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About the Biotech & Pharma Industries & Human Biotechnology


The fast-growing biotech industry is playing a dominant role in shaping the development, marketing and use of human biotechnologies. Like the pharmaceutical industry, it profits by developing products aimed at treating disease and restoring health. Although some biotech products and activities are socially and ethically controversial, the industry as a whole tends to oppose public oversight and regulation.

This situation is complicated by increasingly blurred lines between private biotechnology companies and university researchers, between perceptions of serving the public interest and the profit imperatives of private enterprise, and between research and commercialization.

In recent decades, the US Congress has enacted policies that allow controversial patents (such as those on gene sequences and human tissues), and that encourage closer university-corporate relations. These policies have led to a rapid commercialization of biology and medicine, and to a significant number of university-based researchers with financial ties to private companies. Such arrangements allow them to maintain the appearance of serving the public interest while pursuing careers in the private sector.

Private industry is an important player in the development of human biotechnologies. But the lack of a financially independent counterweight like the one that public universities used to provide makes effective oversight and responsible regulation imperative. Given the impact of the biotech industry on public debate, public policy, and all of our lives, its interests must be transparent.



California needs to do more than apologize to people it sterilizedby The Times editorial boardLos Angeles Times January 21st, 2017State officials should quickly begin tracking down these elderly victims who were abused decades ago while under the state’s care. Time is short to do right by them.
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.
When a Study Cast Doubt on a Heart Pill, the Drug Company Turned to Tom Priceby Robert FaturechiProPublicaJanuary 19th, 2017After hearing from a company whose CEO was a campaign contributor, a congressional aide to Donald Trump’s HHS nominee repeatedly pushed a federal health agency to remove a critical drug study from its website.
California voters were promised cures. But the state stem cell agency has funded just a trickle of clinical trials[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Charles PillerSTATJanuary 19th, 2017The Institute of Medicine said in a 2013 review that institutionalized conflicts of interest have raised questions about "the integrity and independence of some of CIRM’s decisions."
Do We Need an International Body to Regulate Genetic Engineering?by Kristen V. BrownGizmodoJanuary 18th, 2017Science reaches across borders, which poses challenging questions for us to decide what the future should look like--locally and globally.
Controversial IVF technique produces a baby girl -- and for some, that's a problemby Susan ScuttiCNNJanuary 18th, 2017Stakes are rising as genetic modifications produced in a girl baby could be passed onto her future children. The risks remain unknown.
Fertility Futility: Procedures Claimed to Boost IVF Success Lack Supporting Evidenceby Sandy OngNewsweekJanuary 12th, 2017Of nearly 30 expensive clinic add-ons reviewed by researchers, only one drew some evidence of boosting the chances of having a baby.
The Promise and Peril of Emerging Reproductive Technologiesby Ekaterina PeshevaHarvard Medical SchoolJanuary 11th, 2017IVG, thus far successful only in mice, allows scientists to create embryos in a lab by reprogramming any type of adult cell to become a sperm or egg cell.
Obama vs. Trump: 5 ways they clash — or don’t — on health and scienceby Dylan ScottSTATJanuary 9th, 2017While Trump might play some wild cards in medicine, science, and public health, there may be some surprising continuity with President Obama’s administration.
How Gene Editing Could Ruin Human Evolution[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Jim KozubekTimeJanuary 9th, 2017There are no superior genes. Genes have a long and layered history, and they often have three or four unrelated functions, which balance against each other under selection.
2016 Fear vs Hope: Gene Editing— Terrible turning point?by Pete ShanksDeccan ChronicleJanuary 1st, 2017As the tools for gene editing rapidly advance, we approach our best chance to prevent the rise of a modern, uncontrolled and dangerously ill-considered techno-eugenics.
Unexpected Risks Found In Replacing DNA To Prevent Inherited Disordersby Jill NeimarkNPRJanuary 1st, 2017Scientists are increasingly concerned that "3-person IVF" techniques may allow flawed mitochondria to resurface and threaten a child's health.
China’s $9 billion effort to beat the U.S. in genetic testing[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Ylan Q. MuiWashington PostDecember 30th, 2016Chinese investors — both private and government-supported — are backing American start-ups and funding promising new companies at home.
UC Davis professor wants FDA to create firm guidelines for stem-cell treatments, put clinics on noticeby Claudia BuckSacramento BeeDecember 24th, 2016Now is the time for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to finalize guidelines and send notices to clinics that are offering untested treatments.
Lawmakers try to fix a side effect of reducing drug and theft crimes: Not enough DNA samples for cold casesby Jazmine UlloaLos Angeles TimesDecember 22nd, 2016A California bill would expand the state's DNA database, raising serious concerns about privacy and disproportionately targeting blacks and Latinos.
‘Gene drive’ moratorium shot down at UN biodiversity meetingby Ewen CallawayNatureDecember 21st, 2016Environmental activists’ appeals for a freeze on gene-drive field trials, and on some lab research, are likely to resurface in the future.
Why tech offers better fertility benefits than other industries[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Alison DeNiscoTech RepublicDecember 21st, 2016The benefits are part of the current talent war for engineers and other professionals. Tech workers should be cautious about using the procedures.
Four Steps Forward, One Leap Back on Global Governance of Synthetic Biologyby ETC GroupETC GroupDecember 19th, 2016196 countries meeting at the UN Convention on Biodiversity grappled with how synthetic biology and other risky technologies threaten biodiversity, local economies, and the rights of farmers and Indigenous Peoples.
Gene-editing firms form patent alliance against Editas, Broadby Max StendahlBoston Business JournalDecember 16th, 2016The announcement formalizes a legal coordination and cost-sharing arrangement among four biotech companies.
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.
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.
Trump is considering a radical to lead FDA. That’s dangerous for public healthby Ed SilvermanSTATDecember 12th, 2016Imagine being prescribed a medicine when no one has a clue if it will work — because the government never required it to be tested for effectiveness.
Historians seek reparations for Californians forcibly sterilizedby Ronnie CohenReuters HealthDecember 12th, 2016Alexandra Stern and colleagues investigated over 20,000 documents from the state's eugenics program. Many victims are alive today; California, like other states, should offer them financial compensation.
Exclusive: Mexico clinic plans 20 ‘three-parent’ babies in 2017by Michael Le PageNew ScientistDecember 9th, 2016Mexico has no specific regulations governing mitochondrial replacement or assisted reproduction.
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.
Trump, Science and Social Justiceby Pete ShanksDecember 8th, 2016President-elect Trump's appointments, so far, are frightening to anyone who cares about science, or social, economic and environmental justice.
CRISPR Heavyweights Battle in U.S. Patent Courtby Sara ReardonNatureDecember 7th, 2016UC Berkeley and the Broad Institute are vying for lucrative rights to the gene-editing system. The December 6 hearing was the first and only time the two sides will speak to the judges before the ruling.
