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About Medical Gene Transfer


Sometimes called "gene therapy," medical gene transfer involves adding or modifying genes in a person's cells (other than those found in his or her sperm or eggs). The "new" genes are intended to function in ways that would alleviate a medical condition. They would not be passed on to any future generations.


Arguments Pro & Con

Gene transfer may eventually become an effective treatment for some important medical conditions. Clinical trials have been underway since 1990, but so far have been mostly unsuccessful, involved several conflict-of-interest scandals, and produced adverse results including deaths.

Gene transfer has also been proposed for "enhancement" purposes. This application could raise troubling social and ethical questions.



Biopolitical News of 2016by Pete Shanks, Leah Lowthorp & Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesDecember 13th, 2016We highlight 2016’s trends in and top news stories about human biotech developments.
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.
Setting the record straightby Martin H. JohnsonReproductive BioMedicine OnlineDecember 1st, 2016A senior editor writes about some shoddy scientific journalism on mitochondrial transfer that was published in his own journal.
UK doctors to seek permission to create baby with DNA from three people by Ian SampleThe GuardianNovember 30th, 2016A scientific review concluded that the procedure should be approved for "cautious clinical use" when children are at risk of inheriting specific genetic diseases.
"3-Parent Baby" Procedure Faces New Hurdleby Karen WeintraubScientific AmericanNovember 30th, 2016Mitochondrial disease can somehow creep back in, even if an affected mother’s mitochondria are virtually eliminated.
Review of Blame: A Novelby Abby Lippman, Biopolitical Times guest contributorNovember 28th, 2016Blame is especially important for those unfamiliar with the range of ethical, social, legal, and political issues raised by applications of what is learned in a lab. While a work of fiction, it is definitely not science-fiction
DNA-editing breakthrough could fix 'broken genes' in the brain, delay ageing and cure incurable diseasesby Ian JohnstonThe Independent [UK]November 16th, 2016The technique allows DNA changes that have not previously been possible, modifying the genes of non-dividing cells in a living animal.
CRISPR gene-editing tested in a person for the first timeby David CyranoskiNature NewsNovember 15th, 2016A clinical trial in China used cells edited with CRISPR-Cas9 to treat a patient with lung cancer. Spectators anticipate a biomedical duel with US.
Stem Cell Clinics Promise Miracle Cures, but at What Cost to Patients?by Philip PerryBig ThinkNovember 13th, 2016Taking advantage of a regulatory loophole, hundreds of clinics with virtually no oversight are offering stem cell therapies which are virtually untested, and make unsubstantiated claims about helping patients overcome disease.
San Diego Scientists Help Develop New Twist On In Vitro Fertilizationby David WagnerKPBSNovember 10th, 2016The patent holder for a related "3-person IVF" technique reports new work with "polar body genome transfer." Some experts say none of these approaches have been proven safe.
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.
First Spindle Nuclear Transfer Baby Has Low Mutant DNA Loadby Kate JohnsonMedscapeOctober 20th, 2016At the ASRM Scientific Congress, fertility doctors said they would continue using the mitochondrial manipulation procedure.
Crispr’s IPO doesn’t hit its targetby Robert WeismanThe Boston GlobeOctober 19th, 2016CRISPR Therapeutics' public offering raises half that of its rivals Editas & Intellia -- a sign that the market may be pulling back on genome editing stocks.
California stem cell agency approves $30 million to fast-track clinical trialsby David JensenThe Sacramento BeeOctober 19th, 2016Dubbed the new "pitching machine," CIRM's new $30 million effort is designed to accelerate clinical trials of stem cell therapies.
Reports of ‘three-parent babies’ multiplyby Sara ReardonNature NewsOctober 19th, 2016Claims of infants created using mitochondrial manipulation techniques in Mexico and China, and two pregnancies in the Ukraine, stir scientific and ethical debate.
CRISPR deployed to combat sickle-cell anaemiaby Heidi LedfordNature NewsOctober 12th, 2016Gene therapy aimed at a single-cell genetic condition shows some success in mice, while highlighting unknowns of human gene editing.
Comment on "3-person IVF" procedures for infertility reportedly conducted in Ukraine[Press statement]October 10th, 2016“These developments are another urgent sign that we need clear rules placing heritable human genetic modification off-limits on a national and international level.”
3-Person IVF Breaking News: Where Are the Advocates for the Public Interest? by Leah LowthorpBiopolitical TimesOctober 7th, 2016A baby created via 3-person IVF was delivered by US doctors in Mexico in order to avoid regulation. How has the media responded in the US and internationally?
CRISPR Embryos at Karolinska: Controversies Demand Oversightby Elliot HosmanOctober 7th, 2016Ongoing gene editing experiments in human embryos around the world underscore the need to prohibit modifying cells for use in human reproduction.
Don’t Miss This: The Story of CRISPR Told in a Comicby Kayla TolentinoOctober 6th, 2016Illustrator Andy Warner helps to break down the complexities of the still unraveling CRISPR gene editing story in his recent piece "Bad Blood."
With New Program, DARPA To Encourage Safety "Brakes" For Gene Editingby Alex LashXconomyOctober 5th, 2016The US military R&D agency has launched a funding program called "Safe Genes" to find "safety measures that don’t slow us down."
Baby Born Using 'Three Parent' Technique, Doctors Say[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Maggie FoxNBC NewsSeptember 28th, 2016"This fertility doctor openly acknowledged that he went to Mexico where 'there are no rules' in order to evade ongoing review processes and existing regulations in the US."
"Three-parent baby" claim raises hopes — and ethical concernsby Sara ReardonNature NewsSeptember 28th, 2016Some are questioning why the US-based team went to Mexico, a country with less clear oversight of human embryo modification than, for instance, the United Kingdom or the United States.
Controversy Erupts Around Baby With Three Biological Parents[citing CGS]by Emily WillinghamForbesSeptember 28th, 2016A US fertility doctor travels to Mexico where "there are no rules" to use mitochondrial manipulation to produce a live birth.
Comment on use of mitochondrial manipulation techniques by US scientists in Mexico[Press statement]September 27th, 2016US fertility doctors announce the live birth of a child with the DNA of three people, performed in Mexico to avoid US regulation.
Controversial Human Embryo Editing: 5 Things to Know[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Rachael RettnerLiveScienceSeptember 23rd, 2016Basic CRISPR experiments in human embryos in Sweden raise questions about passing clear rules against using edited germ cells for reproduction and oversight.
The Newly Found Innocence of Paolo Macchiariniby Leonid SchneiderFor Better ScienceSeptember 23rd, 2016Suspicious justifications underlie recent university, media, and government defenses of the controversial stem cell surgeon.
Stem Cell Advocates and Critics Push Back on FDA Guidelinesby Alexandra OssolaScientific AmericanSeptember 21st, 2016"After these public meetings the FDA may...send a signal that it is indeed going to rein in the dangerous stem cell clinic industry for real."
Patients Turn To San Diego Stem Cell Companies For Costly, Unproven Treatmentsby David WagnerKPBSSeptember 20th, 2016One patient lost hundreds of thousands of dollars pursuing unapproved stem cell treatments, and was left with a painful tumor and significantly decreased mobility.
Passing My Disability On to My Childrenby Sheila BlackThe New York TimesSeptember 7th, 2016Drawing on hew own experience, the author challenges the logic of creating "designer babies" with screening or modifying technologies.
Two Women Pregnant after Having Ovarian Mitochondria Injected into EggsThe Japan TimesAugust 30th, 2016Some experts are calling for a careful response to the new procedure, as its safety and effects have not yet been scientifically verified.
Stem-Cell Treatments Become More Available, and Face More Scrutinyby Melinda BeckWall Street JournalAugust 29th, 2016Critics say the clinics are peddling 21st century snake oil and want the FDA to crack down.
Why Gene Tests for Cancer Don't Offer More Answersby Jessica WapnerScientific AmericanAugust 29th, 2016Genetic profiling of tumors has a long way to go. Many patients learn that their cancers have mutations for which no drug exists
Experimental Cancer Therapy Holds Great Promise — But at Great Costby Meghana KeshavanSTATAugust 23rd, 2016Patients undergoing immunotherapy clinical trials with CAR-T cells are at risk for deadly cytokine release syndrome, but pharmaceutical companies are racing to get FDA approval.
