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About Public Opinion & Human Biotechnology


Observers often ask, "Where does the public stand on human biotechnology? How do people feel?"

These important questions present challenges for pollsters. Most of the technologies in question are new and often poorly understood. They engage deeply held values, but there is not yet a well-developed vocabulary for their deliberation.

Polls tend to show that public sentiment about human biotechnologies is strongly ambivalent. Most people value their potential to alleviate suffering, yet are apprehensive about the social consequences of some applications.

Views on human biotechnology are strongly shaped by cultural experiences. For example, in the United States, many people focus on the moral status of the embryo, mirroring the abortion debates of recent decades. In contrast, Germans are more likely to interpret powerful biotechnologies though their country's experience with the Holocaust.

One of the most consistent findings of opinion studies is that respondents' answers depend heavily on how questions are worded. For example, two separate surveys in the United States taken one month apart showed contradictory results: one found that 70% supported human embryonic stem cell research while the other found that 70% opposed it. Reading the questions reveals why: The study sponsored by a research advocacy group emphasized the potential for cures, whereas the one sponsored by opponents of abortion rights dwelled on destroying embryos. Thus, survey results must be carefully evaluated and put in an appropriate context.



Written evidence for the Genomics and Genome-Editing Inquiry of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee[cites CGS]by Edward Hockings and Lewis CoyneEthics and GeneticsJanuary 20th, 2017UK’s bioscience policy has been framed in terms of commercial value at the expense of substantive public consultation and broader deliberation.
Rewriting the Code of Lifeby Michael SpecterNew YorkerJanuary 2nd, 2017Combining gene drive and CRISPR/Cas9 technologies, Kevin Esvelt is in an unusual position. There has never been a more powerful biological tool, or one with more potential to both improve the world and endanger it.
With 21st Century Cures Act, the Future of Regenerative Medicine Is “Inject and See”by Megan MoltenWiredDecember 13th, 2016Critics say it’s deregulation in sheep’s clothing — and worry that both science and patients will suffer.
Why the hype around medical genetics is a public enemyby Nathaniel ComfortAeonDecember 12th, 2016The progress of science is the steady realisation of how little we actually know. The more we, the public, understand that, the more we will see through the hype.
NY senator from LI introduces ‘familial DNA’ legislationby Chau LamNewsdayDecember 9th, 2016Critics of familial DNA searches point to high rates of false positives, invasion of privacy, and racial disparities.
New ​Chair of ​our ​Diversity ​and​ Health Disparities​ Research Cluster​ on Colorblindness and the Need for a New Biopoliticsby Sara GrossmanHaas Institute, UC BerkeleyDecember 2nd, 2016In a faculty profile interview, CGS Fellow Osagie Obasogie discusses colorblindness and biopolitics.
Human Gene Editing: A Timeline of CRISPR Cover StoriesWith recent gene editing tools, a number of high-profile media are featuring CRISPR on their covers and front pages. We gather highlights since early 2015, along with opinion polls, TV shows, and editorial board statements.
'No solid evidence' for IVF add-on successby Deborah CohenBBC PanoramaNovember 28th, 2016A year-long study finds that nearly all costly add-on treatments offered by UK fertility clinics are unreliable, misleading, and risky.
Should We Rewrite the Human Genome?by Alex HardingXconomyNovember 28th, 2016Critics worry that a synthetic human genome could be used in unethical ways. Unlike for clinical trials, there is no regulatory body for basic science research.
Why the Deaf Community Fears President Trumpby Sara NovicVICENovember 18th, 2016According to his biographer, Trump subscribes to a racehorse theory of human development and the superiority of certain genes — an echo of eugenics.
The Sudden, Inevitable Rewiring of the American Leftby Andrew BurmonInverseNovember 18th, 2016It's not clear which direction the Trump administration will be pushed by conservative evangelicals like Mike Pence and technophile wildcards like Peter Thiel.
Palo Alto committee debates whether Jordan school should keep its eugenicist namesakeby Jacqueline LeeSan Jose Mercury NewsNovember 17th, 2016David Starr Jordan, Stanford University’s first president, believed the human race could be improved through selective reproduction, including forced sterilization.
With Fertility Rate in China Low, Some Press to Legalize Births Outside Marriageby Didi Kirsten TatlowThe New York TimesNovember 17th, 2016Civil society groups are calling for greater reproductive freedom for single women, which would also affect lesbians.
Abortion-By-Mail Study Outrages Opponentsby Phil GalewitzKQED California HealthlineNovember 16th, 2016A pilot study of telemedicine-based medical abortion demonstrates a welcome new option for women. Opponents of abortion find the concept deeply disturbing.
Seeding Doubt: How Self-Appointed Guardians of “Sound Science” Tip the Scales Toward Industryby Liza GrossThe InterceptNovember 15th, 2016Sense About Science has downplayed concerns about industry-funded research and promoted science that favors private interests over public health.
Sorry, that DNA test doesn't make you indigenousby The 180 with Jim BrownCBC RadioNovember 6th, 2016Belonging to a particular community can mean sharing beliefs, cultural practice, even official citizenship. But it's not decided by genetic material.
Germany's sperm bank plans leakedby Ben KnightDeutsche WelleNovember 3rd, 2016The German government is making good on its promise to the children of sperm donors by setting up a central database to make it easier for them to find their biological fathers.
Obama Brought Silicon Valley to Washingtonby Jenna WorthamThe New York TimesOctober 25th, 2016The White House South by South Lawn festival presented the U.S. as a start-up of dreamers and inventors looking to "fix" social problems with tech.
Dangers of an Unscientific Policy Process:
Why the UK’s legalization of “three-person babies” should not be the model for CRISPR
by Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times guest contributorOctober 25th, 2016The UK’s consideration of the science and public support for “mitochondrial replacement” may seem robust on its surface, but when it comes to CRISPR germline genome editing policy, we can and must do better.
DNA Dragnet: In Some Cities, Police Go From Stop-and-Frisk to Stop-and-Spitby Lauren KirchnerProPublicaSeptember 12th, 2016Private police DNA databases are multiplying, and are subject to no state or federal regulation or oversight.
Accessible Synthetic Biology Raises New Concerns for DIY Biological Warfareby Joseph NeighborVICE MotherboardAugust 23rd, 2016The monopoly on biology once held by governments and universities has been broken, posing significant challenges for the international community.
To Err is Biotechnological: Reflections on Pew’s Human Enhancement Surveyby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 9th, 2016Biotechnologies aimed at human enhancement come with a guaranteed set of deficits, inadequacies, inconveniences, and risks.
What Ever Happened to Cloning?[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Kimberly LeonardUS News & World ReportAugust 4th, 2016Twenty years since Dolly, the field of cloning remains highly inefficient for animals and too unethical to attempt with humans.
Human Enhancement Freaks People Out, Study Finds; Designer Babies Might 'Meddle With Nature'by Ed CaraMedical DailyJuly 26th, 2016Survey reveals more wariness than excitement for genetic technologies that would 'enhance' people.
Hateful politics infiltrate human genome editing debate in Franceby Elliot HosmanJune 29th, 2016New campaign calling for an international moratorium on CRISPR embryos experiments launched by prominent anti-abortion, anti-LGBT French group.