Winners and losers of the 21st Century Cures Actby Sheila KaplanSTATDecember 5th, 2016Despite overwhelming bipartisan support, Elizabeth Warren says the bill was "hijacked" by Big Pharma to water down safety requirements for new drugs and devices.
Amid Lawsuit, San Diego Stem Cell Company Pushes Back On Proposed Regulationsby David WagnerKPBSDecember 5th, 2016Patients currently suing the company say they paid thousands of dollars for treatments that didn't work.
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.
BREAKING THE WALL BETWEEN GENE SCIENCE AND ETHICS. How Philosophy Can Provide Frameworks for a Global Biotech Revolutionby Françoise BaylisFalling WallsDecember 2nd, 2016A talk at the Falling Walls Conference, an annual science event in Berlin, reflects on the immense opportunities and threats posed by next-generation biotechnologies.
Deaths in CAR-T Immune-Therapy Trials Haunt Promising New Cancer Treatmentby Emily MullinMIT Technology ReviewDecember 1st, 2016Companies are racing to develop a new type of cancer therapy, but scientists are still assessing its safety.
How Will Trump Use Science to Further His Political Agenda?by Sarah ZhangThe AtlanticDecember 1st, 2016We have a president-elect who appears to believe in his genetic superiority, with a chief strategist who has been reported to believe the same.
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.
"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.
Steve Bannon’s disturbing views on 'genetic superiority' are shared by Trumpby Laurel RaymondThink ProgressNovember 28th, 2016The former Breitbart head's musings on voting restrictions are a dog-whistle to white nationalists. The same goes for his reference to "genetic superiority."
What’s behind those billion-dollar biotech deals? Often, a whole lot of hypeby Damian GardeSTATNovember 28th, 2016Huge deals are measured in "biobucks" — akin to lottery tickets that pay out if and when an experimental drug hits various milestones along the path to commercialization.
'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.
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
Do Your Family Members Have a Right to Your Genetic Code?by Emily MullinMIT Technology ReviewNovember 22nd, 2016When a woman gets her genome sequenced, questions about privacy arise for her identical twin sister.
Cambodia charges Australian nurse for running surrogacy clinicby Prak Chan ThulReutersNovember 21st, 2016As many South Asian countries take steps to clamp down on commercial surrogacy tourism, stakeholders are confronted with charges.
Obama’s Science Advisors Are Worried About Future CRISPR Terrorismby Daniel OberhausVICE MotherboardNovember 21st, 2016While the form biological threats will take in the future is uncertain, what is certain is that the United States is not at all prepared to deal with them.
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.
The Field of Synthetic Biology Runs on Speculative Fictionby Jason KoeblerVICE MotherboardNovember 18th, 2016As technology advances and draws us closer to unknown dimensions that may parallel sci-fi worlds, conversations must be inclusive of voices beyond science and industry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Disgraced stem-cell entrepreneur under fresh investigationby Alison AbbottNature NewsNovember 14th, 2016Davide Vannoni was barred from offering a controversial stem-cell therapy in Italy in 2015, but may be continuing his work abroad.
Increase in IVF complications raises concerns over use of fertility drugsby Hannah DevlinThe Guardian [US]November 13th, 2016Stronger drugs used to harvest more eggs could also be linked to a 40% increase in cases of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
ACCC puts IVF clinics 'on notice' over misleading success rate claimsby Madeleine MorrisABC [Australia]November 13th, 2016Some major Australian fertility clinics changed confusing marketing messages on their websites after a consumer group's investigation documented their misleading claims.
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.
A Call to Protect the Health of Women Who Donate Their Eggsby Judy Norsigian and Dr. Timothy R.B. JohnsonThe Women’s Health ActivistNovember 12th, 2016The egg market is growing, yet long-term safety data does not exist to enable donors to make informed choices about selling their eggs.
Stem Cell Researchers Anxious About Trump Presidencyby Gillian MohneyABC NewsNovember 11th, 2016Mike Pence opposes federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. But reintroducing a funding ban "would be like putting a genie back in the bottle."
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.
I’m a disabled American. Trump’s policies will be a disaster for people like me.by Ari Ne'emanVoxNovember 9th, 2016The anticipated loss of support infrastructure that is essential to living with a disability may lead to greater solidarity from other progressive groups.
America’s ambivalence about race is seeping into scienceby Taunya EnglishThe Pulse, NewsworksNovember 4th, 2016"Race has been used to oppress people, ... to kill people. Does science really want to be using a concept that is so historically loaded?"
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.
Cambodia bans booming commercial surrogacy industryby AFPChannel News AsiaNovember 3rd, 2016A government edict makes Cambodia the latest country to ban commercial surrogacy after prohibitions in other parts of the globe sparked a local boom in business.
Genetic test costs taxpayers $500 million a year, with little to show for itby Casey RossSTAT NewsNovember 2nd, 2016A new study shows that genetic testing can waste half a billion dollars a year, and lead to unclear results, anxiety, and more testing.
"Personalized nutrition" isn’t going to solve our diet problemsby Julia BelluzVoxNovember 2nd, 2016The trend of looking at DNA to "revolutionize" health lacks scientific backing and threatens to obscure environmental influences.
Genetics startup Genos wants to pay you for your DNA databy Sarah BuhrTech CrunchNovember 1st, 2016Company plans to pay participants for full genome sequencing, starting with exomes, to create a disease variant map.
The shifting landscape in biosocial scienceby Brett MilanoHarvard GazetteNovember 1st, 2016Dorothy Roberts' two-part Tanner Lectures examine how a profound shift in biosocial science is affecting race and social inequality.
Male birth control shot found effective, but side effects cut study shortby Susan ScuttiCNNNovember 1st, 2016Study's findings draw concern over whether contraceptive benefits outweigh the risks for men and women (which could be fatal).
Genetic testing fumbles, revealing 'dark side' of precision medicineby Sharon BegleySTATOctober 31st, 2016Inconsistency in DNA interpretation and in the algorithms used among databases, unregulated by the FDA, contributed to a fatal outcome for a 5-year-old boy.
Colin Kaepernick’s 'I Know My Rights Camp' cements his status as a cultural superhero in the black communityby Shaun KingNew York Daily News October 29th, 2016NFL player Colin Kaepernick distributed DNA ancestry tests at a "Know My Rights" youth camp in Oakland, citing their reconciliation value.
Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Cropsby Danny HakimThe New York TimesOctober 29th, 2016Genetic modification in the US and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to overall reduction in pesticide use.
Synthetic human genome project releases its draft timelineby Ike SwelitzStat NewsOctober 28th, 2016HGP-Write rebrands itself suggesting broader visions to synthesize "all sorts of...genomes, not just humans," but issues of transparency loom.