These New Stem Cell Treatments Are Expensive — and Unprovenby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesAugust 19th, 2016"Stem cells have become a medical buzzword," Paul Knoepfler notes. "I see a lot of businesses using direct marketing to patients to take advantage of that."
In CRISPR Fight, Co-Inventor Says Broad Institute Misled Patent Officeby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewIs an email between competing researchers a smoking gun in the billion-dollar battle over patent rights for gene editing?
CRISPR patent fight: The legal bills are soaringby Sharon BegleySTATAugust 16th, 2016Editas has already spent $10.9 million in 2016. Many in the CRISPR field wonder privately why the Broad Institute and UC Berkeley have not reached a settlement.
What happens when anyone can edit genes at home? We’re about to find outby Dyllan FurnessDigital TrendsAugust 15th, 2016Scientists express concern about the unintentional consequences of gene editing starter kits proliferating in biohacking communities.
Scientists break 13-year silence to insist 'three-parent baby' technique is safeby Ian JohnstonThe IndependentAugust 11th, 2016The researchers conclude the technique "can produce a viable pregnancy." But the pregnancy they established resulted in miscarriage.
How biotech executives profit from legal insider tradesby Damian GardeSTATAugust 8th, 2016Biotech bigwigs might be gaming an insider trading loophole to offset losses after failed clinical trials.
Questions about Deaths in Cancer Trials using Gene-Altered Cellsby Katherine DrabiakBiopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 5th, 2016Excitement about immunotherapy and gene therapy approaches to cancer has eclipsed ethical questions about seven recent deaths in clinical trials.
Many pediatric clinical trials go unpublished or unfinishedby Ed SilvermanSTATAugust 4th, 2016Of 559 clinical trials, 19% were discontinued. Of 455 completed trials, 30% never published results. Over 69,000 children participated.
Why gene-therapy drugs are so expensiveby N.L.The EconomistAugust 3rd, 2016British pharmaceutical company GSK announced it will charge US$665,000 for a gene therapy for ADA-SCID (aka "bubble boy disease").
The Case Against Public Investment in Reproductive Genetic Modificationby Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 3rd, 2016Philosopher Tina Rulli argues that three-person IVF germline modification is not a “life-saving” medical therapy.
NY Times: Fresh and Major Attention to Immunotherapy and Cancerby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJuly 31st, 2016The New York Times unveiled a dramatic special report on gene therapy and immunotherapy to treat cancer.
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.
UK Researchers Now Say Three-Person Embryo Technique Doesn't Work; Propose New Methodby Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJune 8th, 2016New research shows the mitochondrial manipulation technique recently legalized in the UK faces major unknowns.
Unheard Publics in the Human Genome Editing Policy Debateby Elliot HosmanJune 8th, 2016The socially dangerous prospect of using genome editing tools for human reproduction underlies the need for caution in modifying embryos in basic research.
On Cyborgs and Gene Editing: Lessons from Orphan Blackby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical Times guest contributorJune 1st, 2016The television show takes a cue from science fiction author Donna Haraway and engages the dangers of human genetic modification.
British scientist can genetically modify human embryos, ethics committee saysby Lydia WillgressThe Telegraph [UK]May 27th, 2016Following HFEA approval in February, a local ethics committee approves Kathy Niakan's program to CRISPR human embryos for basic research.
Will Modern Genetics Turn Us Into Gene “Genies”?[Collection of brief essays]by Marcy Darnovsky, Dan Sarewitz, Samuel Weiss Evans, Arvis Sulovari, Eric A. WidraZócalo Public SquareMay 24th, 2016Contributors discuss their stances on the dangers and potential benefits of gene manipulation.
Huntington’s disease: the new gene therapy that sufferers cannot affordby Dara MohammadiThe Guardian [UK]May 15th, 2016Efforts to treat Huntington’s disease involve costly drugs way beyond the reach of the poor communities in South America who take part in research studies
Orphan Black emphasizes the science in its sci-fi with a disturbing chapter on eugenicsby Caroline FramkeVoxMay 15th, 2016The BBC America series about human clones is now tackling the personal, scientific, and societal implications of eugenics, gene editing, and germline engineering.
After rivals’ IPOs, will CRISPR Therapeutics go public or stay buttoned-down?by Damian GardeSTATMay 12th, 2016Like CRISPR Therapeutics, Intellia and Editas were once cagey about their development pipelines, but in documents filed with the government prior to their IPOs, they had to spell out the what, when, and how of their work.
Three Cambridge startups are on a mission to fix broken genesby Robert WeismanThe Boston GlobeMay 11th, 2016Editas, Intellia, and CRISPR Therapeutics aim to cure diseases from cancer to blood disorders, but these would-be gene editors also must navigate a new round of ethical questions.
Gene Therapy’s First Out-and-Out Cure Is Hereby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewMay 6th, 2016A genetic therapy treatment for severe combined immune deficiency, also known as "bubble boy" disease, is now pending approval in Europe.
Scientists are trying to use CRISPR to fix everything. What’s wrong with that?by Emily McManusTED IdeasMay 5th, 2016A historian of eugenics asks: "Will individuals start making decisions to use new biotech to improve themselves and their children?"
The World’s Most Expensive Medicine Is a Bustby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewMay 5th, 2016The first gene therapy approved in the Western world costs $1 million and has been used just once.
Hacking CRISPR: Patents, Gene Therapy & Embryosby Elliot HosmanMay 5th, 2016As gene editing experiments on human embryos spread, piecemeal hacks of CRISPR are outpacing discussions of the futures it might enable.
Cultural Influences Reflected in Divergent US vs UK Human Embryo Research Policies[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Eli Y. AdashiThe JAMA ForumMay 3rd, 2016Reactions to CRISPR gene editing experiments depend upon a country's existing laws and regulation.
The gene editor CRISPR won’t fully fix sick people anytime soon. Here’s whyby Jocelyn KaiserScience/AAASMay 3rd, 2016After more than two decades of ups and downs, veterans of the gene therapy field are wary of raising expectations about CRISPR for treating diseases.
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.
Let people most affected by gene editing write CRISPR rulesby Jessica HamzelouNew ScientistApril 29th, 2016The US National Academies' committee on human gene editing held a discussion in Paris at the French National Academy of Medicine.
Scientists solve CRISPR’s ‘Energizer bunny’ problemby Sharon BegleySTATApril 27th, 2016A new CRISPR system called "CORRECT" stopped Cas9 from cutting again and again, and allowed researchers to edit one but not both copies of a target gene.
First Data from Anti-Aging Gene Therapyby Kerry GrensThe ScientistApril 25th, 2016Biotech company BioViva reports that an experimental treatment elongated its CEO’s telomeres.
Researchers push for personalized tumour vaccinesby Heidi LedfordNature NewsApril 22nd, 2016Enthusiasm comes amid concerns about "irrational exuberance" over the rapid shift toward the personalized approach.
Eric Lander talks CRISPR and the infamous Nobel ‘rule of three’by Joel AchenbachThe Washington PostApril 21st, 2016Lander urged scientific modesty about new gene editing tools: “We are terrible predictors of the consequences of the changes we make.”
We Still Haven’t Found a Fountain of Youth in Our DNAby Brian AlexanderMIT Technology ReviewApril 21st, 2016The Cypher Genomics project has been attempting to identify genetic variants that contribute to longevity, but so far there's no smoking gun.
Scientists unveil the ‘most clever CRISPR gadget’ so farby Sharon BegleySTATApril 20th, 2016A new "base editing" method attempts to switch out individual letters of DNA, but its usefulness and precision are unclear.
CRISPR: Pursuit of profit poisons collaborationby Jacob S. SherkowNature April 13th, 2016Overzealous efforts to commercialize technology can damage science.
One Thing that Could Stop the Rise of Gene Editing: Insurance Companiesby Jason KoeblerMotherboard [VICE]April 12th, 2016If insurance companies refuse to cover potential new treatments involving gene editing, they might be limited to those who can afford the expense.
