of relying upon experts to predict long-term consequences no one can accurately foresee.
CRISPR: Science Can't Solve itby Daniel SarewitzNature CommentJune 23rd, 2015Democratically weighing up the benefits and risks of gene editing and artificial intelligence is a political endeavour, not an academic one.
Building the Face of a Criminal From DNABBCJune 18th, 2015The face of a killer constructed from DNA left at the scene of a crime: it sounds like science fiction. But revealing the face of a criminal based on their genes may be closer than we think.
Down Syndrome Screening isn’t About Public Health. It’s About Eliminating a Group of People.by Renate LindemanWashington PostJune 16th, 2015Testing should be used to enhance health and human well-being instead of discriminating against people based on their genetic predisposition.
Taking Control of Our Genetic Information: Could it Go Too Far?by Karthika MuthukumaraswamyThe Huffington PostJune 16th, 2015Up until recently, those in the technology industry and those conducting genomic research would have been considered strange bedfellows. But big data - more specifically, big genomic data - is bringing the two groups together.
Retractions Coming Out From Under Science's Rugby Benedict CareyThe New York TimesJune 15th, 2015Scientists in fields as diverse as neurobiology, anesthesia and economics are debating how to reduce misconduct, without creating a police-state mentality that undermines creativity and collaboration.
Is DNA the Next Frontier in Privacy?by Nikhil SwaminathanAljazeera AmericaMay 11th, 2015The president has called for a million people to volunteer their DNA sequences, health records and sensor tracking data, but the government is mum on how it will protect their privacy.
The Blurred Lines of Genetic Data: Practicality, Pleasure and Policingby Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostMay 8th, 2015Shocking news from Idaho is a reminder that we don’t always control what happens with our data, and won’t always like it.
Can we Still Rely on DNA Sampling to Crack Crime?by Danny ShawBBC NewsMay 5th, 2015The new arrangements are so convoluted that even the man responsible for overseeing them has cast doubt as to whether they can work effectively and fairly.
DIY Bio-Engineering: Disrupting Democracyby Colleen CordesBiopolitical Times guest contributorMay 1st, 2015The Do-It-Yourself synthetic biology movement (or, DIY synbio) is not advocating "citizen science," let alone "democratizing science." It's not about science or democracy.
Hi-Tech DNA Machines Cause Concernby Oscar QuineThe IndependentApril 26th, 2015Police forces across the UK are testing technology that allows officers to analyse DNA samples in custody suites, amid fears that civil liberties could be infringed and evidence compromised.
Five Disturbing Things You Didn’t Know About Forensic “Science”by Jordan SmithThe InterceptApril 24th, 2015Last week, it was revealed that the FBI “overstated forensic matches in a way that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent” of the cases. And this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to flawed forensics.
Racial Health Disparities: It’s Inequality, Not Genesby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 23rd, 2015A review of genomic research on racial health disparities in heart disease finds it has made “little or no contribution to our understanding.” A new article in The Atlantic puts that in social, political, and historical context.
Public interest group calls for strengthening global policies against human germline modification[Press statement]April 22nd, 2015“No researcher has the moral warrant to flout the globally widespread policy agreement against altering the human germline.”
Panel discussion on the Ethical and Social Policy Considerations of Novel Techniques for Prevention of Maternal Transmission of Mitochondrial DNA Diseases (March/April 2015) [VIDEO][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]
Baby Genes to be Mapped at Birth in Medical Firstby Helen ThomsonNew ScientistApril 8th, 2015Could genome sequencing of newborns give valuable insight or do harm? That's the question US doctors are trying to answer in a pioneering trial starting this month.
Human Genetic Engineering Demands more than a Moratoriumby Sheila Jasanoff, J. Benjamin Hurlbut and Krishanu SahaThe GuardianApril 7th, 2015Expert calls for a moratorium on germline gene engineering are no substitute for richer public debate on the ethics and politics of our biotechnological futures.