Fruity with a hint of double helix: A startup claims to tailor wine to your DNAby Rebecca RobbinsSTAT NewsOctober 27th, 2016Sequencing giant Illumina's new app store Helix is leading the charge of linking DNA analysis to lifestyle marketing.
Are Altered Mosquitoes a Public Health Project, or a Business?by Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewOctober 27th, 2016The fight against dengue and Zika in Latin America is turning into a contest between mosquito-altering technologies, and between profits and public health.
23andMe Has Abandoned The Genetic Testing Tech Its Competition Is Banking Onby Stephanie M. LeeBuzzFeedOctober 26th, 2016Other companies are starting to sell next-generation sequencing-based tests to the public, but 23andMe has let go the team that had been working on its project.
Fatal experiments: a maverick surgeon strikes backby Nell FrizzellThe GuardianOctober 25th, 2016A new documentary looks at the six patients who died on Dr. Paolo Macchiarini’s watch. When does pioneering medicine become reckless endangerment?
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.
There Is No Leadership Geneby Tracy StaedterSeekerOctober 25th, 2016As genetic testing becomes mainstream, some consider using it to screen job applicants. Besides being unlawful discrimination, the science is highly unreliable.
The controversial DNA search that helped nab the 'Grim Sleeper' is winning over skepticsby Marisa GerberLos Angeles TimesOctober 25th, 2016Use of familial DNA to solve crimes is growing in popularity, raising concerns of 4th Amendment unreasonable search and seizure violations.
Mail-Order Tests Check Cells for Signs of Early Agingby Melinda BeckWall Street JournalOctober 24th, 2016Personal genetic testing companies claim telomere length can signal disease risk, but top scientists say it all amounts to high-tech palm reading.
The Cash Cow in 'Fertility' Medicineby Pamela M TsigdinosHealthcare in AmericaOctober 23rd, 2016The unregulated fertility industry often fails to disclose: lucrative profits, poor outcomes, emotional burdens, and medical risks.
Blame bad incentives for bad scienceby Bethany BerkshireScienceNewsOctober 21st, 2016The publish-or-perish culture rewards researchers for the number of papers they publish, leading to sloppy and irreproducible science, and sometimes unethical practices.
Just What We Need: Slicker Infertility Marketingby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorOctober 21st, 2016A serial tech entrepreneur launches a new start-up called Prelude with a hipster-chic website downplaying the many unknowns of egg freezing.
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.
Should young women sell their eggs?by Donna de la CruzThe New York TimesOctober 20th, 2016The number of eggs used for IVF procedures is increasing, but few studies have been done on the long-term impact egg retrieval has on a woman’s fertility and overall health.
Surprisingly few new parents enlist in study to have baby's genome sequencedby Jocelyn KaiserScience MagazineOctober 19th, 2016The NIH-funded project, BabySeq, seeks to analyze protein-coding DNA for mutations in 7000 genes associated with childhood diseases.
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.
Social science: Include social equity in California Biohubby Science FARE (Feminist Anti-Racist Equity) Collective: Jessica Cussins, Kate Weatherford Darling, Ugo Edu, Laura Mamo, Jenny Reardon & Charis ThompsonNatureOctober 19th, 2016The Chan-Zuckerberg initiative should use 5-7% of its Biohub research budget to design and monitor goals of justice and equality. Otherwise, social inequalities could limit the project's potential.
The Misleading Promise of I.V.F. for Women Over 40by Jane E. BrodyThe New York TimesOctober 17th, 2016The fertility industry focuses on the 20 percent of women who succeed, not the 80 percent failure rate.
Meet Prelude Fertility, The $200 Million Startup That Wants To Stop The Biological Clock[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Miguel HelftForbesOctober 17th, 2016Despite the short and long-term risks of egg retrieval, fertility companies target young people as a new customer base, putting profits ahead of safety.
Mouse eggs made from skin cells in a dishby David CyranoskiNatureOctober 17th, 2016A research breakthrough sparks debate over the prospect of using stem cell techniques to produce synthetic human eggs from body tissue.
Can a DNA Test Really Predict Opiate Addiction?by Zachary SiegelThe Daily BeastOctober 15th, 2016A precision medicine company claims it can predict a patient’s risk of becoming addicted to opioids with 93% accuracy. But it has no peer-reviewed evidence.
DNA database could help predict your disease — then get you firedby David LazarusLos Angeles TimesOctober 14th, 2016Precision medicine raises the disturbing prospect of genetic haves and have-nots, and of discrimination based not on race, age or gender but on health.
Advocacy group anecdotes present one-sided picture of genetic testing for breast cancerby Mary Chris JaklevicHealth News ReviewOctober 13th, 2016The push to test for BRCA genes often glosses over the limited information it provides, advocates' corporate ties, and the lack of support for women who test positive.
Science group seeks to guide Silicon Valley philanthropistsby Erika Check HaydenNature NewsOctober 13th, 2016The Science Philanthropy Alliance works with wealthy individuals, including the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, on a confidential basis to advise them on funding basic research.
Three-person baby 'race' dangerous[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by James GallagherBBCOctober 12th, 2016Scientists and ethicists warn of fertility doctors forum-shopping to perform dangerous mitochondrial manipulation experiments.
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.
Designer and Discarded Genomesby Ruha Benjamine-flux ArchitectureOctober 12th, 2016Field notes from a Harvard meeting on a "synthetic human genome" moonshot reveal the anti-democratic foundations of HGP-Write.
Writing the First Human Genome by 2026 Is Synthetic Biology’s Grand Challengeby Jason DorrierSingularity HubOctober 10th, 2016AutoDesk's Andrew Hessel promises a functional fully synthesized human genome by 2026, continuing the HGP-Write hype that began with a closed meeting at Harvard in May.
Some I.V.F. Experts Discourage Multiple Birthsby Jane E. BrodyThe New York TimesOctober 10th, 2016The first IVF baby resulted from a single transferred embryo. After years of encouraging multiple embryo transfers and multiple births, the rates are finally dropping.
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.”
White Nonsense: Alt-right trolls are arguing over genetic tests they think “prove” their whitenessby Elspeth ReeveVICE NewsOctober 9th, 2016The pseudo-science of "biological race" is perpetuated by white nationalist online communities with "ancestral evidence" provided by 23andMe.
President signs Senate bill that protects eugenics victimsby Richard CraverWinston-Salem JournalOctober 7th, 2016State restitution payments will not decrease or eliminate federal benefits for people who were forcibly sterilized.
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."
Uterus Transplants Fail Again: Why Are They So Difficult?by Rachael RettnerLive ScienceOctober 5th, 2016Four uterus transplants using live donors took place in Dallas, a first in the U.S. But three of the uteruses had to be removed due to lack of proper blood flow.