HIV overcomes CRISPR gene-editing attackby Ewen CallawayNatureApril 7th, 2016HIV can quickly develop mutations that resist attack by DNA-shearing enzymes. And one virologist questions whether a CRISPR therapy makes sense, since most infections can be managed with antiretroviral drugs.
10th Anniversary Baby Markets Congressby Elliot HosmanApril 7th, 2016Legal scholars, social scientists, advocates, and filmmakers grapple with assisted reproduction.
Op-ed: Minding our makeupby Anna Foster & Parmida JafariThe Varsity [University of Toronto]April 4th, 2016Students have an obligation to understand the pros and cons of CRISPR. Its implications will directly affect our generation.
The Paradox of Precision Medicineby Jeneen InterlandiScientific AmericanApril 1st, 2016Early attempts to tailor disease treatment to individuals based on their DNA have met with equivocal success, raising concerns about a push to scale up such efforts.
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.
MIT research suggests possibility of gene therapy to treat ADHDby Lindsay KalterBoston HeraldMarch 23rd, 2016Controversial research in mice, seeking a genetic link to ADHD, may eventually lead to clinical attempts to "introduce genetic material that might be missing from the human."
CRISPR Pioneer Feng Zhang Talks About What's Next for Gene Editingby Kate LunauVICE MotherboardMarch 23rd, 2016“The field is still very young,” but Zhang hopes CRISPR is a way to address conditions that he characterizes as psychiatric, including depression, schizophrenia, autism and Alzheimer’s.
Texas Woman Is the First Person to Undergo Optogenetic Therapyby Katherine BourzacMIT Technology ReviewMarch 18th, 2016Beyond the implications for treating blind people, this gene therapy trial is also being watched by the neuroscience community.
The perils of human gene editing for reproductionby Marcy DarnovskyWashington ExaminerMarch 8th, 2016Human gene editing for reproduction would be unsafe, is unneeded for medical purposes, and would be dangerously unacceptable on societal grounds.
[Radio] Gene Editing for Individuals and their Families and Family Caregivers[an interview with CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Gordon AtherleyVoice AmericaMarch 1st, 2016A discussion of human gene editing, and the ways it should and not be used.
Human Babies from CRISPR Pigsby Stuart NewmanHuffPost ScienceFebruary 29th, 2016300 years after Jonathan Swift, can anyone doubt that the grandchildren of some people born this year will be delivered fresh off the farm?
How Brave New World Is Sneaking Up On Us by John FarrellForbesFebruary 28th, 2016Paul Knoepfler is not a scientist given to alarmism, but it’s pretty clear from his informative new book that the Brave New World is already upon us.
How CRISPR Made it Onto The X-Filesby Jon BrooksKQEDFebruary 25th, 2016The plot involves humans who are stripped of their immune systems, accomplished via CRISPR/Cas9.
The Possibility Of A Three-Parent Baby[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Indira LakshamananThe Diane Rehm ShowFebruary 25th, 2016A discussion about the science, ethics, and politics of a controversial technique that is a form of inheritable genetic modification.
Gene Editing: Coming to a Kitchen Counter Near Youby Danielle VentonKQED ScienceFebruary 22nd, 2016Is it a good idea to make science more accessible by providing low-cost supplies for people to practice gene editing at home?
What’s the difference between genetic engineering and eugenics?by Robert GebelhoffThe Washington PostFebruary 22nd, 2016Where we draw the line between "negative eugenics" and "positive genetic intervention" is a political question.
Gene editing: The next frontier in America’s abortion wars[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Sarah KarlinPoliticoFebruary 16th, 2016"Fears about eugenics and a brave new world are concerns that are shared by people across the political spectrum."
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.
This CRISPR Momentby Françoise Baylis and Janet RossantThe WalrusFebruary 12th, 2016Editing human DNA the way we edit text—are we ready?
A Nobel Laureate's 'Unsettling Note' From California's Human Gene Editing Conference[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportFebruary 12th, 2016The Center for Genetics and Society weighs in on the possibility that California's stem cell agency will fund germline gene editing research.
California stem cell agency may fund tests to edit genes in human embryos[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Melody PetersenLos Angeles TimesFebruary 12th, 2016The state's stem cell institute is reviewing its ethics guidelines to determine whether they are strong enough to safely allow studies in which scientists would attempt to edit the genes of embryos.
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.
California’s Stem Cell Agency Considers “Editing” Human Embryosby Marcy Darnovsky Biopolitical Times February 9th, 2016Three takeaway points from CIRM’s recent meeting on human gene editing.
We Are This Close to "Designer Babies"[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Nina Liss-SchultzMother JonesFebruary 8th, 2016Issues to consider in light of the UK's approval of using CRISPR gene editing on human embryos for research.
Stem cell agency to begin review of human genetic changes by David JensenCapitol WeeklyFebruary 5th, 2016California’s stem cell agency has embarked on what is likely to be an exhaustive review of its rules for research involving genetic alteration of human embryos.
The billion-dollar CRISPR patent battle: A case of big money shaping scienceby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesFebruary 5th, 2016"The real question is whether the future of the technology will be guided by the need to learn more, or the opportunity to earn more."
The Embarrassing, Destructive Fight over Biotech's Big Breakthrough by Stephen S. HallScientific AmericanFebruary 4th, 2016The gene-editing technology known as CRISPR has spawned an increasingly unseemly brawl over who will reap the rewards.
A Cautious Approach to Mitochondrial Replacementby Françoise BaylisImpact EthicsFebruary 3rd, 2016While the motivation with mitochondrial replacement (MRT) is distinct from cloning, the transfer technology is the same. MRT can legitimately be seen as a “quiet way station” in which to refine the techniques essential for other genetic interventions (including cloning).
Three-parent DNA treatment for rare defect raises debate [with video][With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]PBS NewshourFebruary 3rd, 2016PBS's William Brangham discusses germline mitochondrial manipulations with Jeffrey Kahn and Marcy Darnovsky.
Babies With Genes From 3 People Could Be Ethical, Panel Says [with audio] [cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPRFebruary 3rd, 2016"People are talking about going forward not just with this, but with the kind of genetic engineering that will produce outright genetically modified human beings."
Center for Genetics and Society Comments on Just-Released Report on Germline Mitochondrial Manipulations[Press statement]February 3rd, 2016The National Academy of Medicine's report conclusion – that no ethical or policy considerations stand in the way of clinical investigations going forward – seems at odds with the many cautions, risks, and concerns that it raises.
Britian has jumped the gun on gene editing by Donna DickensonTelegraph [UK]February 2nd, 2016Particularly where the germline of humanity as a whole is concerned, caution and cooperation should prevail.
We Are Not Ready to Edit Human Embryos Yetby J. Craig VenterTimeFebruary 2nd, 2016Due to our insufficient knowledge, the slippery slope to human enhancement, and the global ban on human experimentation, we need to better understand the software of life before we begin re-writing this code.
U.K. Scientists Given OK to Use ‘Gene Editing’ on Human Embryos[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by David MillsHealthlineFebruary 1st, 2016The experiments raise raised concerns over the possibility that “designer babies” will eventually be produced by using gene editing to alter the DNA of embryos.
Britain approves controversial gene-editing experiments[cites CGS’s Marcy Darnovsky]by Maria ChengAssociated PressFebruary 1st, 2016"This is the first step on a path that scientists have carefully mapped out towards the legalization" of genetically modified babies, said David King of Human Genetics Alert.
A Monkey Circles in a Cageby Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 29th, 2016Researchers created transgenic monkeys with a gene duplication associated with Rett Syndrome autism in humans, raising concerns of the limits and ethics of using animal models in biomedical research.
Human Genetic Alteration and Gold Mines: California's Stem Cell Agency Takes a Hard Look at Research Standardsby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJanuary 27th, 2016The $3 billion California stem cell agency will convene a livestreamed day-long meeting to examine agency policies dealing with human gene editing.
Will creating monkeys with autism-like symptoms be any use?by Sam WongNew ScientistJanuary 25th, 2016Researchers are divided on whether a condition like autism can be meaningfully reproduced in monkeys.