A book about the superiority of mixed-race people is going into a second printing, and the internet is pissedby Charles Pulliam-MooreFusionMay 24th, 2016Breeding Between the Lines relies on eugenic ideas to assert that mixed-race people are more attractive and healthy.
What the man in the street thinks about human enhancement[citing CGS consultant Pete Shanks]by Michael CookBioEdgeMay 7th, 2016Polls show that more than 80% of people surveyed thought babies should not be genetically modified for increased intelligence or sporting ability.
Public Opposes Human Germline “Enhancement” by Overwhelming Majorityby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 5th, 2016New polls confirm that the public remains opposed to "enhancement" and is still not convinced about other proposed genetic interventions.
With CRISPR in Humans On the Horizon, Will the Public Back Intellia?by Alex LashXconomyApril 29th, 2016Intellia and Editas both lack what so many biotech investors crave: data from human clinical trials. As they race to the clinic, it's hard to tell if either company will pay off.
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 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.
STAT-Harvard poll: Americans say no to ‘designer babies’by Sharon BegleySTATFebruary 11th, 2016Most Americans oppose using powerful new technology to "alter the genes of unborn babies," according to a new poll, even to prevent serious inherited diseases.
Down's Syndrome people risk 'extinction' at the hands of science, fear and ignoranceby Tim StanleyThe TelegraphJanuary 18th, 2016The true moral test of a society is not how pretty, sober or well organised it is – but how it treats its most vulnerable, even its most difficult, citizens.
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.
Mexican State Votes to Ban Surrogacy for Gay Men and Foreign People by Associated Press in Mexico CityThe Guardian [UK]December 15th, 2015Tabasco was the only Mexican state to allow surrogacy, supposedly on a non-commercial basis.
Stem Cell Researcher to Reddit: "Ask Me Anything" on Human Genetic Modificationby Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesDecember 10th, 2015UC Davis researcher Paul Knoepfler fielded 100s of questions on the social and technical implications of genetically modifying human cells.
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.
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.
The Messy, Complicated Nature of Assisted Reproductive Technology[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by J. Wesley JuddPacific StandardSeptember 28th, 2015A California court ART case shows that even when there is a contract, the issues are far from black and white.
Giant study poses DNA data-sharing dilemmaby Sara ReardonNature NewsSeptember 1st, 2015As the US Precision Medicine Initiative pushes forward, whether to provide sequenced genetic information to biobank donors is an unresolved question of ethics, privacy, and medical utility.
The Facts Behind #CRISPRfacts and the Hype Behind CRISPRby Jonathan ChernoguzBiopolitical TimesJuly 28th, 2015WIRED's hyped CRISPR cover article triggered a wave of tweets and criticism.
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: NAS and NAM Initiative on Human Gene Editingby AnnouncementCommittee On Science, Technology, and LawJune 24th, 2015The National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine are launching a major initiative to guide decision making about controversial new research involving human gene editing.
CRISPR: Move Beyond Differencesby Charis ThompsonNatureJune 24th, 2015Researchers and ethicists need to see past what can seem to be gendered debates when it comes to the governance of biotechnology.
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.
A Community Bio-Tech Lab Offers a Crash Course in Designing Life — Open to the Publicby Adam WernickPRIJune 5th, 2015Genspace, in downtown Brooklyn, is the world's first "community bio-lab." It offers a three-class crash course in synthetic biology to anyone who is interested.
CIRM Pursues “Prudent Path” Forward with Genome Editing Technologiesby Jonathan ThomasThe Stem CellarJune 1st, 2015CIRM Board Chair Jonathan Thomas will convene a public workshop on genome editing technologies this November.
The Lessons of Asilomar for Today’s Scienceby Alexander CapronThe New York TimesMay 28th, 2015Attempts to use new gene editing techniques to "improve" our descendants raises profound ethical and social issues, and a group dominated by scientists is too self-interested and unrepresentative to take them on.
Innovation and Equity in an Age of Gene Editingby Charis Thompson, Ruha Benjamin, Jessica Cussins and Marcy DarnovskyThe GuardianMay 19th, 2015As experts gather in Atlanta to discuss the rights and wrongs of editing human genomes, four of the attendees explain why it is vital to put social justice at the heart of the debate.
Science is Often Flawed. It's Time we Embraced That.by Julia Belluz and Steven HoffmanVoxMay 13th, 2015That science can fail shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. It's a human construct, after all. And if we simply accepted that science often works imperfectly, we'd be better off.
Overcoming Bias: Why Not?by Ari N. SchulmanThe New AtlantisMay 7th, 2015Some of the most prominent of the "new rationalists" are also spokesmen of transhumanism.
Stopping or Selling Human Germline Modification?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMay 7th, 2015Debate about human germline engineering has taken off since publication of a paper describing failed attempts to genetically modify a human embryo.
Ethics of Embryo Editing Paper Divides Scientists[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Sara ReardonNature NewsApril 24th, 2015In March, rumours of the work prompted calls for a moratorium on such research. “No researcher has the moral warrant to flout the globally widespread policy agreement against altering the human germline.”
Seeking Your Input: Survey on Egg Retrievalby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorApril 22nd, 2015We are surveying women’s knowledge and attitudes toward egg retrieval to yield critical insights into how best to frame health information intended to enable women to make informed choices.
Calling for “More than a Moratorium” on Human Germline Modificationby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 9th, 2015A broader array of critical responses and policy suggestions follows recent reports that the gene-editing technique CRISPR has been used to genetically modify human sperm, eggs or embryos.
New Study: Stem Cell Field is Infected with Hypeby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesMarch 31st, 2015Stem cell researchers often ply journalists with "unrealistic timelines" for the development of stem cell therapies, and journalists often swallow these claims uncritically.
Gene Counsellors Expect Resurgence of 'Jolie Effect'by Erika Check HaydenNatureMarch 26th, 2015Misinterpreted results of tests for cancer risk can result in unnecessary surgery.
This is Why you Shouldn’t Believe that Exciting New Medical Studyby Julia BelluzVoxMarch 23rd, 2015All studies are biased and flawed in their own unique ways. The truth usually lies somewhere in a flurry of research on the same question.
A Modern Woman's Burden[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Natalie LampertNew RepublicMarch 20th, 2015How much does egg-freezing technology help delay reproduction?
Scientists Urge Temporary Moratorium On Human Genome Editsby Rob SteinNPRMarch 20th, 2015Leading biologists and bioethicists are calling for a worldwide moratorium.
How Identity Evolves in the Age of Genetic Imperialismby Eleonore Pauwels and Jim DratwaScientific AmericanMarch 13th, 2015The Silicon Valley brand of genetic determinism tells us there is a gene-hack to solve every “problem” — that DNA is just a code to personalize at will.
The Price Of Hype: The Public Now Has Unrealistic Timelines For Scienceby Hank CampbellScience 2.0March 11th, 2015Today, people think stem cell therapies already exist. It's not science journalists and bloggers framing this for political gain. The culprits are scientists playing up their research.
Surrogate Mothers in India Unaware of Risksby Frederik JoelvingReutersMarch 2nd, 2015Renting out their wombs may ease financial problems for poor women in India, but new research suggests surrogate mothers there are unaware of the risks and often left out of key medical decisions about their pregnancy.