Dramatic Twists Could Upend Patent Battle Over CRISPR Genome-Editing Methodby Jon CohenScience MagazineOctober 5th, 2016The Broad Institute has asked officials to separate four of its issued patents from the larger case, which could permit "a way for both sides to walk away with a little IP in their pockets."
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."
Corporate Culture Has No Place in Academiaby Olof HallonstenNature NewsOctober 3rd, 2016A scandal at the Karolinska Institute demonstrates the risks of academic capitalism: a global trend that turns universities into businesses.
Sally Phillips: Do We Really Want a World without Down’s Syndrome?by Viv GroskopThe Guardian October 1st, 2016The UK national health service will now cover new tests to screen fetuses for Down syndrome. A mother and actress notes the likely result: "It becomes ‘your fault’ if you choose to have the baby."
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."
Meet the guy biohacking puppies to make them glow in the darkby Kristen V. BrownFusionSeptember 28th, 2016The goal isn’t just to make glowing Frankenpuppies. "I want to make perfect dogs...I don’t want slightly imperfect dogs."
Doctors Dig for More Data About Patientsby Melanie EvansWall Street JournalSeptember 25th, 2016In the name of improving treatment, some hospitals are buying their patients' consumer and financial data from third-party brokers.
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.
As Kuwait imposes world’s first DNA collection law, attorney tries to fight itby Cyrus FarivarARS TechnicaSeptember 22nd, 2016"Compelling every citizen, resident, and visitor to submit a DNA sample to the government is similar to forcing house searches without a warrant."
Monsanto Licenses CRISPR Technology to Modify Crops — with Key Restrictionsby Sharon BegleySTATSeptember 22nd, 2016The Broad Institute has issued a CRISPR license to Monsanto, restricting any uses for gene drive, "terminator seeds," or tobacco R&D.
The End of China’s One-Child Policy Has Put Huge Pressure on the Nation’s Sperm Banksby Hannah BeechTimeSeptember 21st, 2016Unlike in the US, selling sperm or eggs is illegal in China, but sperm banks get around that by offering men "subsidies." And illegal sperm banks have proliferated.
Titanic Clash Over CRISPR Patents Turns Uglyby Heidi LedfordNature September 21st, 2016The billion-dollar patent battle over CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing has moved from scientific minutiae to accusations of impropriety.
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Announces $3 Billion Investment To Cure All Diseaseby Eyder PeraltaNPRSeptember 21st, 2016For some perspective, the fiscal 2016 budget for the National Institutes of Health is more than $31 billion.
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.
White House science advisers urge Justice Dept., judges to raise forensic standardsby Spencer S. HsuWashington PostSeptember 20th, 2016A new report cautions that widely used methods to trace complex DNA samples to criminal defendants fall short of scientific standards.
Why we need a law to prevent genetic discriminationby Yvonne Bombard, Ronald Cohn & Stephen SchererThe Globe and Mail [Canada]September 19th, 2016After unanimous passage through Canada's Senate, a bill on genetic discrimination is now before the House of Commons.
Human Chimera Research’s Huge (and Thorny) Potentialby Paul KnoepflerWiredSeptember 19th, 2016A stem cell researcher notes a range of tough bioethical questions on the table if the NIH moves forward with lifting its research ban.
Why Some Of India's Surrogate Moms Are Full Of Regretby Julie McCarthyNPRSeptember 18th, 2016Women employed as surrogates are rarely in a position to change the fundamental circumstance of their poverty because the payments simply aren't enough.
US toughens rules for clinical-trial transparencyby Sara ReardonNature NewsSeptember 16th, 2016Under new regulations, researchers must register information on the design and results of clinical trials within 21 days of enrolling their first patient, regardless of outcome.
‘Motherless babies!’ How to create a tabloid science headline in five easy stepsby Gretchen VogelScience MagazineSeptember 14th, 2016Here's the recipe for transforming a modest developmental biology paper into a blockbuster story.
Peru Fails to Deliver for Indigenous Womenby Shena CavalloopenDemocracySeptember 12th, 2016Some 300,000 poor rural indigenous people were forcibly sterilized according to state "quotas," but a public prosecutor has decided not to pursue charges of "crimes against humanity."
When Evolution Fights Back Against Genetic Engineeringby Brooke BorelThe AtlanticSeptember 12th, 2016Gene drive technology raises intense ethical and practical concerns, not only from critics but from the very scientists who are working with it.
Seeking to Join Editas, Intellia, CRISPR Therapeutics Makes Long Awaited IPO Pushby Ben FidlerXconomySeptember 12th, 2016Emmanuelle Charpentier’s biotech firm has filed to go public, joining the start-ups of other CRISPR-Cas9 co-discoverers: Jennifer Doudna and Feng Zhang.
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.
Will Genetic Engineering Really Change Everything Forever? [Video Review]by Elliot HosmanSeptember 8th, 2016The hype surrounding CRISPR gene editing and a future of designer babies is on playback with a popular new video. Is its optimism justified? And who decides what’s inevitable?
Scandals Waiting to Happen: Institutional Conflicts of Interest at California Stem Cell Agencyby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesSeptember 8th, 2016StemCells Inc., which has received tens of millions of dollars from the state-funded stem cell agency, paid its president a hefty sum when he joined its board a week after resigning his position.
Victory: Eggs-for-Research Bill Dies in California Legislatureby Emily Galpern, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 8th, 2016A bill that would have expanded the commercial markets for human eggs, putting women’s health at risk, never made it to the Governor’s desk.
Women Freeze Eggs to Gain Time to Find the Right Partners Study Findsby Nicola DavisThe Guardian September 7th, 2016"It is quite dangerous to start suggesting that by medicalising a social problem, we can cure it."
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.
The Perils of Planned Extinctionsby Claire Hope CummingsProject SyndicateSeptember 6th, 2016Instead of taking time to fully consider the ethical, ecological, and social issues of gene-drive technology, many are aggressively promoting its use in conservation.
Stem Cell Company Paid $443,500 to Former Head of State Agency That Funds Researchby David JensenThe Sacramento BeeSeptember 1st, 2016Conflict-of-interest allegations have dogged the agency since it was created in 2004 by California voters to use state bond proceeds to finance stem cell research.
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.
Sperm Donor at Heart of Canadian Lawsuits Admits He Lied to Company Xytex, Police Sayby Diana MehtaThe Canadian PressAugust 30th, 2016Amidst pending lawsuits, Sperm Donor 9623 has turned himself in to the police for "falsifying paperwork."
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
Forget Ideology, Liberal Democracy’s Newest Threats Come From Technology and Bioscienceby John NaughtonThe GuardianAugust 28th, 2016Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, reviewed here, argues that "In the 21st century, those who ride the train of progress will acquire divine abilities of creation and destruction, while those left behind will face extinction."
Adopted Koreans, Stymied in Search of Birth Parents, Find Hope in a Cotton Swabby Marie Tae McDermottNew York TimesAugust 27th, 2016In search for birth family connections, South Korean adoptees turn to the personal genomics industry for answers.