The Battle Over CRISPR Could Make Or Break Some Biotech Companies[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Farai ChideyaFiveThirtyEightJanuary 25th, 2016CRISPR is caught up in public offerings and a patent dispute. If used to "edit" heritable traits, it could lead us into a world of genetic haves and have-nots.
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.
Creativity Week: Playing God with CRISPR[cites CGS' Elliot Hosman]by Aubrey SandersBreakThru RadioJanuary 16th, 2016Elliot Hosman discusses one of the most profoundly consequential debates modern science has ever faced.
CRISPR Patent War: Billions at Stake for UC Berkeleyby Lindsey HoshawKQEDJanuary 15th, 2016Whoever gets the patent will set the terms for how the technology is used.
Why Is Editas Going Public? by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 14th, 2016Editas, the gene-editing company founded by several of the scientists who developed CRISPR technology, announced on January 4th that it had filed preliminary paperwork for a public offering of stock.
Are we one step closer to designer babies? Genetically-modified embryos could be made in British labs 'within months' if approved tomorrow by Fiona MacRaeThe Daily Mail [UK]January 13th, 2016A researcher has asked for permission to study how manipulating an embryo’s genes would affect the first week of its development.
False Inevitabilities and Irrational Exuberanceby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJanuary 8th, 2016In the aftermath on December’s gene editing summit, disquieting themes have emerged in some mainstream media and science blogs.
Who is Smart Enough to Decide how to Improve the Human Species?by Joel AchenbachThe Washington PostJanuary 5th, 2016Genetic engineering and molecular biology benefit from the digital revolution. This convergence is arguably one of the biggest stories in the world right now.
King for a Day? On What’s Wrong With Changing the World for the Better by Roland NadlerLaw and Biosciences BlogJanuary 4th, 2016"It’s not so much about ethics (as we usually envision it) as about political philosophy. I’d exhort us to be quicker to ask: who died and made you king?"
Historic CRISPR Patent Fight Primed To Become Head-To-Head Battleby Alex LashXconomyJanuary 4th, 2016A USPTO patent examiner recommends kicking Jennifer Doudna's application upstairs. The case will be decided under the old "first to invent" standard.
A startup that wants to start using a controversial gene-editing tool in people by 2017 just filed to go publicby Lydia RamseyBusiness InsiderJanuary 4th, 2016Editas Medicine, co-founded by Feng Zhang, is developing a CRISPR gene therapy for rare blindness with human trials planned for 2017.
CRISPR helps heal mice with muscular dystrophyby Jocelyn KaiserScience/AAASDecember 31st, 2015Three research groups report using CRISPR in mice to modify a gene associated with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the first time CRISPR has been delivered throughout the body to treat grown animals with a genetic disease.
'We Won't Make Frankensteins,' Cloning Giant Boyalife's CEO Saysby David Lom and Eric BaculinaoNBC NewsDecember 26th, 2015The head of a Chinese firm that is building the world's biggest animal cloning factory has vowed not to use the technology on people — for now, at least.
First GMO Corn, then Frankenfish, and Now — Get Ready for Designer Babies[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Janet PhelanActivist PostDecember 25th, 2015“The medical arguments are tenuous and the possible social consequences are grave” for modifying the human germline.
The Gene-Editing Tool on Every Drugmaker's Wish List This Yearby Caroline Chen and Doni BloomfieldBloombergDecember 23rd, 2015Complicating the race to apply CRISPR is a heated fight over who invented the approach and owns the right to use it, and how the industry will be regulated.
Biopolitical News of 2015by Elliot Hosman, Pete Shanks & Marcy Darnovsky, Biopolitical TimesDecember 22nd, 2015We highlight 2015’s breaking news stories about human biotech developments.
Bayer Forms Gene Editing Partnership with CRISPR Therapeuticsby Ludwig BurgerReutersDecember 21st, 2015Under the deal, the German drugmaker will pay for the joint venture's research over the next five years, 300 million euros in total.
We Can Design Our Descendants. But Should We?by Margaret SomervilleThe Globe and Mail [Canada]December 21st, 2015Ethically, we must place the future child at the centre of the decision-making. We must also protect society.
GM Insects and Moral Blackmailby  Jack Stilgoe and Sarah HartleyThe Guardian [UK]December 17th, 2015Scientists have raised concerns about extreme and potentially existential environmental and security risks, including the extinction of species and/or ecosystems.
[Letter to the Editor] Genetic Controlby Marcy DarnovskyThe New YorkerDecember 14th, 2015CRISPR is a potentially society-altering technology, and democratic engagement with its trajectory is crucial and pressing.
Church May Back GM Embryos to Cure Inherited Diseasesby Oliver MoodyThe TimesDecember 14th, 2015The Church of England could agree to the genetic modification of human embryos.
More Questions than Answers at Gene Editing Summit [cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Chloe PostonGenes to GenomesDecember 9th, 2015"Marcy Darnovsky reminded the room of the societal implications of germ line editing, warning that parents will want to choose traits that society values most."
Editing the Human GenomeBBC Newshour ExtraNovember 28th, 2015An hour-long radio broadcast with panelists Annalien Bredenoord, Robin Lovell-Badge, Marcy Darnovsky, and Michael Le Page, hosted by Owen Bennett Jones.
Gene therapies offer dramatic promise but shocking costsby Carolyn Y. Johnson & Brady DennisThe Washington PostNovember 11th, 2015Researchers have partially restored a patient's vision by targeting a gene associated with Leber's congenital amaurosis, but the treatment could cost $500,000 per eye.
Should Human Stem Cells Be Used To Make Partly Human Chimeras?by Rob SteinNPRNovember 6th, 2015The NIH has declared a moratorium on research that puts human stem cells into nonhuman animal embryos.
New CRISPR Protein Slices through Genomes, Patent Problemsby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewSeptember 25th, 2015With patent rights and Nobel Prize announcements pending, the Broad Institute's Feng Zhang reports the development of a new CRISPR gene editing enzyme.
Considering CRISPR: Putting a thumb on the scale?by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 24th, 2015The National Academies have announced the date for their International Summit on Human Gene Editing. Are some of the organizers trying to predetermine the outcome?
The hidden risks for 'three-person' babiesby Garry HamiltonNature NewsSeptember 23rd, 2015"There's a definite possibility you'd see things like disrupted fertility function, various forms of metabolic syndromes and changes in things that relate to metabolism in general."
Center for Genetics and Society comments on First Application to Pursue Genome Editing Research in Human Embryos[Press statement]September 18th, 2015"If scientists and the regulatory agency in the UK are serious about responsible use of powerful new gene altering technologies, they won't be rushing ahead in ways that could open the door to genetically modified humans."
The Rhetorical Two-Step: Steven Pinker, CRISPR, and Disabilityby George Estreich, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 4th, 2015Steven Pinker’s invitation for bioethics to “get out of the way” of the CRISPR revolution typifies a rhetorical pattern: uncritical support for human-focused biotech is paired with a negative view of disability.
Calls for IVF laws to be changed to take advantage of gene editing technique by Steve ConnorThe IndependentSeptember 2nd, 2015A statement by medical research funders in the UK suggests that benefits of modifying the human germ-line could outweigh the ethical objections.
Genome Editing: The Age of the Red Pen [Cites CGS]The EconomistAugust 22nd, 2015Germline editing is widely seen as a bourn no ethical traveller should cross. Some scientists want a moratorium on any work aimed at engineering the germ line; others say basic research should continue.
'Gene Drive': Scientists Sound Alarm Over Supercharged GM Organisms Which Could Spread in the Wild and Cause Environmental Disastersby Steve ConnorThe IndependentAugust 2nd, 2015Scientists fear new technique for generating “supercharged” genetically modified organisms that can spread rapidly in the wild may be misused and cause health emergency or environmental disaster.
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.
Can We Cure Genetic Diseases Without Slipping Into Eugenics?by Nathaniel ComfortThe NationJuly 16th, 2015Gene editing could correct genetic mutations for serious illnesses. Will it also create a new eugenics of personal choice?