165,000 Engagements End Due to ‘Genetic Incompatibilities’by Hussain Hazzazi and Ayman Al-SaidalaniSaudi GazetteMarch 24th, 2015In Saudi Arabia, health checkups are mandatory for engaged couples before they get married. The program aims to reduce the risk of having children with any blood or gastronomical diseases.
Public interest group condemns human germline modification efforts, supports research moratorium, calls for US prohibition[Press Statement]March 19th, 2015We're at a watershed moment in determining whether human genetic technologies will be used in the public interest and for the common good, or in ways that are dangerous and socially pernicious.
Universal Newborn Genome Sequencing and Generation Alphaby Ricki Lewis, Biopolitical Times guest contributorMarch 16th, 2015What might the future look like, as whole-genome sequencing of newborns ramps up?
California and your DNA: Is it a healthy relationship? by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 16th, 2015While every state across the country takes part in newborn screening, each state differs in how it handles the blood cards and the genetic information they hold. In California, those cards are stored indefinitely and potentially rented out for a broad array of uses.
The Many Ethical Implications of Emerging Technologies by Nayef Al-RodhanScientific AmericanMarch 13th, 2015Brainlike computer chips, smart pharmacology and other advances offer great promise but also raise serious questions that we must deal with now.
Virginia Votes Compensation for Victims of its Eugenic Sterilization Programby Jaydee Hanson, Biopolitical Times guest contributorMarch 5th, 2015Virginia’s eugenic sterilization law was revoked in 1979. It has taken 35 years for the state to decide to provide financial reparations for its victims, each of whom will receive $25,000.
State has DNA Databases from Cradle to Jailby Jeremy B. WhiteThe Sacramento BeeMarch 4th, 2015Soon after every baby in California is born, a hospital worker extracts and logs its genetic information. It will be tested for diseases and then stashed permanently in a warehouse containing a generation of Californians’ DNA.
Your DNA is Everywhere. Can the Police Analyze it?by David KravetsArs TechnicaFebruary 20th, 2015A human sheds as much as 100 pounds of DNA-containing material in a lifetime and about 30,000 skin cells an hour. Who owns that DNA is the latest privacy issue before the US Supreme Court.
Thailand Bans Commercial Surrogacy for ForeignersBBCFebruary 20th, 2015Under the new law, only married Thai couples or couples with one Thai partner who have been married at least three years can seek surrogacy.
A primer on DNA forensicsby Blair CrawfordOttawa CitizenFebruary 18th, 2015Improved technology and automation means DNA profiles can now be done in a matter of days and, in the future, the wait could be reduced to just hours. But DNA evidence is hardly infallible.
EFF to Supreme Court: The Fourth Amendment Covers DNA Collectionby Press ReleaseElectronic Frontier FoundationFebruary 18th, 2015People have a Fourth Amendment right to privacy when it comes to their genetic material, the Electronic Frontier Foundation argues in an amicus brief filed this week with the Supreme Court.
It's Illegal to Pay a Surrogate Mother in Canada. So What Would Motivate a Woman to do it? by Denise BalkissoonThe Globe and MailFebruary 12th, 2015They show a curious mix of altruism and omnipotence: These are women who give up their very bodies for complete strangers, but only after choosing a lucky few from the desperate hordes.
Poverty, Genetics and the White American Psycheby Tanya H. LeeIndian CountryFebruary 5th, 2015We have a history that exemplifies over and over again our contempt for other races and ethnicities based on the science of the day that interpreted them to be genetically inferior to whites.
Why There Is No Perfect Human In Puerto Rico or Anywhere Elseby Taras K. Oleksyk and Juan Carlos Martinez-CruzadoScientific AmericanFebruary 5th, 2015To criticize James Watson’s infamous positions on race, a computational biologist turned to human genome data for a tongue-in-cheek “thought experiment” to find the “perfect human.”