Good Eggs, Bad Sperm and Terrible Journalismby Kirsty OswaldBioNewsMarch 2nd, 2015By repackaging the findings to appeal to the mainstream press, the true relevance of this research has been overlooked.
Institute of Medicine to Study the Social Policy and Ethics of “3-Person IVF”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 22nd, 2015The FDA held a public meeting last year to assess the safety and efficacy of nuclear genome transfer for the prevention of transmission of mitochondrial diseases. Now it has asked the Institute of Medicine to consider the social and ethical issues.
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.
Pharmacogenomics and the Biology of Raceby Myles JacksonThe Huffington PostJanuary 5th, 2015Why is race the privileged category used by biomedical researchers in understanding human diversity?
The NFL Has a Problem with Stem Cell Treatmentsby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewDecember 10th, 2014Professional athletes are getting injections of stem cells to speed up recovery from injury. Critics call it a high-tech placebo.
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.
Human Germline Modification in the UK? Cries of Caution from all Cornersby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 13th, 201475% of submissions about three-person IVF to the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee warn that more evidence is needed prior to offering these techniques.
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.
What Neuro-revolution? The Public Find Brain Science Irrelevant and Anxiety-Provokingby Christian JarrettWiredNovember 5th, 2014There have been huge investments in brain science by the USA and Europe, but new research suggests neuroscience has yet to make an impact on most people’s everyday lives.
Open-Source DNAby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesOctober 31st, 2014Who are the players to watch in the growing trend to “free” our genetic data, and what does it mean to participate?
Frozen II : The Tech Industry’s Eggs[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]The Weekly WonkOctober 16th, 2014A group of experts react to the news that Apple and Facebook will pay for female employees to freeze their eggs.
Stem Cell Treatments Surging Into Clinicby Bradley J. FikesUT San DiegoOctober 7th, 2014How the government, insurers and patients would pay for very expensive new stem cell therapies drew the attention of more than 700 biomedical and health-care executives at the 2014 Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa.
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.
The Collapse of a Dangerous Analogy: Or, why mitochondria are much more than batteries by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 29th, 2014Amid a flood of new evidence that mitochondria impact an individual’s traits, the editors at New Scientist have made a “U-turn” on “three-parent babies.” Their new conclusion: “It’s more messy than we thought.”
Women Better Informed About Prenatal Genetic Testing Choose Fewer TestsNews MedicalSeptember 25th, 2014A clinical trial led by UC San Francisco has found that when pregnant women are educated about their choices on prenatal genetic testing, the number of tests actually drops.
The Story of 10 Couples Who Fought Costa Rica’s Ban on in Vitro Fertilizationby Johanna TorresThe Costarican Times [Costa Rica]September 21st, 2014A new documentary tells the story of ten couples in Costa Rica who sued their government after it banned IVF.
Is Modern Technology Killing Us?by Erica EtelsonTruthoutSeptember 19th, 2014"Science now makes all things possible...but it does not thereby make all possible things desirable." - Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine
MacArthur Grant Sheds Light on Reproductive Technologies[References CGS]by Elayne CliftSentinel SourceSeptember 18th, 2014Thanks to a recent MacArthur Foundation grant to the Center for Genetics and Society and Our Bodies Ourselves, the information gap surrounding surrogacy and other assisted reproductive technologies will be addressed.
The Stupidity of the “Smart Gene”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 17th, 2014Now that “one of the largest, most rigorous genetic studies of human cognition” has effectively turned up "nothing," can we finally put the notion of “smart genes” behind us?
Arizona GOP Official Resigns After Controversial Commentsby Sean SullivanWashington PostSeptember 15th, 2014Russell Pearce is out after controversial comments about contraception, sterilization and Medicaid.
New Poll Finds Only 18% of British Adults in Support of "3-Person IVF"by Jessica CussinsBiopolitcal TimesSeptember 15th, 2014A newly released poll finds substantial public reluctance to change UK law to allow the genetic modification of future generations.
From “the Dangerous Womb” to a More Complex Realityby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesAugust 21st, 2014Heightened attention to epigenetics, while important, also carries the danger of being used to place undue blame on pregnant women. A special issue in Science on parenting provides a more complex overview of parental and societal influence.
Microbiology: Microbiome Science Needs a Healthy Dose of Scepticismby William P. HanageNatureAugust 20th, 2014To guard against hype, those interpreting research on the body's microscopic communities should ask five questions.
Cancer and the Secrets of Your Genesby Theodora RossThe New York TimesAugust 16th, 2014The recent discovery that mutations in a gene called PALB2 greatly increase the risk of breast cancer is one of the biggest developments since the discovery in the ’90s of the role of mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
Society: Don't Blame the Mothersby Sarah S. Richardson, Cynthia R. Daniels, Matthew W. Gillman, Janet Golden, Rebecca Kukla, Christopher Kuzawa & Janet Rich-EdwardsNatureAugust 13th, 2014There is a long history of blaming mothers for the ill health of their children. The latest wave in this discussion flows from studies of epigenetics.
Biologists Choose Sides In Safety Debate Over Lab-Made Pathogensby Nell GreenfieldBoyceNPRAugust 13th, 2014A smoldering debate about whether researchers should ever deliberately create superflu strains and other risky germs in the interest of science has flared once again.
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.
As Data Overflows Online, Researchers Grapple With Ethicsby Vindu GoelThe New York TimesAugust 12th, 2014It’s the frontier of social science — experiments on people who may never even know they are subjects of study, let alone explicitly consent.
Over-Optimistic Portrayal of Life-Supporting Treatments in Newspapers and Internetby Thaddeus PopeMedical Futility BlogAugust 9th, 2014Newspapers and the Internet have the potential to influence patients' knowledge and attitudes toward medical decision-making by providing over-optimistic medical information.
Geneticists Say Popular Book Misrepresents Research on Human Evolutionby Ewen CallawayNature NewsAugust 8th, 2014More than 130 leading population geneticists have condemned a book arguing that genetic variation between human populations could underlie global economic, political and social differences.
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.
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?
A Paragraph in Slow Motion: Three-Person IVF in The New York Timesby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJuly 10th, 2014A close look at the rhetoric used to justify experimental technologies, and particularly at the way reasonable objections are dismissed.
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.
Selling the Next False Hope? How Experimental IVF Techniques Could be Legalized Despite Increasing Evidence of Potential Harmby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 24th, 2014Contrary to official reports, new evidence shows that “3-person IVF” could pose serious risks to women and children. So why are we being told that it’s a “not unsafe” option?
Forensic Science Isn’t Scienceby Mark Joseph SternSlateJune 11th, 2014Far from an infallible science, forensics is a decades-long experiment in which undertrained lab workers jettison the scientific method in favor of speedy results that fit prosecutors’ hunches.
Do Genes Matter? Families Under the Microscopeby Petra NordqvistBioNewsJune 2nd, 2014How do genes and genetic relationships actually matter in the messy and complex world of everyday life? These questions were addressed at the event 'Do genes matter? Donor conception and family life.'
Scientists Hoping to Ease Interpretation of the DNA ‘Book of Life’by Carolyn Y. JohnsonThe Boston GlobeMay 19th, 2014The public tends to see DNA as holding almost-mystical power, but in reality, interpreting a healthy person’s DNA with the current tools and understanding of human genetics is tricky.