Why India’s New Surrogacy Bill Is Bad For Womenby Sharmila RudrappaThe Huffington PostAugust 26th, 2016In an attempt to regulate surrogacy, the bill has further deregulated the industry and opened the possibilities for deeper harms to working class women.
FBI’s New DNA Process Produces More Matches in Suspect Databaseby Devlin BarrettWall Street JournalAugust 25th, 2016In May, the Bureau reduced the number of genetic locations required for a potential match (from 10-13 to 8-9 loci), resulting in thousands of new "hits."
New Surrogacy Bill Bars Married Couples with Kids, NRIs, Gays, Live-ins, Foreignersby Express News ServiceThe Indian ExpressAugust 25th, 2016The draft bill permits only "altruistic surrogacy" for childless couples who have been married for at least five years.
Babies’ Health Could Be Affected by Variation in IVF Nutrientsby Jessica HamzelouNew Scientist August 24th, 2016Pharmaceutical companies keep the "recipe" of IVF culture media a secret, but research suggests long-term health effects for resulting children.
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.
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.
Humans of the Future Could Be Much Faster Than Usain Bolt or Michael PhelpsSouth China Morning PostAugust 23rd, 2016We could be getting closer to the post-human era, where we modify our own genetics to the point that we're less recognisably "human" than ever before.
Staying Ahead of Technology’s Curvesby Doug HillBoston GlobeAugust 21st, 2016Embracing disruptive technologies without trying to anticipate and prepare for their potential consequences is now, more than ever, a bad idea.
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."
Hacking life: Scientists ‘recode’ DNA in step toward lab-made organismsby Sharon BegleySTATAugust 18th, 2016It may not be long before scientists assemble genomes of higher organisms, as George Church proposed to do for the human genome.
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?
ExAC Project Pins Down Rare Gene VariantsNature EditorialAugust 17th, 2016A new study found only 9 of 192 variants were actually linked to pathogenic disease despite ongoing use in diagnosis and treatment.
In the Fight for Our Genes, Could We Lose What Makes Us Human?by Ziyaad BhoratopenDemocracyAugust 17th, 2016When genetics become the next currency for corporations and governments we risk the commercialization and politicization of who we are on a level far deeper than our skin.
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.
Illumina Would Like You to Sequence More DNA, Pleaseby Sarah ZhangWIREDAugust 15th, 2016The leader of the DNA sequencing market has a start-up accelerator program to find new applications for its technology.
Athletes are keeping their distance from a genetic test for concussion risksby Rebecca RobbinsSTATAugust 15th, 2016Sports competitors, insurers, and researchers are cautious about the privacy and geneticization issues behind testing for "athletic" genes.
Ethical questions raised in search for Sardinian centenarians' secretsby Stephanie KirchgaessnerThe GuardianAugust 12th, 2016Samples from residents of Sardinia’s "Blue Zone," who are famed for longevity, have been sold to a for-profit British research firm.
Inside New York’s Radical Egg-Freezing Clinic for Women[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Lizzie Crocker & Abby HaglageThe Daily BeastAugust 10th, 2016Extend Fertility in Manhattan offers egg freezing at half market price. It’s also the first standalone practice of its kind in the U.S.
The Human Genome Is Having Its Facebook Momentby Whet MoserChicago MagazineAugust 9th, 2016In less than a decade, as many people could have their genomes sequenced as use the social networking site (~1.7 billion monthly users).
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.
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.
Do Olympians Have Better Genes Than You And Me?by Christina FarrFast CompanyAugust 6th, 2016Genetic tests aimed at discerning the genetic basis for athletic ability could be used coercively, and are undermined by important environmental factors.
Silicon Valley was going to disrupt capitalism. Now it’s just enhancing itby Evgeny MorozovThe GuardianAugust 6th, 2016Tech giants thought they would beat old businesses but the guardians of capitalism are using data troves to become more, not less, resilient.
The surprisingly small benefit of some very (expensive) Big Ideasby Joe GibesBioethics @ TIUAugust 5th, 2016A new article in JAMA looks at the unfulfilled hype that has become entrenched in the fields of stem cells, genetics, and electronic health records.
The Human Egg Business: More Media Coverage of California Cash-for-Eggs Legislation[citing CGS]by David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportAugust 5th, 2016AB 2531, backed by the fertility industry, would remove caps on payments for egg retrieval, thus inducing women to gamble with their health.
The $100,000-Per-Year Pill: How US Health Agencies Choose Pharma Over Patientsby Fran QuigleyTruthoutAugust 5th, 2016Big Pharma wasn't always the beneficiary of US government-funded medicine breakthroughs. Then came the 1980s and the Bayh-Dole Act.
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.
Bill to expand market in women’s egg donations would undermine safeguards[citing CGS]by Deborah OrtizSacramento BeeAugust 4th, 2016Let’s not repeal a law that safeguards the health of women. We can support biomedical research without putting women’s health at risk.
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").
Peter Thiel Is Very, Very Interested in Young People's Bloodby Jeff BercoviciInc.August 1st, 2016The controversial venture capitalist believes transfusions may hold the key to his dream of living forever.
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.
How Your Health Data Lead A Not-So-Secret Life Onlineby Angus ChenNPRJuly 30th, 2016The vast majority of mobile health apps on the marketplace aren't covered by the federal law protecting health data, HIPAA.
Stem Cell Therapies Are Still Mostly Theory, Yet Clinics Are Flourishingby Gina KolataThe New York TimesJuly 28th, 2016570 clinics in the United States are offering untested stem cell therapies.
Editas signs genome-edited stem cell pact with GSK, Biogen biotech partnerby Ben AdamsFierce BiotechJuly 28th, 2016Editas Medicine has a hand in a number of gene therapy initiatives.
When Baby-Making Moves From the Bedroom to the Laboratoryby Natalie SchreyerMother JonesJuly 28th, 2016"You want to get the best car," says Hank Greely. "Why don't you want to get the best baby?"
We’re on the cusp of a gene editing revolution, are we ready?by EditorialNew ScientistJuly 27th, 2016Fast-moving genetic technologies may be on the road to outpacing public acceptance and debate.
THE HACKS WE CAN'T SEE: What Can a Hacker Do with Your Genetic Information?by Kaleigh RogersVICE MotherboardJuly 26th, 2016People might become vulnerable if hackers access genetic information through genetic testing databases.
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.
Human Enhancement: The Scientific and Ethical Dimensions of Striving for Perfectionby David MasciPew Research CenterJuly 26th, 2016Genetic technologies raise questions ranging from the technical to the social.
Want to enroll in a clinical trial? NIH database is huge — but lacks a few key detailsby Emily BazarThe Washington PostJuly 26th, 2016Trial sponsors are not required to disclose that patients have to pay to participate.