Big Precision Medicine Plan Raises Patient Privacy Concernsby Dina Fine MaronScientific AmericanFebruary 3rd, 2015Tailor-made medicine for patients around the U.S. is getting a boost from a $215-million presidential initiative, but the undertaking is fraught with concerns.
Blood Money: Is it Wrong to Pay Donors?by Judith HarveyThe GuardianJanuary 25th, 2015In some countries, people get paid for giving blood. And in the UK, one has to buy plasma. But is safety compromised when money changes hands?
Perils of Artificial Intelligenceby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 22nd, 2015The Future of Life Institute is calling for "research on how to make AI systems robust and beneficial," on the heels of several warnings about potential dire dangers.
'Designer Babies' Debate Should Start, Scientists Sayby James GallagherBBC NewsJanuary 18th, 2015New gene editing techniques make "designer babies" more feasible, but that does not mean it's inevitably the way we have to go as a society.
AI Has Arrived, and That Really Worries the World’s Brightest Mindsby Robert McMillanWiredJanuary 16th, 2015Artificial intelligence experts and other scientists warn that the "intelligence explosion" could spell doom for the human race.
Artificial Intelligence Experts Sign Open Letter to Protect Mankind From Machinesby Nick StattCNetJanuary 12th, 2015Artificial intelligence experts are working to stave off the worst when – not if – machines become smarter than people.
Taxpayers Spend $140 Billion Funding Science Each Year — But Can't Access Many of the Resultsby Julia BelluzVoxJanuary 10th, 2015Despite a decades-old "open access" movement to put research findings in the public domain instead of behind paywalls, the status quo is still firmly entrenched, especially when it comes to health research.
Two Neuroscientists Who Get It Rightby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 7th, 2015Two UC San Diego neuroscientists have created a “Roadmap to a New Neuroscience.” It is a status-quo-shifting kind of amazing.
State Courts Strike Blows to Criminal DNA Collection Laws in 2014—What to Look for in 2015by Jennifer LynchElectronic Frontier FoundationJanuary 5th, 2015The "slippery slope toward ever-expanding warrantless DNA testing" is already upon us. But recent state cases provide reason for hope.
Discovery, Guided by Moralityby John MarkoffThe New York TimesJanuary 5th, 2015A neuroscience lab ponders the purpose of its research.
Time for the Social SciencesNature EditorialDecember 30th, 2014Governments that want the natural sciences to deliver more for society need to show greater commitment towards the social sciences and humanities.
Geneticists Begin Tests of an Internet for DNAby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewDecember 17th, 2014Scientists are starting to open their DNA databases online, creating a network that could pave the way for gene analysis at a new scale.
Taking your Genome to the Bankby Harry GlorikianGenetic Engineering & Biotechnology NewsDecember 15th, 2014Your genome has huge implications for you and your children. Institutions that store it should be regulated on how they store it, use it, and potentially share it.
Sperm Donor, Life Partnerby Alana SemuelsThe AtlanticDecember 8th, 2014Just because women can create and raise a baby alone doesn't mean they want to. An increasing number of women and lesbian couples are seeking an involved father for a donor.
Help Children Based on Genes? ‘A Bad Use of Science’by Laura HercherThe New York TimesDecember 3rd, 2014The idea that we should sort children into groups based on genetics and then treat those groups differently is unsettling to many people, as well it should be.
Mandatory DNA Collection During Arrest is Unconstitutional, Court Saysby Maura DolanThe Los Angeles TimesDecember 3rd, 2014An appeals court decided unanimously that California’s practice of taking DNA from people arrested for felonies - though not necessarily convicted or even charged - violates the state constitution.
Stephen Hawking Warns Artificial Intelligence Could End Mankindby Rory Cellan-JonesBBCDecember 2nd, 2014Hawking says the primitive forms of AI developed so far have already proved very useful, but he fears the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans.
Controversial DNA Test Comes to UK[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Michelle Roberts and Paul RinconBBCDecember 2nd, 2014The UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency says the 23andMe spit test can be used with caution. But critics say it may not be accurate enough to base health decisions on.