Our Focus on the Future Present by Jacob CornInnovative Genomics Initiative blogJuly 6th, 2015At this time, the Innovative Genomics Initiative Lab will not do research on human germline editing for the following several reasons.
Genetically Modified Humans? Seven Reasons to Say “No”by Center for Genetics and SocietyCrossing the threshold into inheritable human genetic alterations has long been considered dangerously unacceptable for both safety and social reasons.
Editing Of Human Embryo Genes Raises Ethics Questionsby Britt E. EricksonChemical & Engineering NewsJune 29th, 2015With the promise of gene-editing tools come worries that the technology could be used to create designer babies with enhanced traits, such as higher intelligence or greater beauty.
The Promise and Peril of Crisprby John Lauerman and Caroline ChenBloomberg BusinessweekJune 25th, 2015The "cheap gene-editing method could lead to cures — and frankenbabies."
US Congress Moves to Block Human-Embryo Editingby Sara ReardonNature NewsJune 25th, 2015The House appropriations committee has approved a spending bill that would prohibit the FDA from spending money to evaluate research or clinical applications on gene editing in human embryos.
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.
"Jurassic World" and the Dinosaurs at the USDAby Rachel SmolkerTruthoutJune 22nd, 2015The regulations of the US Department of Agriculture are in desperate need of an overhaul if they are to protect the public from the derailing of billions of years of evolution for the purpose of corporate profit-making.
Manipulating the Genome of Human Embryos: Some Unforeseen Effectsby Craig HoldregeThe Nature InstituteJune 22nd, 2015Over and beyond technical issues is the pressing ethical concern: should researchers cross the line into genetically manipulating human embryos?
California Stem Cell Agency Symposium: 'Vague Fears' vs. Potential Genetic Alteration of Human Race[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJune 11th, 2015California’s $3 billion stem cell agency has called a high-level meeting for next fall to examine a "red-hot" issue that many researchers say could lead to alteration of the human race.
Should We Edit the Genetic Essence of Life?by Margaret SomervilleThe Globe and MailJune 8th, 2015Will we create a new class-based society of the “gene rich” and “gene poor”? Is there a human right not to be designed?
Genetics in Medicine — Progress and Pitfallsby EditorialThe LancetJune 6th, 2015According to a White House statement, the "administration believes that altering the human germline for clinical purposes is a line that should not be crossed at this time."
CRISPR, The Disruptorby Heidi LedfordNature NewsJune 3rd, 2015A powerful gene-editing technology is the biggest game changer to hit biology since PCR. But with its huge potential come pressing concerns.
Brave New Genomeby Eric S. LanderNew England Journal of MedicineJune 3rd, 2015It has been only about a decade since we first read the human genome. We should exercise great caution before we begin to rewrite it.
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.
Academies Wrestle with Germline Editing[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Alex PhilippidisGenetic Engineering & Biotechnology NewsMay 27th, 2015“We need many Asilomar-type meetings" and participants should include "both scholars and non-scholars — people from public interest organizations of different kinds, labor unions, community groups, and church groups."
Let’s Talk About the Ethics of Germline Modificationby Gregor WolbringImpact EthicsMay 27th, 2015We need clarity about where the public discussion should take place, what exactly it should focus on, and who should participate.
Center for Genetics and Society comments on White House and National Academies approaches to altering the human germline[Press statement]May 27th, 2015“The endorsement of a pause by the White House is an important first step."
Public Polling on Human Genetic Modification: Mixed, but Favor Moratoriumby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogMay 23rd, 2015The results make a case for more inclusion of the public in the dialogue on the use of gene editing in humans.
Eugenics Lurk in the Shadow of CRISPRby Robert PollackScienceMay 22nd, 2015This opening to germline modification is, simply put, the opening of a return to the agenda of eugenics: the positive selection of “good” versions of the human genome and the weeding out of “bad” versions.
Why We Need To Talk Now About The Brave New World Of Editing Genesby Carey GoldbergWBURMay 22nd, 2015Suddenly, it’s no longer purely science fiction that humankind will have the ability to tinker with its own gene pool. But should it?
The New Ethical Frontier: DIY Eugenicsby Michael CookMercatorNetMay 21st, 2015A disruptive technology promises both medical advances and moral controversy.
US Science Academies Take on Human-Genome Editing[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Sara ReardonNatureMay 18th, 2015The academies will hold an international summit this autumn, and establish a working group to develop a consensus statement.
Francis Collins on CRISPR: "Designer Babies Make Great Hollywood — And Bad Science"by Julia BelluzVoxMay 18th, 2015There's a strong consensus that is a line we should not cross.
National Academies Will Meet to Guide 'Gene Editing' Researchby Lisa M. KriegerSan Jose Mercury NewsMay 18th, 2015The landmark conference will gather researchers and other experts. One observer warns, "This is an ethical, social and human issue, not a technological issue. I don't think the scientists are the right people to be addressing it."
The Genome Engineering Revolutionby Ryan Clarke and James HyunTech CrunchMay 13th, 2015A brief introduction to the CRISPR-cas9 system.
Regulate Gene Editing in Wild Animalsby Jeantine LunshofNature World ViewMay 12th, 2015Unless properly regulated and contained, this research has the potential to rapidly alter ecosystems in irreversible and damaging ways.
Gene Editing of Human Embryos – More Ethical Questions to Answerby Dr Calum MacKellarBioNewsMay 11th, 2015It is clear that the safety and efficiency of gene-editing procedures on early embryos give rise to significant biomedical challenges. Ethical questions also need to be addressed.
UC, MIT Battle Over Patent to Gene-Editing Toolby Lisa M. KriegerSan Jose Mercury NewsMay 9th, 2015UC Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna filed for a patent first. But in a shocking turn of events, MIT and Zhang won last month, earning the patent that covers use of CRISPR in every species except bacteria.
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.
Splice of Lifeby EditorialNatureMay 6th, 2015Now is a good time for a public debate about human germline editing. Voices from civil society outside the closeted worlds of science, bioethics and regulation be heard, and their viewpoints must help to set the terms of the debate.
Editing Human Germline Cells Sparks Ethics Debate[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Tina Hesman SaeyScienceNewsMay 6th, 2015Powerful new gene editing tools could expand the scope of DNA alteration, forever changing humans' genetic destiny. Not everyone thinks scientists should wield that power.
Gene Therapy's 'Temporary Benefits' for Retina DiseaseBBCMay 4th, 2015Two trials of gene therapy on an inherited form of blindness in children have shown some patients' eyesight can be improved - but only temporarily.
CRISPR Germline Editing Reverberates Through Biotech Communityby BioentrepreneurNature News BlogApril 30th, 2015The group has called for a discussion of the potential merits and risks of the technology and a global moratorium on germline applications, until such time, if ever, responsible uses can be identified.
Could Genetically Engineered Humans Become a Reality?[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Robert KingWashington ExaminerApril 30th, 2015If you start to modify embryos for health reasons, then it could start humanity down a path towards non-therapeutic enhancements.
US 'Will Not Fund Research For Modifying Embryo DNA'[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by James GallagherBBCApril 30th, 2015Modifying the DNA of embryos is a "line that should not be crossed", a leading figure in US research says.
Statement on NIH Funding of Research Using Gene-Editing Technologies in Human Embryosby Francis CollinsNational Institute of HealthApril 29th, 2015There are unquantifiable safety issues, ethical issues presented by altering the germline in a way that affects the next generation without their consent, and a current lack of compelling medical applications justifying the use of CRISPR/Cas9 in embryos.
NIH Statement on Gene Editing Highlights Need for Stronger US Stance on Genetically Modified Humans, Says Public Interest Group[Press statement]April 29th, 2015CGS welcomes NIH Director Francis Collins' unambiguous statement that "altering the human germline in embryos for clinical purposes ...has been viewed almost universally as a line that should not be crossed."
Re-Engineering Human Embryos[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Tom AshbrookOn PointApril 28th, 2015Chinese scientists re-engineer human embryo genes, and set off a global moral debate.