Your Genes Are Obsoleteby Michael WhitePacific StandardMay 2nd, 2014Giving a physical meaning to the concept of a gene was a triumph of 20th-century biology, but as it turns out, this scientific success hasn’t solved the problems we hoped it would.
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.
Doubts Over Heart Stem-Cell Therapyby Alison AbbottNatureApril 29th, 2014An analysis of clinical studies that use adult stem cells to treat heart disease has raised questions about the value of a therapy that many consider inappropriately hyped.
Science’s Shameful Secretby Victoria ParsonsMediumApril 28th, 2014Scientific research drives society forwards. We pay for it with our taxes and it is the gateway for our tomorrows, but there are problems at every step in the way science verifies itself.
Science Media Centre Spins Pro-GMO Lineby Rebekah WilcePR WatchApril 28th, 2014Though the Science Media Centre calls itself an independent media briefing center, many question its independence from GMO corporations. Now it's headed to the United States.
Why it’s Time to Ditch the Word ‘Revolution’ in Techby Alice BellBBCApril 28th, 2014If there is an idea associated with technology that needs to be ditched, it's that we are, or will be, witnessing a ‘revolution’.
Infertility, Endured Through a Prism of Raceby Tanzina VegaThe New York TimesApril 25th, 2014Black women may face infertility more often than white women but are less likely to seek medical help, and their struggles are compounded by cultural issues.
DNA Day Hypeby Nathaniel ComfortGenotopiaApril 25th, 2014To celebrate DNA Day, the genetic testing company 23andMe posted a DNA Day infographic that is a marvelous inadvertent evidence of genetic oversell.
Majority of UK Women Oppose Legalizing the Creation of "3-Person Embryos"by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 19th, 2014A just-completed poll has found that the UK public is deeply conflicted about the government's move to legalize the creation of "3-person embryos."
New Polling Raises Public Safety Concerns About Three Parent Children Proposalsby Press ReleaseCareMarch 13th, 2014A new opinion poll supports the concern that the Government is rushing ahead with its plans to allow the creation of 3-parent children without public support or the necessary safety tests.
The Technologists' Siren Songby W. Patrick McCrayThe Chronicle of Higher EducationMarch 10th, 2014The prevailing belief of technologists is that technology is the solution to all problems. It is a view especially attractive to those best positioned to reap the benefits of innovation and avoid its unattractive consequences.
FDA Halts 23andMe Personal Genetic Testsby Marcy Darnovsky and Jessica CussinsMedical Laboratory ObserverMarch 10th, 2014After a series of setbacks, what will the future hold for direct-to-consumer genetic testing?
Efforts to Repeat Controversial Stem Cell Technique Intensifyby Carolyn Y. JohnsonThe Boston GlobeMarch 6th, 2014In an effort to bring clarity to one of the most controversial and confusing scientific findings in recent memory, three Japanese scientists have released a detailed protocol explaining step by step how to create stem cells with a simple acid bath.
UK Opens Public Consultation on Draft Regulations to Permit “Three-Person Embryos”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 6th, 2014The UK Department of Health has released draft regulations and begun a three-month public consultation for what it terms “mitochondrial donation.”
Litany of Unknowns Surface at FDA Meeting on Germline Mitochondrial Techniquesby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 6th, 2014An FDA committee held a historic public meeting last week to discuss the scientific, technologic, and clinical issues related to experimental procedures that would alter the human germline.
Canadian Fashion Mogul Nygard Puts his Faith in Stem-Cell Science by Patrick WhiteThe Globe and MailFebruary 28th, 2014The 70-year-old founder of the Nygard fashion empire has turned his focus away from running the business and toward searching for everlasting life through stem-cell science.
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.
Opinions about scientific advances blur party-political linesby Matthew Nisbet and Ezra MarkowitzThe ConversationFebruary 19th, 2014We analysed a series of surveys to better understand what the US public thinks about stem cell research and how they formed these opinions, and were able to distinguish between the different factors influencing their beliefs.
Letter Signed by Hundreds Sent to the FDA: Preserve the global consensus against human germline modificationby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesFebruary 19th, 2014A sign-on letter prepared by the Center for Genetics and Society and the International Center for Technology Assessment has been sent to the FDA in anticipation of next week's discussion of a form of human germline modification.
In a Pickle Over STAP Stem Cells: Top 5 Reasons for Skepticismby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogFebruary 6th, 2014Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and independent replication. STAP stem cells aren’t there…at least not yet.
Americans Still Oppose "Playing God" with Geneticsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesFebruary 6th, 2014Public disapproval of inheritable genetic modification and attempts to revive extinct species is as strong as ever.
Review: The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Reality of the Biological Clock by Amy Richards, Biopolitical Times guest contributorFebruary 4th, 2014A generational wake-up call directed to those raised to think that medical breakthroughs are always in humanity’s best interest.
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.
Animal and Pet Cloning Opinion Pollsby CGS StaffFebruary 4th, 2014Americans strongly disapprove of pet cloning, and oppose animal cloning in general.
CGS Summary of Public Opinion Pollsby CGS StaffFebruary 4th, 2014This page offers comparisons of survey results for three technologies: reproductive cloning, research cloning, and inheritable genetic modification.
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.
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.
Genetic Determinism: Why we Never Learn — And Why it Mattersby Nathaniel ComfortGenotopiaJanuary 29th, 2014Studying the history of genetics and popularization has led me to the surprising conclusion that genetic oversell is independent of genetic knowledge. We see the same sorts of articles in 2014 as we saw in 1914.
Whistle-Blower Breaks his Silenceby David CyranoskiNatureJanuary 28th, 2014A South Korean researcher reveals the fallout he faced after his tip-offs about cloning fraudster Woo Suk Hwang.
How FDA and 23andMe Dance Around Evidence That Is Not Thereby Cecile JanssensHuffington PostJanuary 27th, 2014Almost all former direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies have closed up shop. In the wake of criticism from all sides will 23andMe be next?
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.
Leaked Files Slam Stem-Cell Therapyby Alison AbbottNatureJanuary 7th, 2014Disclosures and resignations reveal scientific concerns over stem cell treatments conducted by Italy’s Stamina Foundation.
Doctors' Group Sounds Warning on Freezing Eggs to Buy Time on Your Biological Clockby Sarah Elizabeth RichardsNBC NewsDecember 23rd, 2013Thinking about freezing your eggs to buy yourself a few more baby-making years? Not so fast, says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
How Many Donor Offspring are Really Out There?by Wendy KramerMediumDecember 23rd, 2013The media and the reproductive industry’s "experts" should not be using patently erroneous figures. There is no reliable method of assessing how many children are conceived via gamete donation each year.
Past Sperm and Egg Donors Split on Losing Anonymityby Shereen JegtvigReutersDecember 20th, 2013A recent study in Australia found that donors were split on the idea of possible contact from their donor children.
New Ways to Engineer the Germlineby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesDecember 18th, 2013A look at a number of emerging techniques that could compromise the international consensus against human inheritable genetic modification.
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.
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.