US Government Cracks Down on Clinical-Trials Reportingby Sara ReardonNature NewsNovember 19th, 2014Proposed regulations would close loopholes that allow researchers to hide negative data.
The Case for a "New Biopolitics" [VIDEO][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]Marcy Darnovsky presents the case for a "New biopolitics" at the University of San Francisco's LASER Center speakers series (2014)
Breaking from our Eugenic Pastby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 13th, 2014As the victims of North Carolina's eugenics program finally receive compensation, we should not celebrate "the new eugenics" as some have argued, but learn carefully from this history.
There May Be No Such Thing As A 'Longevity Gene'by Will DunhamReutersNovember 12th, 2014The genomes of 17 people ages 110 to 116 were sequenced to try to determine whether they possess unique genetic traits. The study did not identify a common genetic characteristic in them.
FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancementby Jonathan ChernoguzBiopolitical TimesNovember 12th, 2014The documentary produced and directed by Regan Brashear is receiving a new round of well-deserved positive attention around the world.
Could Genomics Revive The Eugenics Movement?by Meredith SalisburyForbesNovember 8th, 2014There was a time when people in America were sterilized, sometimes unwittingly, by activists aiming to create a healthier, “better” population. As the progress of genomics accelerates, we need to remember the lessons of the past.
North Carolina Compensates Victims of Eugenic Sterilization[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Lily LouThe GuilfordianNovember 7th, 2014The drive behind these sterilizations was the eugenics movement: the pseudoscience of improving a society’s gene pool through reducing populations of people with negative traits.
‘Haunted Files': The Dark Side of Progressivismby Naomi Schaefer RileyNew York PostNovember 4th, 2014With funding from the Carnegie Institution and the Rockefeller Foundation, New York's Eugenics Records Office had the financial backing of the most important and “forward thinking” folks of the time.
Silicon Valley’s Egg-Freezing Perk Is Bad for People Across the Boardby Marcy DarnovskyRH Reality CheckOctober 23rd, 2014Egg freezing is an individualized, questionably effective technical fix for a fundamentally social problem.
Technology and Inequalityby David RotmanMIT Technology ReviewOctober 21st, 2014Profound wealth disparities in Silicon Valley highlight the "new world order" in which technological development exacerbates inequality instead of diminishing it.
Eugenics: The Academy's Complicityby Nathaniel Adam Tobias ColemanTimes Higher EducationOctober 9th, 2014The University of London will face up to its complicity in constructing unjust racial hierarchy, 110 years to the day that the university legitimised Francis Galton's research on eugenics.
Reproducing Raceby Dov FoxThe Huffington PostOctober 6th, 2014It is troubling for donor services to accentuate race in ways that invite parents to exclude wholesale from their consideration all donors of a particular race.
State to Send Out About 200 Eugenics Paymentsby Meghann EvansWinston-Salem JournalOctober 1st, 2014The first eugenics compensation payments are to be sent out by Oct. 31, and a second payment will be sent to victims next year.
The Troubling Persistence of Eugenicist Thought in Modern America by Michael Brendan DoughertyThe WeekSeptember 30th, 2014We no longer talk of "unfit" children, but we'll still destroy them in the name of quality of life.
California Bans Coerced Sterilization of Female Inmatesby Corey G. JohnsonCenter for Investigative ReportingSeptember 26th, 2014Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that protects prisoners in county jails, state prisons and other detention centers, after many abuses were uncovered.
An End to Sterilization Abuses in California Prisonsby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 26th, 2014The signing of SB 1135 into California law by Gov. Jerry Brown is an important victory in the fight for the remembrance of our state's eugenic history and its ongoing implications.
Experts Provide Much-Needed Policy Analysis for Clinical Integration of Next Generation Sequencing by Glenna PictonBaylor College of Medicine NewsSeptember 22nd, 2014As genetic sequencing becomes part of clinical care, there is a critical need to establish appropriate policies and regulatory frameworks to address potential challenges.