Craig Venter’s Latest Productionby Arlene WeintraubMIT Technology ReviewJuly 25th, 2016For now, at least, it's "only the rich who can pay right now for genome sequencing."
Taking Genomic Data Globalby Elizabeth WoykeMIT Technology ReviewJuly 25th, 2016Precision medicine startups are now focusing on Asia.
Turning back the biological clock comes at a price by Rhiannon Lucy CosslettThe GuardianJuly 25th, 2016Egg freezing is marketed as the answer to precarious young lives yet excludes most of those it claims to help.
Hwang Woo-suk's stem cell aspirations fail again by Chung Hyun-chaeThe Korea TimesJuly 24th, 2016A Korean agency has rejected the registration of disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk's stem cell line, citing a lack of evidence that it was created through somatic cloning.
Chinese parents look to genes to see what talents their child hasby Yang XiGlobal TimesJuly 24th, 2016Some parents believe this helps them make parenting decisions, including what extracurricular activities their children pursue.
Can this woman cure ageing with gene therapy?by Dara Mohammadi & Nicola DavisThe GuardianJuly 24th, 2016Elizabeth Parrish has tried out her company’s anti-aging gene therapy, but the biology of aging may be more complicated than we understand.
Uncle Sam Wants You — Or at Least Your Genetic and Lifestyle Informationby Robert PearThe New York TimesJuly 23rd, 2016The Precision Medicine Initiative will seek participants from various geographies and socioeconomic statuses across the country.
What No One Tells You About Egg Donorsby Leah CampbellMom.meJuly 22nd, 2016The profit-driven egg industry does not take the medical needs of egg donors or their right to informed choice seriously.
Should we pay women to donate their eggs for research? No, and here's why.[citing CGS’ Marcy Darnovsky, fellow Lisa Ikemoto]by Michael HiltzikThe Los Angeles TimesJuly 22nd, 2016The risks of egg retrieval, particularly long-term risks, are not yet understood due to a lack of studies.
Chinese scientists to pioneer first human CRISPR trialby David CyranoskiNature NewsJuly 21st, 2016Gene-editing technique to treat lung cancer is due to be tested in people in August.
Nudging patients into clinical trialsby Bradley J. FikesThe San Diego Union-TribuneJuly 20th, 2016Incentives include money and rewards such as iPads.
Gene Therapy Trial Wrenches Families as One Child’s Death Saves Anotherby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJuly 20th, 2016The new DNA fix stops a brain-destroying terminal illness, but only if it’s given early enough.
Fertility doc Antinori indictedASNAJuly 20th, 2016The fertility doctor is charged with forcibly removing eggs from a patient, who told police he bound and sedated her. The doctor has accused her of being a member of ISIS.
I.V.F. Does Not Raise Breast Cancer Risk, Study Showsby Catherine Saint LouisThe New York TimesJuly 19th, 2016While the study is large and comprehensive, its results remain inconclusive and contradict other studies.
Recruiter Matchtech changes name to Gattaca - same as the hit Hollywood movie about eugenicsby Alan ToveyThe TelegraphJuly 18th, 2016The company claims they did not even consider the connection to the film when they chose the new name.
How Do You Regulate the Digital Health Revolution?by Laura EntisFortuneJuly 18th, 2016Digital health apps and other startups may claim to be more effective than they actually are.
The White House Is Pushing Precision Medicine, but It Won’t Happen for Yearsby Mike OrcuttMIT Technology ReviewJuly 18th, 2016Costs are high and the science is not developed enough.
Do CRISPR enthusiasts have their head in the sand about the safety of gene editing? by Sharon BegleySTATJuly 18th, 2016Off-target effects and other concerns around genome editing should be taken more seriously.
Why Kickstarter’s Glowing Plant Left Backers in the Darkby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJuly 15th, 2016Do-it-yourself biologists who hit the crowdfunding jackpot have learned that genetic engineering isn’t so easy after all.
The Direct-to-Consumer Stem Cell Industry in the USby Pete ShanksBiopolitical TimesJuly 15th, 2016There are more stem-cell clinics than anyone suspected, and it’s not clear that they are operating with proper supervision.
Stanford team creates bone, heart muscle from embryonic stem cellsby Lisa KriegerSan Jose MercuryJuly 14th, 2016The research, while still contending with immune system rejection, has been able to create samples of distinct types of cells.
No One Should Edit The Genes Of Embryos To Make Babies, NIH Chief Says[originally published as "At Gene Editing Meeting, Scientists Discuss God, Racism, Designer Babies"]by Nidhi SubbaramanBuzzFeedJuly 14th, 2016Opponents of germline gene editing have strong concerns about both the safety and social consequences of altering reproductive cells.
A Medical Mystery of the Best Kind: Major Diseases Are in Declineby Gina KolataThe New York TimesJuly 14th, 2016Improvements in treatment and prevention account for only part of the decline.
Resumed stem cell study by EditorialThe Korea TimesJuly 13th, 2016Cloning-based stem cell research in Korea is set to resume, and will use nearly 600 human eggs.
Considering Gene Editingby Jef AkstThe ScientistJuly 12th, 2016"Given the world as we know it, germline genetic enhancement could exacerbate the already obscene gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots.'"
FDA Lets Cancer Trial Resume after 3 Patient Deathsby Damian GardeSTATJuly 12th, 2016After only two days, the FDA accepted Juno Therapeutics' reason for the deaths and allowed the trial to continue.
Frozen Eggs and Heated Debatesby Angel Petropanagos, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJuly 12th, 2016What’s missing and what’s misrepresented in public debates about social egg freezing?
Gene Editing: The Dual-use Conundrumby Janet PhelanNew Eastern OutlookJuly 11th, 2016The office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment further on the inclusion of gene editing as a potential "weapon of mass destruction."
Don’t Eat the Yellow Rice: The Danger of Deploying Vitamin A Golden Riceby Ted GreinerIndependent Science NewsJuly 11th, 2016From the beginning, the purpose of "golden rice" was to be a tool for use in shaming GMO critics.
After a deadly clinical trial, will immune therapies for cancer be a bust?by Damian GardeSTATJuly 8th, 2016The deaths were caused by swelling in the brain during the clinical trial.
First he pioneered a new way of making life. Now he wants to try it in peopleby Karen WeintraubSTATJuly 8th, 2016"If someone were to proceed with [three-person IVF] now, my own view is that’s probably irresponsible."
In Juno patient deaths, echoes seen of earlier failed companyby Sharon BegleySTATJuly 8th, 2016"Both companies...had only a superficial, almost cartoonish, understanding of how [the experimental therapy] works at the cellular level. And now three people are dead."
Why scientists' failure to understand GM opposition is stifling debate and halting progress by Sarah HartleyThe ConversationJuly 7th, 2016There are both scientific and social problems with "Golden Rice." Are its supporters using their privilege and authority to promote a particular technological solution to a political problem?