Die, Selfish Gene, Dieby David DobbsAeon MagazineDecember 3rd, 2013How vital, really, are actual changes in the genetic code? Do we even need DNA changes to adapt to new environments? Is the importance of the gene as the driver of evolution being overplayed?
Are Three Parents One Too Many?[Quotes CGS]by Stephen L. CarterBloombergNovember 27th, 2013The U.K. may soon approve a regulatory proposal that would allow scientists to create a human embryo using the DNA of three individuals. What’s striking is how the many opponents span the political spectrum.
Company Patenting Tech for Designing Babies[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by John FowlerKTVUNovember 20th, 2013Biotechnology may give parents unprecedented choices. Fertility clinics already use pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to select traits for some in-vitro babies, but intentional manipulation might create ethical nightmares.
The Mixed Legacy of the UK’s Departing Fertility Regulatorby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 20th, 2013The departing chair of the UK agency that regulates fertility treatments is criticizing aspects of the fertility industry, but still champions a form of inheritable human genetic modification.
The IVF Data Warsby Miriam Zoll, Biopolitical Times guest contributorNovember 15th, 2013The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recently asserted that 60 percent of women who go through IVF end up with a baby, but this is a misleading figure for a number of reasons.
Study Finds that Americans Want Doctors' Guidance on Genetic Test ResultsMedical XpressNovember 7th, 2013Like physician groups, members of the public are concerned about individuals interpreting the risks revealed by direct-to-consumer genetic testing without the help of a doctor.
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.
A Conception Conundrum[Quotes CGS's Diane Tober]by Jennifer BleyerPsychology TodayNovember 4th, 2013Many donor-conceived children voice "genetic bewilderment" about their origins. Can the trend towards open-identity donation address these existential concerns?
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.
Stem Cell Person of the Year 2013: Elena Cattaneoby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogOctober 30th, 2013Beyond her great achievements in stem cell science, she has a track record of taking important public stands on key issues over the years.
Root of Maths Genius Soughtby Erika Check HaydenNatureOctober 29th, 2013In a study dubbed ‘Project Einstein’, entrepreneur Jonathan Rothberg and physicist Max Tegmark have set their sights on finding the genes that underlie mathematical genius.
‘Ethical Failure’ Leaves One-Quarter of all Clinical Trials Unpublishedby Daniel CresseyNature News BlogOctober 29th, 2013Hundreds of thousands of patients have been exposed to potential harm in clinical trials whose results have yet to be published since their completion nearly five years ago.
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?
The Science And Ethics Of Personal Genetic Testing[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Diane RehmThe Diane Rehm ShowOctober 28th, 2013Direct-to-consumer gene tests now cost just a few hundred dollars. A panel of experts discusses the science and ethics of personal genetic testing.
Grow Your Own: Where Scientists and Artists are Shaking up Creationby Oliver WainwrightThe GuardianOctober 27th, 2013From armpit brie to banana flavoured E.coli, artists and bio-hackers have teamed up to push the frontiers of 'synthetic biology' in a new exhibition.
Science has Lost its Way, at a Big Cost to Humanityby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesOctober 27th, 2013Scientists at the biotech firm Amgen set out to double-check the results of 53 landmark papers in their fields of cancer research and blood biology. Of the 53, only six could be proved valid.
Review: Genetic Explanations: Sense and Nonsenseby Evan CharneyLogosOctober 24th, 2013This timely and important collection brings together prominent geneticists, biologists, medical researchers, psychologists, philosophers, and historians to engage in “debunking as positive science.”
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.
An Insider’s Antidote for Dangerous Stem Cell Hypeby Bernadette TanseyXconomyOctober 22nd, 2013Paul Knoepfler’s new book is a scientific primer and a paean to the promise of stem cell research, but also a warning to vulnerable patients who prematurely look to stem cell therapy as a last-ditch hope for a cure.
How Science Goes WrongThe EconomistOctober 19th, 2013Modern scientists are doing too much trusting and not enough verifying — to the detriment of the whole of science, and of humanity.
School Achievement Isn't Just in Your Genesby Steven RoseNew ScientistOctober 18th, 2013Anyone who asserts that educational attainment is in large part inherited needs a lesson in modern genetics, says a professor of biology.
'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.
The Clone Named Dollyby Nicholas WadeThe New York TimesOctober 14th, 2013This week’s Retro Report video tells the story of Dolly the sheep. The Scottish scientists who created her recall the painstaking process of trying to get the experiment to work.
Roy Morgan Poll Shows Most Aussies Oppose Sex Selection for Babies by Kieran Campbellnews.com.auOctober 10th, 2013The first comprehensive poll of Australian attitudes towards sex selection shows only one in five people support it.
The Damaging Language of “Cure” and Down Syndromeby Amy Julia BeckerPatheosOctober 2nd, 2013Once again we’re hearing news of a breakthrough in research on drug therapies to enhance the cognitive processing of people with Down syndrome. And once again, the discussions seem to fixate on the controversial notion of a “cure.”
Dangerous Workby EditorialNatureOctober 2nd, 2013Behavioural geneticists must tread carefully to prevent their research being misinterpreted.
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.
Gene Therapy With a Differenceby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesSeptember 23rd, 2013The idea is that a disease can be ameliorated not by replacing a defective gene, as is done in gene therapy, but by correcting it. But hopes for the new technique have now suffered a big blow.
Science: The Religion that Must Not be Questionedby Henry GeeThe GuardianSeptember 19th, 2013It's time for the priesthood to be taken to task – and journalists aren't up to the job.
"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.
Selling the Fantasy of Fertilityby Miriam Zoll and Pamela TsigdinosThe New York TimesSeptember 11th, 2013A trade show will showcase the latest inventions in the world of reproductive medicine with the suggestion that all your answers can be found within the event hall. But science fails far more often than is generally believed.
Stem Cell Treatments Overtake Scienceby Laura BeilThe New York TimesSeptember 9th, 2013The lack of proven safety or efficacy for stem cell treatments hasn't slowed the rise of an international industry catering to customers who may pay tens of thousands of dollars in cash for their shot at a personal miracle.
Popular Fertility Treatments Still a Vast Experimentby Michele Goodwin and Judy NorsigianWeNewsSeptember 1st, 2013Americans are increasingly swarming to the doorsteps of fertility clinics, but many don't realize that evidence-based medicine has yet to establish a reasonable foothold.
US Behavioural Research Studies Skew Positiveby Erika Check HaydenNatureAugust 26th, 2013US behavioural researchers have been handed a dubious distinction — they are more likely than their colleagues in other parts of the world to exaggerate findings.
Are You Ready for an Online Genetic Test?[WITH VIDEOS]by Dr. Barry StarrKQEDAugust 26th, 2013For the right person, an online genetic test can be both fun and useful. But for someone else, it might be overwhelming. Or even worse, reveal things they wish they hadn’t learned.
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.
Would you Post your DNA on Facebook?by Quentin FottrellThe Wall Street JournalAugust 12th, 2013We are all Henrietta Lacks. Or, according to privacy experts, we soon could be. Americans are giving their DNA to companies without thinking through the potential long-term consequences.
Bursting the Neuro-Utopian Bubbleby Benjamin FongThe New York TimesAugust 11th, 2013Could proponents of neuroscience, and in particular of the Brain Initiative, be naïve about the corporate wolves with whom they run, as well as the pristine fantasy that guides the initiative?