If We Create Life, Who Will Control It?by Marcelo GleiserNPRSeptember 17th, 2014It is the world of the future, and we must have some control over where it's going. But how?
Defending Human Dignityby Michael CookBioEdgeSeptember 13th, 2014Charles Foster has penned defence of “human dignity” as the foundation of bioethics in the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics.
A Manifesto for Playing God with Human Evolutionby Carl ElliottNew ScientistSeptember 8th, 2014Fancy living forever, or uploading your mind to the net? The Proactionary Imperative embraces transhumanist dreams, but reminds why we need medical ethics.
Our State's Eugenics Victims Deserve BetterThe Times NewsSeptember 1st, 2014Elnora Mills was one of an estimated 7,600 North Carolinians who were sterilized against their will between 1929 and 1974, when the forced eugenics program at last was brought to an end.
"We're All One of Troy's Babies": A Celebration of Troy Dusterby Victoria Massie, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 21st, 2014On Friday, August 15th, I was one among a multitude of people finding a seat in Booth Auditorium at UC Berkeley Law School for the event “Celebrating Troy Duster.”
California Bill Would Let Birth Certificates Reflect Same-Sex Parentsby Mary PapenfussReutersAugust 20th, 2014The bill, which now goes to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, would allow parents to identify themselves as father, mother or parent when a child is born.
Troy Duster’s Garden of Plugged-In Scholarship, and How it Grewby Barry BergmanNewsCenterAugust 20th, 2014An overview of the CGS co-sponsored event to honor Troy Duster's landmark works on the racial implications of drug policies and genetic research, his role as adviser and friend, and his fierce activism.
Gender-Biased Sex Selection an Extreme Form and Manifestation of Gender Discrimination and Inequality Against Women, Say UN Women and UNFPAUN WomenAugust 18th, 2014The sharply declining child sex ratio in India has reached emergency proportions and urgent action must be taken to alleviate this crisis.
Australia Could Recognise Multiple Parentsby Michael CookBioEdgeAugust 16th, 2014Adoption and new reproductive technologies are placing new strains on what “parent” means in contemporary society.
Career Women are Having ‘Egg-Freezing’ Partiesby Jane RidleyNew York PostAugust 13th, 2014Dubbed “Let’s Chill,” a first-of-its-kind “egg-freezing party” was sponsored by a company called EggBanxx, which is cutting the cost of egg freezing and marketing it to young go-getters.
Questions Raised Over DNA Evidence to Secure Murder Convictionsby Candice MarcusABCAugust 13th, 2014A High Court ruling that DNA evidence was not enough to convict a man of murder could have wider implications on DNA convictions across Australia.
New CRG Report: Genetic Privacy and Non-Forensic BiobanksCouncil for Responsible GeneticsAugust 12th, 2014Do You Know Where Your DNA Is? Genetic Privacy and Non-Forensic Biobanks explores the various forms of biobanks in the US, their privacy limitations, the current state of regulation and the need for reform.
Will my Disabled Daughter have a Place in this Genetic Wonderland?by Ian BirrellThe GuardianAugust 7th, 2014Until society gets to grips with prejudice we cannot start to grapple with the profound questions that medical advances raise.
Tuskegee, Todayby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesAugust 7th, 2014Last week marked the 42nd anniversary of the Tuskegee syphilis study and many people took the opportunity to examine its relevance to the treatment of human research subjects today.
Banks of Blood and Spermby Rebecca J. RosenThe AtlanticJuly 31st, 2014Banking on the Body investigates how the idea of a "bank" shapes the way we think about storing and distributing blood, sperm, and breast milk.
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.
Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New Worldsby Jessica CussinsNovember 7th, 2013The public symposium Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New Worlds, held on November 1 at San Francisco State University, provided a rare and important opportunity to engage with the history and ongoing implications of eugenic ideologies and practices for people with disabilities.
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.
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