Cochlear implants boosted by gene therapy plus tiny LEDsby Clare WilsonNew ScientistJuly 7th, 2016Implants that use light instead of currents may facilitate hearing more easily than cochlear implants.
Biotech execs in search of human guinea pigs find eager subjects: themselvesby Elizabeth PrestonSTATJuly 7th, 2016Self-experimentation has both perks and downfalls.
President Obama’s 1-million-person health study kicks off with five recruitment centersby Jocelyn KaiserScience MagazineJuly 7th, 2016The early stages of the biobank are set in motion.
In clinical trials, for-profit review boards are taking over for hospitals. Should they?by Sheila KaplanSTATJuly 6th, 2016Commercial IRBs often have conflicts of interest.
Price Gouging and the Dangerous New Breed of Pharma Companiesby A. Gordon SmithHarvard Business ReviewJuly 6th, 2016Some pharmaceutical companies prioritize profits instead of research.
Influential Scientific Journal Rips Effort to Loosen Stem Cell Research Rulesby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJuly 5th, 2016Proposed treatments have not received FDA approval due to inefficacy and safety concerns.
FDA should stand firm on stem-cell treatmentsby Editorial BoardNatureJuly 5th, 2016Regulation of stem cell treatments is critical, given that many of the treatments don't even work.
It's been 20 years since Dolly. Where's my clone?by Sharon BegleySTATJuly 5th, 2016Cloning some animals is much harder than cloning others.
Growing Pains for Field of Epigenetics as Some Call for Overhaulby Carl ZimmerThe New York TimesJuly 1st, 2016Epigenetic marks have been thought to cause illness but that causal relationship has been greatly exaggerated.
'False Hopes, Sizable Profits' -- The Nation's Largely Unregulated Stem Cell Clinicsby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJuly 1st, 2016"The clinics use hope as a marketing tool. A weapon," writes Paul Knoepfler.
Gene-therapy trials must proceed with cautionby EditorialNatureJune 28th, 2016Past mistakes, which have ranged from harmful to deadly, must be prevented from recurring.
This scientist is trying to stop a lab-created global disasterby Kristen V. BrownFusionJune 27th, 2016"If we misuse our power, we lose the trust. That is the tightrope we walk," says Kevin Esvelt.
The Supreme Court decision that's shaking up biotechby Damian GardeSTATJune 27th, 2016A lower court's decision will stand: Sequenom can't patent its prenatal gene test because it is based on a natural biological process.
All about the base: New businesses eye the opportunities in managing genome dataThe EconomistJune 25th, 2016Currently, one firm - Illumina - controls 70% of a market worth $3.3 billion in 2015.
CRISPR Therapeutics adds $38M to Series B pot, but lags behind Parkerby Ben AdamsFierce BiotechJune 24th, 2016An NIH committee has backed a study funded by billionaire Sean Parker that will attempt to alter the T cells of 15 people with cancer.
They’re going to CRISPR people. What could possibly go wrong?by Sharon BegleySTATJune 23rd, 2016Possible consequences range from off-target alterations to conflicts of interest in the clinical trial.
Stem Cells: Where Science, Hope and Hype Meetby Danielle VentonKQED NewsJune 22nd, 2016California voters "were led to believe...that stem cell therapies were miraculous cures that were right around the corner...but that didn’t really reflect scientific reality."
A Cautionary Tale of "Stem Cell Tourism"by Gina KolataThe New York TimesJune 22nd, 2016A patient who sought dubious stem cell therapies now has an aggressive tumor in his spine that doctors don't know how to treat.
Federal Oversight Group Has Complaints But Says Yes To CRISPR Trialby Alex LashXconomyJune 21st, 2016Despite worries about conflict of interest, an NIH committee voted to let researchers move ahead with a clinical trial that could be the first use of CRISPR-Cas9 in a human treatment.
Money Behind First CRISPR Test? It’s from Internet Billionaire Sean Parkerby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJune 20th, 2016Parker’s foundation is unusual because it says it will control patents on research it funds and even bring treatments to market.
DIY sperm test to hit the market this fallby Meghana KeshavanSTAT NewsJune 20th, 2016The semen centrifuge will calculate sperm count, but not sperm motility or other factors that affect fertility.
Do women who donate their eggs run a health risk?by Sandra G. BoodmanThe Washington PostJune 20th, 2016Health advocates say that donors are being falsely reassured that the process is safe, without being told that there is no definitive research.
Start-ups selling new blood tests directly to consumers raise safety and accuracy concerns by Melody PetersenThe Los Angeles TimesJune 19th, 2016Worried about the rising number of unproven lab tests, the FDA has proposed strengthening its rules so that it can regulate the riskiest of the lab-developed tests.
First Human Test of CRISPR Proposedby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJune 16th, 2016The proposed cancer treatment is an immune therapy in which a patient’s own blood cells will be removed and genetically altered.
Stem cell factory opens door for trials of personalized diabetes treatment by Andrew JosephStat NewsJune 16th, 2016The proposed treatment for type 1 diabetes, based on induced pluripotent stem cells, could enter clinical trials in a few years.
Promising gene therapies pose million-dollar conundrumby Erika Check HaydenNature NewsJune 15th, 2016Economists, investors and medical insurers can’t figure out how to pay for gene therapy treatments.
Should We Sequence the DNA of Every Cancer Patient?by Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewJune 14th, 2016A startup plans to give free genetic tests to 100,000 cancer patients in order to steer them to drug companies.
"Safe" call? My thoughts on the latest mitochondrial replacement paper by Ted MorrowTed's BlogJune 14th, 2016The reaction from many has been upbeat, but my reading of the paper is different. Despite all the warnings about mitonuclear mismatching, it is apparently glossed over by scientists and science communicators alike."
Myriad Genetics Refuses To Accept That People Have A Right To Access Their Own DNA Sequencesby Glyn MoodyTech DirtJune 13th, 2016Despite major court rulings against gene patents, Myriad still refuses to release information from its huge DNA database built over years of sequencing patients' BRCA genes.
Are DIY gene-testing kits a good idea? by Sharon BrennanThe Guardian June 13th, 2016Over-the-counter genetic tests leave some people knowing they may develop a serious illness but unable to do anything about it.
Better Mitochondrial Replacement: But Why? by Ricki LewisPLOSJune 9th, 2016As long as there are alternative ways to have healthy children, efforts to manipulate mitochondria, unless directed at developing a treatment for patients, should stop.
The National Academies’ Gene Drive study has ignored important and obvious issues by Jim ThomasThe Guardian June 9th, 2016Some important gaps in the study include an analysis of The report ducks questions about militarization, commercialization, and food security, but acknowledges there is "insufficient evidence to support the environmental release of gene drives."