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.
If I'm Healthy, Why Should I Have my Genome Sequenced?by Anne Buchanan et al.The Mermaid's TaleAugust 6th, 2013Do people believe that future disease is truly predictable from their genome? We think that most geneticists, at least, would say not.
Science as Social Control: Political Paralysis and the Genetics Agendaby Jonathan LathamIndependent Science NewsJuly 31st, 2013A new study in Science found that fully 98% of variation in “educational attainment” cannot be attributed to inherited genetic differences. Why did the authors fail to mention this fact in the title or in the summary?
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.”
Do These Genes Make Me Look Fat?by Kent SepkowitzThe Daily BeastJuly 18th, 2013A new study zeroes in on a bit of DNA that leads to ‘obesity-prone behaviors’ if it gets out of whack. We’re all saved, right? Not so fast.
Will Synthetic Biology Become a GM-Style Battleground? by David ShukmanBBC NewsJuly 11th, 2013Will the emerging science of designing and engineering new forms of life receive the same hostile reception as genetically modified food and crops?
Science Media: Centre of Attentionby Ewen CallawayNatureJuly 10th, 2013Does the Science Media Centre promote uncritical media coverage by serving as "science's PR agency"?
Trial and Errorby EditorialNatureJuly 9th, 2013Italian officials should not go ahead with expensive clinical tests of an unproven stem-cell therapy that has no good scientific basis.
Eight Misconceptions about “Three-Parent Babies”by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJuly 9th, 2013Amid the talk about “mitochondria replacement” or “three-parent babies," here are the top misconceptions proliferating about the efficacy, safety, public support, and societal implications.
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.
Reported IVF Success Rates can be Misleading: Studyby Genevra PittmanReutersJuly 4th, 2013US fertility centers are mandated to report the number of cycles they perform, but a new study suggests those data may give some practices misleadingly high success rates.
Egg Donation is Made to Look Easy, but Questions and Health Risks Remainby Ryann SummersOur Bodies Our BlogJuly 3rd, 2013When she was casually solicited for her eggs by a friend, the author realized she needed to know more about the procedure and its implications.
Push for Social Egg Freezing: By whom? For whom?by Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJuly 3rd, 2013The latest campaign in the IVF world - social egg freezing - has been sold as an equalizing reproductive option for women, but whose agenda is it really serving?
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.
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.
Cancer Inc.by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMay 28th, 2013Angelina Jolie’s widely discussed op-ed about her preventative double mastectomy glosses over the impact of one company’s patent on the “breast cancer genes” as well as alternative choices that are available to women who have mastectomies.
Race Is Not Biologyby Merlin ChowkwanyunThe AtlanticMay 23rd, 2013How unthinking racial essentialism finds its way into scientific research.
Angelina Jolie and the One Percentby Gayle SulikScientific AmericanMay 20th, 2013Jolie's revelation has sparked a flurry of useful discussion, but we should remember an important caveat about her situation: it doesn’t apply to most women.
Angelina Jolie, Breast Cancer, and You: How to Make the Right Decisions for YOUR Healthby Judy NorsigianOur Bodies Our BlogMay 17th, 2013It is now up to women’s health advocates to ensure that media coverage and public debate don't offer false information or false hope.
Human Stem Cell Cloning: 'Holy Grail' or Techno-Fantasy?by David KingCNNMay 17th, 2013We are told that there will be great medical benefits and that the risks that there will be cloned babies are small, but in truth it's the other way round.
What We Mean When We Say 'Race Is a Social Construct'by Ta-Nehisi CoatesThe AtlanticMay 15th, 2013If you tell me that you plan to study "race and intelligence" then it is only fair that I ask you, "What do you mean by race?"
Dad Aims to Change Views of Down Syndrome in New Bookby Jessica Ryen DoyleFox NewsMay 11th, 2013George Estreich's new book, The Shape of the Eye, aims to change the negative connotations associated with Down syndrome.
Sixty Years of a DNA World Viewby Sujatha ByravanThe HinduMay 6th, 2013The popular notion of the double helix being the main and the only player in cellular and genetic information is quite flawed.
The Real Problems With Psychiatryby Hope ReeseThe AtlanticMay 2nd, 2013A psychotherapist contends that the DSM, psychiatry's "bible" that defines all mental illness, is not scientific but a product of unscrupulous politics and bureaucracy.
DNA at 60: Still Much to Learn by Philip BallScientific AmericanApril 28th, 2013On the diamond jubilee of the double helix, we should admit that we don't fully understand how evolution works at the molecular level.
“World's First GM Babies Born”: 12-Year-Old Article Continues to Cause Confusionby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 25th, 2013An undated Daily Mail article that is actually over a decade old continues to spread misinformation about human genetic modification.
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.
Can Human Genes Be Patented?by Eliot MarshallScienceApril 17th, 2013The question has been debated for years but not addressed directly by the U.S. Supreme Court—until this week. The decision, expected later this year and from which there is no appeal, could have an impact on hundreds of companies and thousands of researchers.
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.
Resurrected Mammoths and Dodos? Don't Count on itby David EhrenfeldThe GuardianMarch 23rd, 2013Let's focus on conserving living animals, not on an expensive quest to bring back extinct ones – or some variation of them.
HealthWatch: Britain Considers Allowing Babies From 3 Parents [Video][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Kim MulvihillCBS San FranciscoMarch 20th, 2013Britain's fertility regulator says it has found broad public support for in vitro fertilization techniques that allow babies to be created with DNA from three people for couples at risk of passing on potentially fatal genetic diseases.
Grocers Won’t Sell Altered Fish, Groups Sayby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesMarch 20th, 2013Several supermarket chains have pledged not to sell what could become the first genetically modified animal to reach the nation’s dinner plates — a salmon engineered to grow about twice as fast as normal.
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.
Eugenics Fear Over Gene Modification[Letter to the Editor]by David King et al.The GuardianMarch 15th, 2013The benefits of mitochondrial replacement are heavily outweighed by the risks to the child and to society.
Whole Foods to Require Labeling of GMOs, Eventuallyby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMarch 12th, 2013For the first time, a major national grocery chain has committed to labeling GMO foods.
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.
Surrogate Offered $10,000 to Abort Babyby Elizabeth CohenCNNMarch 6th, 2013A surrogate refused to have an abortion after severe abnormalities were spotted on an ultrasound and moved to Michigan, where she became the legal mother.
Synthetic Biology Comes Down to Earthby Paul VoosenThe Chronicle of Higher EducationMarch 4th, 2013Practitioners of synthetic biology made big promises and investors poured in the money, but most companies have made grinding progress, not breakthroughs.
Selling the Story: Down Syndrome, Fetal Gene Testing, and The Today Showby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorBiopolitical TimesFebruary 28th, 2013On The Today Show, a couple learns the results of a noninvasive prenatal test. Left unanswered are questions about the effects of new technologies, and how those technologies are sold.
To Claim Someone has 'Viking Ancestors' is no Better than Astrologyby Mark ThomasThe Guardian February 25th, 2013The truth about direct-to-consumer ancestry tests is that there is little scientific substance to most of them and they are better thought of as genetic astrology.
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.
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.