Position Statement from the Society for Developmental Biology on Genomic Editing in Human EmbryosSociety for Developmental BiologyApril 24th, 2015Such studies raise deep ethical concerns on their own, and in addition could lead to unanticipated consequences if manipulated embryos were implanted into a womb and allowed to develop to term.
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.”
These are the Countries Where it's 'Legal' to Edit Human Embryos (Hint: the US is One) by Lauren F FriedmanBusiness InsiderApril 23rd, 2015In many places there are no laws preventing a scary "Gattaca scenario," where designer babies become routine — just some loose guidelines and a variable sense of ethics.
Critics Lash Out At Chinese Scientists Who Edited DNA In Human Embryos[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPRApril 23rd, 2015For the first time, scientists have edited DNA in human embryos, a highly controversial step long considered off limits.
Editing Human Embryos: So This Happenedby Carl ZimmerNational GeographicApril 22nd, 2015A quick guide to the history behind this research, what the Chinese scientists did, and what it may signify.
Chinese Scientists Genetically Modify Human Embryosby David Cyranoski & Sara ReardonNature NewsApril 22nd, 2015Rumours of germline modification prove true — and look set to reignite an ethical debate.
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.”
German regulator puts UniQure gene therapy appraisal on holdby Ludwig BurgerReutersApril 17th, 2015An adviser for biotech drugs to the European Medicines Agency said that Glybera lacked efficacy.
CRISPR Patent Fight Now a Winner-Take-All Matchby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewApril 15th, 2015Lab notebooks could determine who was first to invent a revolutionary gene-editing technology.
Masters of our Future: Genetic Tweaking with Mitochondrial Donationby Max GorynskiShout Out UKApril 14th, 2015It raises a question that itself provokes as much awe as anxiety: can we really modify our nature, and to what end?
A NASA Scientist Is Behind the 'My DNA Was Planted' Viral Craigslist Adby Kari PaulMotherboardApril 14th, 2015The goal was to get people thinking about whether criminals will someday be able to genetically engineer themselves out of a guilty verdict.
Genome Editing: Time to Ask the Tough Questionsby Silvia CamporesiThe Huffington PostApril 14th, 2015It is a bit disheartening that we seem not to have made any progress when it comes to governing science in 40 years, and that we refer to Asilomar as the exemplar of practice of governing science.
Genetic Engineering & The Future of Humankindby Jamie MetzlIvy MagazineApril 9th, 2015We’re on the verge of this fundamental transformation, not just of our reproductive processes, but of how we think of ourselves as humans.
The Next Manhattan Projectby Patrick TuckerThe AtlanticApril 7th, 2015Anticipating cutting-edge scientific research before it happens may be key to protecting against bioterrorism.
Genetic Engineering, Humankind Creeps Toward A 'Planet Of The Apes' by Laurent AlexandreWorld CrunchApril 7th, 2015The astounding developments in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science are posing problems that we thought only existed in science fiction.
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.
Why is the Scientific World Abuzz about an Unpublished Paper? Because it Could Permanently Change Human DNAby Ashley CsanadyNational PostApril 6th, 2015Scientists around the world are anticipating the results of a Chinese study that would mark the first time DNA in a human embryo has been modified in a way that would carry into future generations.
Who Owns CRISPR?by Jenny RoodThe ScientistApril 3rd, 2015“The technology seems so powerful, the technology seems so profitable, and the intellectual property issues seem so irreconcilable that it’s a big mystery as to what’s going to happen.”
Who’s Getting Rich Off Your Genes?by Patricia J. WilliamsThe NationApril 3rd, 2015The post-war aversion to eugenics — the understanding that despite great variability from one human to another, no one life is worth more than another — has eroded.
Doudna’s Caribou Bio Raises $11M To Expand Uses For Gene Editing Techby Bernadette TanseyXconomyApril 2nd, 2015The money will help the company speed up its efforts to adapt a versatile genome editing technique for uses including drug research and development, and industrial technology.
Mini Enzyme Moves Gene Editing Closer to the Clinicby Heidi LedfordNature NewsApril 1st, 2015The discovery expands the potential CRISPR toolbox for treating genetic diseases in humans.
Strategy: Lines in the Sandby C. Simone FishburnBioCenturyMarch 26th, 2015With some researchers calling for restraint on the use of gene editing while ground rules are laid, schisms are already surfacing on whether there's any case to be made for using the technology in human germline cells.
Practical Plan for Managing Human Germline Genetic Modificationby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogMarch 20th, 2015There is a growing sense of urgency amongst biomedical scientists to take a proactive approach to current and future use of CRISPR technology in human germ cells and embryos.
A Tipping Point on Human Germline Modification?by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 19th, 2015Amidst reports that human embryos have been modified using the gene editing technique CRISPR, several groups of scientists have issued statements proposing moratoria on human germline genome editing.
Human DNA Enlarges Mouse Brainsby Elizabeth PennisiScienceFebruary 19th, 2015Researchers have increased the size of mouse brains by giving the rodents a piece of human DNA that controls gene activity.
US Precision-Medicine Proposal Sparks Questionsby Sara ReardonNatureJanuary 22nd, 2015President Obama announced a "Precision Medicine Initiative" in his State of the Union address, but the White House is remaining tight-lipped about the details.
Biopolitical News of 2014by Pete Shanks, Jessica Cussins & Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesDecember 19th, 2014This is everything important that happened in biopolitics in 2014 (or close to it).
Commercialisation and the Moral Obligation to Create 'Designer' Babiesby John GallowayBioNewsDecember 8th, 2014Julian Savulescu made the case for a new 'eugenics', without ever using the word, at Progress Educational Trust's 2014 annual conference.
Who Owns the Biggest Biotech Discovery of the Century?by Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewDecember 4th, 2014At stake are rights to an invention that may be the most important new genetic engineering technique since the beginning of the biotechnology age in the 1970s: the CRISPR system.
CRISPR Opportunities … For What? And For Whom? by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 4th, 2014Money and deals are flowing into the companies founded on CRISPR technology, which promises to enable the precise editing of genomes.
Exclusive: First Gene Therapy Drug Sets Million-Euro Price Recordby Ludwig Burger and Ben HirschlerReutersNovember 26th, 2014The Western world's first gene therapy drug is set to go on sale in Germany with a $1.4 million price tag, a new record for a medicine to treat a rare disease.
Gene Therapy Effective to Treat 'Bubble Boy' Syndromeby Pippa StephensBBCOctober 8th, 2014During a clinical trial, nine baby boys were given healthy versions of the faulty gene that codes for the disease, and eight were still alive 43 months later.
“Evolution right now is in the marketplace”by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 11th, 2014George Church is as outrageous as ever, while both transhumanist ideas and concerns about increasing inequality are receiving more attention.
Editing DNA Could be Genetic Medicine Breakthrough[References CGS]by Stephanie M. LeeSan Francisco ChronicleSeptember 7th, 2014A new way to make powerful changes at will to the DNA of humans, other animals and plants, much like how a writer changes words in a story, could usher in a transformation in genetic medicine.
Body Upgrades may be Nearing Reality, but Only for the Richby Ian SampleThe GuardianSeptember 5th, 2014Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari says expensive human enhancements will lead to a society more unequal than ever.
Britain will be considered a 'rogue state' if it creates GM people, MP warnsPress AssociationSeptember 1st, 2014Allowing mitochondrial replacement therapy to prevent the birth of children with incurable diseases could lead to people being created for 'harvesting their parts'
Failures and Risks in Biosafety Regulationby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 24th, 2014Accidents at CDC and elsewhere point up the difficulties in regulating potentially dangerous releases of genetically modified organisms, which scientists are, quite responsibly, discussing.
Surprise: Stem Cells Help Mice with Multiple Sclerosis to Walkby Kirsten StewartThe Salt Lake TribuneMay 15th, 2014While attempting to better understand the common problem of stem cell rejection, a team of scientists in California may have found a new avenue for treating multiple sclerosis.
Broad Institute Gets Patent on Revolutionary Gene-Editing Method by Susan Young RojahnMIT Technology ReviewApril 16th, 2014The Harvard-MIT genomic science institute stays mute on how it will assert control over the tools expected to speed cures and change gene therapy.