Exaggerations and Misrepresentations Have No Place in Science Policy Debatesby Jeremy GruberCouncil for Responsible GeneticsFebruary 15th, 2013A recent debate on whether we should prohibit genetically engineered babies wound up focusing on mitochondrial replacement techniques.
Stem Cells in Texas: Cowboy Cultureby David CyranoskiNatureFebruary 13th, 2013By offering unproven therapies, a Texas biotechnology firm has sparked a bitter debate about how stem cells should be regulated.
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.
Neanderthal Clone Poll Finds Most Americans Oppose Cloning Human Relative by Emily SwansonHuffington PostJanuary 30th, 2013Most Americans are opposed to allowing any scientist to attempt such a feat - with or without a human surrogate.
Hilary Rose: The Problem with the Bioscience Industry – Videoby Hilary RoseThe GuardianJanuary 30th, 2013Hilary Rose, co-author of Genes, Cells and Brains, argues that we should treat the medical claims made for genetic research with suspicion.
The Case for Paternalism in Genetic Testingby Laura HercherWiredJanuary 14th, 2013In light of recent articles arguing for more openness and less worry about people receiving their genomic information, one genetic counselor explains why she cannot participate in the full-throated enthusiasm.
No Easy Answer[Editorial]NatureJanuary 9th, 2013Demands to analyse the DNA of the Connecticut school shooter are misguided and could lead to dangerous stigmatization, or worse.
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.
Stem Cell Showdown: Celltex vs. the FDAby Susan BerfieldBloomberg BusinessweekJanuary 3rd, 2013The FDA has approved only one stem cell product and wrote a scathing report on Celltex, the Texan company that nonetheless continues to offer its controversial services.
Desperate Patients Seek Stem-Cell 'Miracle,' but Scientists Warn of Hidden Dangersby Marcia Heroux PoundsSun SentinelJanuary 3rd, 2013The recent World Stem Cell Summit pointed to reports of deaths, tumors, lumbar punctures and other potential harm, as well as vulnerable people being conned out of thousands of dollars.
Biotech's 10 Biggest PR Disasters of 2012GMWatchDecember 31st, 20122012 was the year the lights came up on the biotech industry. Its claims, its tactics and its products all came under scrutiny and some of its biggest PR fairytales bit the dust. Here are some prime examples.
Seeking Answers in Genome of Gunmanby Gina KolataNew York TimesDecember 24th, 2012In a move likely to renew a longstanding ethical controversy, geneticists are quietly making plans to study the DNA of the man who killed 20 children and seven adults in Newtown, Connecticut.
FDA Moves Closer to Approval of GMO Fish, Critics Outragedby Carey GillamReutersDecember 21st, 2012A controversial genetically engineered salmon has moved a step closer to the consumer's dining table after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the fish didn't appear likely to pose a threat.
Genes, Cells and Brains by Hilary Rose and Steven Rose - Reviewby Steven PooleThe Guardian (UK)December 19th, 2012A fascinating, lucid and angry book; a strong exposé of the hype surrounding genetics and neuroscience.
Review: Bioethics: All That Matters by Donna Dickensonby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorDecember 13th, 2012This lively and accessible guide to the ethical implications of biotechnology asks how the field promotes or undermines social equality.
Plans for NHS Database of Patients' DNA Angers Privacy Campaignersby Jamie DowardThe Guardian (UK)December 8th, 2012"This Big Brother project will allow every individual and their relatives to be identified and tracked."
Public Expectations and Reality of Stem Cell Therapies Translationby Alexey BersenevCell TrialsDecember 7th, 2012A just-published study indicates that public optimism about stem cell research and translation is largely unjustified and even delusional.
Calls for Increased Compensation for Egg Donorsby PSThe Copenhagen PostDecember 3rd, 2012Fertility clinics in Denmark argue that women should receive more than 500 kroner for donating ova, but the health minister warns against turning them into commodities.
Mitochondria Replacement Would Forever Alter the Human Germline. Do You Want a Say? by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesNovember 15th, 2012The Center for Genetics and Society has sent a letter strongly recommending against changing the United Kingdom law that – like those in dozens of other countries – prohibits procedures that would alter the genes we pass on to our children.
Full-Genome Tests for Your Kids? For You? by Emily StehrBiopolitical TimesNovember 13th, 2012A geneticist and a reporter explore the benefits and drawbacks of full-genome sequencing.
Why Genes Don’t Predict Voting Behaviorby Evan Charney and William EnglishScientific AmericanNovember 5th, 2012Is the claim that a few genes influence political views and actions legitimate? We don't think so.
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.
California Genetic Privacy Arguments Go Nationalby Emily StehrBiopolitical TimesOctober 18th, 2012Arguments in California court cases and legislative initiatives about genetic privacy arguments have gone national, and the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues has weighed in.
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.
We are More Than the Sum of our Genesby Stella YoungRamp UpOctober 9th, 2012As a disabled feminist, I'm often asked about my views on medical procedures like pre-natal screening and preimplantation genetic diagnosis.
The HealerHow Shinya Yamanaka Transformed the Stem-Cell War and Made Everyone a Winnerby William SaletanSlateOctober 9th, 2012Shinya Yamanaka's research on "induced pluripotent stem cells" earned him a Nobel Prize. But much of the media coverage missed half the story. Yamanaka’s venture wasn’t just an experiment. It was a moral project.
Proposed New Gene Manipulation Technique in IVF: Is it Safe? Needed? A Precedent to Designer Babies?by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesOctober 2nd, 2012Is a new “3-parent baby” fertility technique a way to avoid terrible disease, or a dangerous form of human experimentation?
'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.
Stem Cell Cash Mostly Aids Directors' Interestsby David JensenThe Sacramento BeeSeptember 23rd, 2012The California stem cell agency's fresh set of funding awards renews debate about conflicts of interest.
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.
Most of What you Read was Wrong: How Press Releases Rewrote Scientific Historyby John TimmerARS TechnicaSeptember 10th, 2012ENCODE's definition of "functional" leads to misleading media coverage of the role of junk DNA.
Yet Another Study Claims to Find Politics in Our Genes by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesSeptember 6th, 2012A study on genes and political identity comes out just in time for the presidential election, but says little that’s new.
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?
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.
Pride: In Your Genes? by Daniel SharpBiopolitical TimesJune 28th, 2012A new "gay gene" study and a strange float at the Pride Parade present a context to reflect on genetic determinism and the meaning of pride.
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.
Baby Contest: Couples Compete for Free IVF — Is This Exploitation or Generosity? by Bonnie RochmanTIME HealthlandJune 19th, 2012The Sher Fertility Institute selected 3 couples out of 45 who submitted emotionally wrenching videos in order to win a free IVF cycle. For one judge, choosing her favorites felt like "playing God."
Genome Test Slammed for Assessing ‘Racial Purity’by Alison AbbottNatureJune 12th, 2012Hungary’s Medical Research Council has asked public prosecutors to investigate a genetic-diagnostic company that certified that a member of parliament did not have Roma or Jewish heritage.
Let's Get Real on Synthetic Biology by Claire Marris and Nikolas RoseNewScientist.comJune 11th, 2012As the race to build life from scratch pushes on, hyperbole drowns out nuanced discussion. We need more wide-ranging dialogue.
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.