Editorial: Genome editing for allNature BiotechnologyApril 8th, 2014CRISPR-Cas is about to transform how we interrogate genetic variants and model disease.
CRISPR Reverses Disease Symptoms in Living Animals for First TimeGenetic Engineering NewsMarch 31st, 2014MIT scientists report the use of a CRISPR methodology to cure mice of a rare liver disorder caused by a single genetic mutation.
Texas High School’s “Issues Day” Takes on Human Genetic Engineeringby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 26th, 2014A private San Antonio high school, Saint Mary’s Hall, holds an annual “Issues Day.” The topic this year, chosen by a committee of the junior class, was human genetic engineering.
Chinese Billionaire Funding CRISPR Research at University of Californiaby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesMarch 19th, 2014Li Ka-shing funds a new institute devoted to genomic editing and company development, as questions are raised about the distortions charitable donations cause to research funding.
His Fertility Advance Draws Ire: Shoukhrat Mitalipov’s Mitochrondrial Manipulations[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Sabrina TeverniseNew York TimesMarch 15th, 2014To Shoukhrat Mitalipov, the mysterious power producers inside every human cell are a lifelong obsession.
Study Gives Hope of Altering Genes to Repel H.I.V.by Denise GradyThe New York TimesMarch 5th, 2014The idea of genetically altering people’s cells to make them resist the virus that causes AIDS may seem like a pipe dream, but a new report suggests it can be done.
A Powerful New Way to Edit DNAby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesMarch 3rd, 2014In the past year or so, researchers have discovered that a sophisticated immune system that bacteria use to fight viruses can be harnessed to make changes to the DNA of humans, as well as other animals and plants.
Rewriting the Human Genomeby Susan YoungMIT Technology ReviewFebruary 12th, 2014CRISPR could make gene therapies more broadly applicable, but, according to George Church, some scientists will be tempted to use it to engineer embryos during in vitro fertilization.
IngeniousThe EconomistFebruary 8th, 2014It sounds like science fiction, but gene therapy — introducing copies of healthy genes into people who lack them, to treat disease — is looking as if it may become science fact.
Right on target: New era of fast genetic engineeringby Colin BarrasNew ScientistJanuary 27th, 2014If we ever decide to genetically modify people, this is the tool to do it with.
Cloning Fraudster Profiled by Big Science Journalsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJanuary 19th, 2014Korean stem-cell fraudster Hwang Woo-suk has been busy trying to rehabilitate his reputation and collaborating with the Chinese genomic powerhouse BGI.
Gene doping: Sport's biggest battle? by Tim FranksBBC NewsJanuary 11th, 2014Gene doping may already be happening, but testing authorities are reluctant to discuss the specifics, and some researchers see ethical issues in withholding treatments.
Biopolitical News of the Year 2013by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 19th, 2013For better and worse, 2013 has been a year in which several related issues familiar to those who follow human biotechnology moved into the wider sphere of public discussion.
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.
Gene Therapy Scores Big Wins Against Blood CancersUSA TodayDecember 8th, 2013The treatement could become the first gene therapy approved in the United States and the first for cancer worldwide.
Overhaul Recommended for Gene-Therapy Reviewby Erika Check HaydenNatureDecember 5th, 2013A report recommends that the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee should no longer review most gene-transfer research.
Crispr Goes Commercial by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesDecember 5th, 2013A new company, Editas Medicine, has been founded by the scientists who developed Crispr gene-editing technology, with backing from several major venture capital funds.
Cambridge Company Embarks on Genome Engineeringby Callum BorchersThe Boston GlobeNovember 25th, 2013A new life-science company aims to develop therapies that can put troublesome genes under the knife, so to speak, cutting out bad DNA like a scalpel excises bad tissue.
Human Germline Hype Pings around the Globeby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesNovember 20th, 2013Crispr gene-editing technology gets a publicity push from a failing British newspaper.
'The More we Looked Into the Mystery of Crispr, the More Interesting it Seemed' by Steve ConnorThe IndependentNovember 6th, 2013An enzyme that is capable of cutting both strands of a DNA double helix at precisely the point dictated by a “programmable” RNA sequence may have huge - and controversial - implications for genetic engineering capabilities.
'Bubble Kid' Success Puts Gene Therapy Back on Trackby Linda GeddesNew ScientistOctober 30th, 2013Five children with a genetic disease that wipes out their immune system have successfully been treated with gene therapy.
When Will Gene Therapy Come to the U.S.?by Susan YoungMIT Technology ReviewSeptember 30th, 2013Several gene therapies are or will soon be in late-stage human trials. One of them could be the first to get FDA approval for sale in the U.S.
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.
Heart Gene Therapy Trial Begins by Fergus WalshBBC NewsSeptember 5th, 2013200 patients have been enrolled in a gene therapy trial to test whether introducing a genetically modified virus which is able to latch on to heart muscle cells can improve their function.
Mistakes Were Made (by Geneticist James Wilson)by Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesAugust 26th, 2013A Wired article on the history of gene therapy downplays the failings of researcher James Wilson — in whose lab Jesse Gelsinger died in 1999 — and casts Wilson as a victim who has rehabilitated himself.
Would you Edit your Genes?by Jim KozubekThe Boston GlobeAugust 3rd, 2013Major hospitals have reported jaw-dropping success using gene therapy to cure leukemia and lymphoma. All of this is promising, but gene therapy has its risks, both medically and ethically.
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.
Researchers Turn Off Down’s Syndrome Genesby Beth MoleNatureJuly 17th, 2013Silencing extra chromosome in cell cultures could lead to new treatments for the disorder.
Mice With Human Chromosomes - The Genetic Breakthrough That Could Revolutionise Medicine by Steve ConnorThe IndependentJuly 11th, 2013Scientists have created genetically-engineered mice with artificial human chromosomes in every cell of their bodies.
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.
Interview with George Church: Can Neanderthals Be Brought Back from the Dead?by Philip Bethge and Johann GrolleDer SpiegelJanuary 18th, 2013The English translation of the interview in which George Church of Harvard University explains how genetic technology and synthetic biology might permit the creation of a Neanderthal-like clone that could be gestated by a woman.
Genetic Breakthrough at OHSU[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Allison FrostOregon Public RadioOctober 29th, 2012Researchers in Oregon have created a viable human embryo by combining genetic material from two women's eggs, raising safety and ethical questions.
Advocating Human Germline Interventionsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesOctober 28th, 2012Scientists in Oregon have published a paper that explicitly challenges the legal and procedural system that forbids genetic experiments on future generations, but most reports miss the full implications of the announcement.
European Agency Backs Approval of a Gene Therapyby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesJuly 20th, 2012The therapy, which would treat a rare disease, could be the first regulatory approval of gene therapy in the Western world.
Treatment for Blood Disease Is Gene Therapy Landmarkby Nicholas WadeNew York TimesDecember 10th, 2011Hemophilia B is the first well-known disease to appear treatable by gene therapy, a technique with a 20-year record of almost unbroken failure.
Gene Therapy Can Protect Against HIVAn introduced gene conveys long-lived resistance to HIV infection in mice.by Lauren GravitzNature NewsNovember 30th, 2011An introduced gene conveys long-lived resistance to HIV infection in mice.
Richmond bioscience company makes strides in HIV research[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Hasan DudarRichmond ConfidentialOctober 18th, 2011Studies on the use of gene therapy as a way to cure HIV and AIDS are proceeding.
Thought Experiments on a History of Gene Transfer Experimentsby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesOctober 13th, 2011Would Bernie Madoff be the right author for an article on "the history and promise of investment advising?"
Gene therapy and stem cells uniteby James GallagherBBC NewsTwo of the holy grails of medicine - stem cell technology and precision gene therapy - have been united for the first time in humans, say scientists.
Stem Cells Update: Clinical Trials, Possible Funds, Long-Range Visions and Short-Term Scamsby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 29th, 2011Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are edging back into the spotlight, with some tentatively hopeful news, and some schemes, visions, government money and possible scams.
Living to 100 and Beyondby Sonia ArrisonThe Wall Street JournalAugust 27th, 2011Scientists are on the brink of radically expanding the span of a healthy life. Author Sonia Arrison on the latest advances—and what they mean for human existence.