Bill Banning ‘Sex-Selective Abortions’ Fails in the Houseby Ed O'KeefeWashington PostMay 31st, 2012A measure to ban abortions based on the sex of a fetus failed to pass in a House vote. Opponents of reproductive rights will try to use the vote against Democrats.
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.
GEN Poll Majority Favors Moratorium on Synthetic Bio ProductsGenetic Engineering & Biotechnology NewsApril 10th, 2012A majority of respondents to a GEN poll would like to see a moratorium on synthetic organisms and their products.
SynBioWatch to Hold Public Discussion on Synthetic Biology Risksby Doug PetBiopolitical TimesMarch 16th, 2012A social and environmental justice coalition, SynbioWatch, will hold a public meeting to discuss the possible dangers associated with synthetic biology.
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 Abortion Trap: How America's obsession with abortion hurts families everywhere[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Mara HvistendahlForeign PolicyJuly 26th, 2011How America's obsession with abortion hurts families everywhere.
German campaign to stop DNA database expansion, now in English by Emily StehrBiopolitical TimesJuly 7th, 2011Human Q-tips are the symbol of the Gene-ethical Network's campaign to curtail the ever-expanding German DNA database
NY Bill to Expand DNA Database Stalls in Legislatureby Emily StehrBiopolitical TimesJune 30th, 2011Lawmakers argue over access to the state’s forensic database instead of addressing underlying concerns about DNA evidence reliability and individuals’ rights.
Betting That Biotech Will Bring the FDA to Heel? Don’t Count On Itby Luke TimmermanXconomyJune 30th, 2011Word is that BIO has been working behind the scenes on a series of pro-industry legislative proposals that take aim at the Food and Drug Administration, the agency with the power to make or break companies developing innovative new medical products.
Americans Prefer Sons To Daughters, Survey FindsHuffington PostJune 24th, 2011If Americans could have only one child, they would prefer that it be a boy rather than a girl, by a 40% to 28% margin, with the rest having no preference or no opinion on the matter.
Gallup Poll: Cloning Still Unpopularby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJune 1st, 2011The annual Gallup survey of opinion on moral issues shows continuing strong opposition to reproductive cloning.
Toward a More Nuanced Science Journalismby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorMay 29th, 2011Science journalism needs greater awareness of sociological, philosophical, and science studies approaches to science and policy.
Genetic testing of kids popular with parents: Good idea?by David W FreemanCBS HealthApril 18th, 2011New research shows that more than half of parents offered gene tests would test their kids as well. But experts caution that the tests can sow confusion and needless alarm - or false reassurance.
Eugenics lawmaker resignsby Shira SchoenbergConcord MonitorMarch 15th, 2011State Rep. Martin Harty resigned yesterday, facing outrage from constituents, colleagues and strangers over comments he made endorsing eugenics for what he called "defective people."
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?
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.
Let's talk about sex: boys or girls?[Australia]by Amy SimmonsABC News (Australia)December 22nd, 2010Most Australians are opposed to choosing the sex of their child, despite an overwhelming desire by many to have one boy and one girl.
Patently Falseby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesDecember 20th, 2010The Biotechnology Industry Organization rigs and then spins an opinion survey on gene patents.
Europeans Want Regulation for Biotechby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesNovember 18th, 2010The latest Eurobarometer report on biotechnology shows that Europeans, in general, support medical uses of technology as long as they are carefully regulated.
Europeans and biotechnologies in 2010 - Winds of change?Nanowerk NewsNovember 15th, 2010The European Commission has released their new report, which points to a new era in the relations between science and society.
Time to Clean Up After Cloning Cattleby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesAugust 17th, 2010The USDA is still committed to promoting livestock cloning, but recent bad publicity makes it clear that the technology remains unpopular, unnecessary, and unethical.
Wise Words from a Comedic Criticby Doug PetBiopolitical TimesJuly 14th, 2010Sultan of satirical news, Stephen Colbert regularly calls attention to important biopolitical issues. Within many of his uproarious commentaries and interviews are meaningful insights.
The Presidential Commission Hears About Synthetic Biologyby Brendan ParentBiopolitical TimesJuly 14th, 2010The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues hosted a series of panels to assess the risks and benefits of synthetic biology.
British group weighs paying organ donorsAssociated PressApril 19th, 2010An influential British medical think tank is tackling the question of how far society should go to boost the number of organ and tissue donors, and is weighing a proposal to pay for body parts.
Surgeon General’s Warning: Gupta Is At It Againby Osagie ObasogieBiopolitical TimesDecember 14th, 2009Sanjay Gupta is taking his uncritical approach to biology and social outcomes to the realm of radical life extension.
Transhumanist libertarian: Still against democracyby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesAugust 26th, 2009Permeating libertarian Ron Bailey's response to CGS's Marcy Darnovsky is a disturbing hostility to democracy.
Public Opinion, Here and Abroad by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesDecember 22nd, 2008In the last few days, two interesting public opinion polls on stem cell research, cloning, and related topics were released.
Couples in US Prefer to Donate Embryos for Research, Study FindsDuke University study shows that 41% of patients who finished fertility treatment consider donating embryosMcClatchy NewspapersDecember 4th, 2008The debate over embryonic stem cell research centres on the sanctity of life. But the couples who create the leftover embryos would rather they be destroyed in the course of scientific research than be given a chance at becoming babies.
The More Things Change...by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesJanuary 10th, 2008The leading annual public opinion survey concerning biotechnology was recently released. But the deeper I dug into the data, the less relevance I found.
Food from Cloned AnimalsA Bait and Switch?by Osagie K. Obasogie and Pete ShanksSan Francisco Chronicle October 5th, 2007Californians should be allowed to know what they're eating. That's why Gov. Schwarzenegger should sign SB63, requiring food from cloned animals to be labeled. But there are other reasons to go slow on this unproven technology.
Poll: Public understands less about research cloningby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesDecember 27th, 2006Public support in the US for embryonic stem cell research is on the decline, surprisingly, after four years of increases. But I don't think this, the top conclusion of the press release accompanying the latest annual Virginia Commonwealth UniversityLife Sciences Survey, is the most relevant inference from the results.
Support for stem-cell study falls, poll showsby A.J. HostetlerRichmond Times-DispatchDecember 14th, 2006"A new national poll conducted in the aftermath of actor Michael J. Fox’s televised appeals for stem-cell research shows that support for studying embryonic stem cells fell in the past year."
Spinning the Pollsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 8th, 2006Americans remain skeptical, at best, of biotechnology, especially when applied to animals. That's the lesson of the newly released 2006 Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology poll.
The Trouble with Tissuesby Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesNovember 30th, 2006It's not surprising that, according to a recent poll, people are concerned that personal tissue samples could be used for cloning, the derivation of stem cell lines, or the development profitable products without the donor sharing in the rewards.
Do stem cells work as a wedge?by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesOctober 27th, 2006Leading into the midterm elections, many saw support for stem cell research as a way for Democrats to peel off moderate Republicans and independents. The jury's still out, but some polls suggest this assumption is off base.
Stem cell bond issue has narrow lead in pollAssociated PressOctober 11th, 2004In a recent poll of voters' positions on California's Proposition 71, 46 percent of likely voters support the idea with 39 percent opposed and 15 percent undecided.
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