Pro-choice women's health and public interest advocates voice concerns regarding fetal gene tests for sex and trait selectionAugust 22nd, 2011Tests raise concerns about the well-being of children, women and families and the prospect of testing for additional traits other than sex.
Identical Twins Are Genetically Differentby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesApril 5th, 2011Researchers looking for a genetic basis for schizophrenia report that monozygotic twins, always assumed to be genetically identical, in fact have different DNA.
Gene Therapy Against HIV Not a Proven Cure, Experts SayWhile promising, more research is needed to see if technique really worksby Amanda GardnerHealthDay NewsMarch 1st, 2011Experts are reacting with cautious optimism to the announcement Monday that researchers reconfigured immune cells so that they became resistant to HIV in six patients infected with the virus.
Science in the New York Timesby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesNovember 11th, 2010The anniversary issue of the Science Times section includes analysis and predictions as well as news.
Gene therapy proposed to treat depressionThe New ScientistOctober 20th, 2010It would be the first attempt to treat a psychiatric illness with gene therapy.
Gene Therapy Takes a Turn for the Betterby Rob WatersBloomberg BusinessweekApril 22nd, 2010Recent successes are giving drugmakers and patients hope.
'Pain gene' discovery could lead to less sufferingby Richard AlleyneThe TelegraphMarch 8th, 2010The discovery of a gene linked to pain sensitivity has led to proposals of gene transfer as a treatment for severe chronic pain.
Immortal Cells and Persistent Controversiesby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesFebruary 24th, 2010The riveting stories in a new best-seller are relevant to the biopolitical controversies we face today.
Gene doping real threat to Olympiansby Margaret MunroCanwest News ServiceFebruary 5th, 2010The World Anti-Doping Agency warns of grave health risk in attempt to boost performance
In New Way to Edit DNA, Hope for Treating Diseaseby Nicholas WadeNew York TimesDecember 28th, 2009A powerful new technique for making precise alterations in human DNA may greatly benefit medical gene transfer experiments.
Simple gene technique changes sex of a mouseFrom Minnie to Mickey (and all they did was turn off a gene)by Steve ConnorThe IndependentDecember 11th, 2009Simple technique changes sex of a mouse – and reveals the gender war that rages in all of us
Is Gene Therapy Finally Ready for Prime Time?by Adi NarayanTimeNovember 27th, 2009Over the past year, a series of small but intriguing advances has suggested that medical gene transfer may hold real future potential.
Cautious Optimism about Limited Gene Therapyby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesNovember 23rd, 2009Modestly encouraging signs of progress in gene therapy are welcome but should not be exaggerated.
Promises, Promisesby Stuart BlackmanThe ScientistNovember 1st, 2009Ill-judged predictions and projections can be embarrassing at best and, at worst, damaging to the authority of science and science policy.
Seeking justice for my sonHe died in a gene-therapy trial. Penn and the FDA should release the records. [Commentary]by Paul GelsingerThe Philadelphia InquirerSeptember 17th, 2009On the tenth anniversary of his son's death in a gene therapy experiment, Paul Gelsinger says questions about responsibility and current practices have yet to be answered.
The Second Coming of Gene Therapyby Jill NeimarkDiscoverSeptember 2nd, 2009For years, gene therapy produced tons of hype but no results. Recently, new approaches may have yielded its first successes.
Gene therapy edges towards commercial realityReutersMay 25th, 2009Gene therapy may be about to become a commercial reality, 20 years after the first experiments with the medical technology.
Gene Therapy's Tragedy: A Lesson for Stem Cell Research?by Jesse ReynoldsBiopolitical TimesMay 11th, 2009A gene transfer researcher argues caution for stem cell research. His advice should carry particular weight.
Looking back, years after Penn gene-therapy deathby Marie McCulloughPhiladelphia InquirerMay 8th, 2009Gene transfer researcher James Wilson says problems with the experiment that killed a teenager were "absolutely unacceptable" and ultimately "my responsibility."
Targeted Genetics, Mainstay of Gene Therapy, Faces Likely Shutdownby Luke TimmermanXconomyMay 7th, 2009The medical gene transfer company appears to be near the end of the road. It conducted the clinical trial that resulted in the death of Jolee Mohr.
Retracted paper rattles Korean scienceby David CyranoskiNatureApril 1st, 2009Nature is retracting a paper that promised an advance in diabetes treatment using gene therapy, amid confusion surrounding the paper, including allegations about fraudulent data.
Gene therapy may treat obesityTimes of IndiaMarch 10th, 2009Researchers are examining injecting a gene directly into one of the critical feeding and weight control centres of the brain.
Gene therapy offers hope of cure for HIV by Jeremy LauranceThe IndependentFebruary 12th, 2009Doctors rid man of the virus with bone marrow transplant breakthrough
Gene Doping Conference Makes Headlinesby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesDecember 24th, 2008A few advocates of gene doping by athletes regularly make the news, as they did at a conference last week.
Elderly dogs to be offered genetic enhancement to make them young againby Simon Hart and Laura DonnellyThe Telegraph (UK)November 16th, 2008Frail elderly dogs could be injected with genes which allow them to run around like puppies, with technology which could be approved by next year.
Three more blind patients helped by gene therapyby Maggie FoxReutersSeptember 23rd, 2008Three more patients treated with an experimental gene transfer approach have reported better vision.
How to Be Popular during the Olympics: Be H. Lee Sweeney, Gene Doping ExpertPhysiologist Lee Sweeney has been asked to dope an entire junior college football team, but his day job is studying age-related muscle declineby Melinda WennerScientific AmericanAugust 15th, 2008H. Lee Sweeney's work attracts athletes not just because he helps muscles function better—it's also because he focuses on gene therapy, an approach that inserts new or modified genes into subjects' cells.
How "Gene Doping" Could Create Enhanced Olympiansby Rick LovettNational Geographic NewsAugust 14th, 2008Experts say Oympic athletes may soon be able to genetically enhance their muscles to be faster, stronger, and better able to recover after workouts—if they aren't already.
Finding the Golden Genes by Patrick BarryScienceNewsAugust 13th, 2008Advances in gene therapy could tempt some athletes to enhance their genetic makeup, leading some researchers to work on detection methods just in case.
Gene Doping Hits the Headlinesby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 29th, 2008The media are speculating about gene doping at the Olympics, and Friends of the Earth is urging sports to renounce it.
German TV Documentary Suggests Genetic Doping is Possible in ChinaDeutsche Presse-AgenturJuly 22nd, 2008A hidden camera showed a reporter, claiming to be a swimming coach, inquiring about performance-enhancing stem cell treatment for athletes in a Chinese hospital. A doctor named a price of $24,000 and outlined the procedure.
Gene Therapy to Treat Cancer for First TimePress Trust of IndiaJune 19th, 2008Doctors have treated a cancer patient by injecting him with billions of his own genetically-modified immune cells
Gene Fears by Doping BodyEdinburgh Evening NewsJune 12th, 2008The World Anti-Doping Agency has called for increased awareness of the dangers of gene doping, which is thought to be the next big performance-enhancing threat in world sport.
Protecting research subjects from a broken system by Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesApril 8th, 2008Until conflicts of interest are eliminated, research subjects will never be safe.
Eight Years after Jesse’s Death, Are Human Research Subjects Any Safer?by Paul Gelsinger and Adil E. ShamooHastings Center ReportApril 4th, 2008Many things stand in the way of better protection, but perhaps the greatest obstacle is the lack of adequate federal oversight.
The Future: Think performance enhancers are a problem now?Welcome to the era of the genetically engineered superathleteby David EpsteinSports IllustratedMarch 11th, 2008If athletes develop ways to alter their genes, the very blueprints for their own muscles, there may be no test of blood or urine that can pick that up.
Nature Biotech reports CGS skepticism about IRBs-for-hireby Marcy DarnovskyBiopolitical TimesFebruary 5th, 2008An article published in Nature Biotech last September quotes CGS's Osagie Obasogie's concerns about private IRBs.
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