Mitochondrial Replacement Hype Goes Nuclear Including by Wellcome Trustby Paul KnoepflerThe NicheJune 9th, 2016A new paper shows serious and difficult safety hurdles, but the UK media and some UK scientists are engaging in hype, claiming the exact opposite.
Big Biotech is here — and it’s starting to look a lot like Big Pharma by Meghana KeshavanSTAT NewsJune 6th, 2016The market characteristics and goals of biotech companies align increasingly with those of pharmaceutical companies.
‘Silicon Valley arrogance’? Google misfires as it strives to turn Star Trek fiction into realityby Charles PillerSTAT NewsJune 6th, 2016Google has positioned itself to be a giant in life sciences, but its setbacks and prominent scientists’ skepticism call into question this vision of the future of medicine.
Gene editing technique could transform future [citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Fergus WalshBBC NewsJune 6th, 2016In a nightmare, "I realised with horror that it was Hitler and I was being expected to discuss this technology with him and he eagerly wanting to use it."
A 'family spat' spills out in public, as scientists debate effort to build a human genome by Andrew JosephSTAT NewsJune 4th, 2016Although it’s not a goal of the project, brewing up a complete synthetic human genome could lead, in theory, to the formation of an actual person, sans parents.
25 Scientists Just Made A $1 Billion Pitch To Build A Human Genome From Scratchby Nidhi SubbaramanBuzzFeedJune 2nd, 2016Drew Endy and Laurie Zoloth argue the project fails to ask a basic question: “Is developing capacities to synthesize human genomes a good idea?”
Scientists Announce HGP-Write, Project to Synthesize the Human Genomeby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesJune 2nd, 2016Synthesizing a human genome "immediately raise[s] numerous ethical and philosophical red flags," NIH director Francis Collins said.
California's StemCells, Inc., Flatlines; A Look at the Implicationsby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportJune 1st, 2016The company's sudden shutdown surprised and shocked some, but it also demonstrated the level of risk in stem cell 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.
Mayo Clinic lands $142 million from NIH to build precision medicine biobankby Bernie MonegainHealthcare IT NewsMay 31st, 2016Mayo Clinic will provide infrastructure to store, analyze, and host data as part of a program that aims to enroll one million people to boost President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative.
Opioids: Can a Genetic Test Identify an Addict in the Making?by Kristina FioreMedPage TodayMay 29th, 2016Two companies engage in "laboratory developed tests" to determine the role of genetics in addiction.
How should we pay for gene therapy?by Aaron Carroll (The Incidental Economist)Academy Health BlogMay 27th, 2016Unless pricing is regulated, gene therapies will likely be too expensive for most people to afford.
What It Means To Be Human Is Changing Thanks To Gene Editingby Joe Matthews (Zócalo Public Square)Huffington PostMay 27th, 2016“We might be splitting in class between those who can afford to manage our children eugenically and those who cannot.”
Tales of African-American History Found in DNAby Carl ZimmerThe New York TimesMay 27th, 2016Can genetic analyses can map histories of African American migration, slavery, and health? Critics argue such histories and identities cannot be reduced to genotype.
As an industry giant invests in science fairs, we all invest (for better or worse) in biotechby Carl ZimmerSTATMay 26th, 2016School science fairs have evolved into sites of biotech and biomedical sponsorship and cultivation.
Ethical Questions Loom Over Efforts to Make a Human Genome from Scratchby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewMay 25th, 2016Printing genomes on demand could mean custom-built organisms, difficult ethical questions, and profits for a handful of companies.
Bayer Offers to Buy Monsanto for $62 Billionby Michael J. de la Merced & Chad BrayThe New York TimesMay 23rd, 2016The merger would increase Bayer's scale of operations, whose politics and practices are similar to those of Monsanto.
Genome games: A secret meet and a controversyby Pete ShanksDeccan ChronicleMay 22nd, 2016A complete lack of transparency around a gathering to discuss synthetic human genomes triggers anger worldwide.
Is Egg Freezing Only for White Women?by Reniqua AllenThe New York Times [Opinion]May 21st, 2016In the context of egg freezing's unknown risks and success rates, black women are being excluded from "fertility insurance" conversations and face stigma.
Debate rages over use of fresh stem cell eggsby Shin Sung-Sik, Kang Ki-Heon, and Esther ChungJoongang Daily [South Korea]May 20th, 2016Some South Korean scientists want the government to let them use fresh women's eggs for cloning-based stem cell research.
Why is Congress trying to weaken the FDA's oversight of dangerous drugs?by Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesMay 19th, 2016With looser standards for drug approval, the "21st Century Cures Act" would grant pharmaceutical companies greater leeway in selling their products.
Synthetic Biology’s Second Worldby Andy BalmerPLOS Synbio CommunityMay 16th, 2016A closed-door meeting of scientists to discuss the creation of a synthetic human genome suggests a secret world for synthetic biology in which decisions are made away from public scrutiny and governance.
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
Scientists Hold Secret Meeting to Consider Creating a Synthetic Human Genomeby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesMay 13th, 2016An invitation to the Harvard meeting said the primary goal “would be to synthesize a complete human genome in a cell line within a period of ten years.”
Top scientists hold closed meeting to discuss building a human genome from scratch[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Ike SwetlitzSTATMay 13th, 2016If we can build a synthetic genome — and eventually, a creature — from the ground up, then what does it mean to be human?
Comment - Closed Harvard Meeting on Human Genome Synthesis[Press statement]May 13th, 2016A new low for scientific accountability, the semi-secret meeting looks like a move to privatize the current conversation about heritable genetic modification.
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.
In science, follow the money – if you canby Paul D. Thacker & Curt FurbergThe Los Angeles TimesMay 12th, 2016Disclosure and restrictions do not harm academic freedom. These policies still allow scientists to pursue research, while ensuring that public health is not put at risk in service of corporate profit.
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.
Indian woman gives birth at ~70 with help of IVFby Andrew MarszalThe Telegraph [UK]May 10th, 2016Post-menopausal births with donor eggs are increasingly common in India, where couples are often under intense social pressure to have children.
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.
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.
Google's DeepMind shouldn't suck up our NHS records in secretby Randeep RameshThe Guardian [US]May 4th, 2016The revelation that 1.6 million patients’ records are being used by the company’s artificial intelligence arm rings alarm bells.
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.
Dead could be brought 'back to life' in groundbreaking projectby Sarah KnaptonThe Telegraph [UK]May 3rd, 2016A US biotech firm received permission to recruit 20 clinically dead patients for a stem cell treatment.
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.
As China’s one-child policy ends, surrogacy services rise in the U.S.by Kevin SmithSan Gabriel Valley TribuneApril 30th, 2016“I’ve been contacted by 15 to 18 agencies out of China... 90 percent of them don’t have any patients. They’re just new agencies trying to make a buck."
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.
A Single $249 Test Analyzes 30 Cancer Genes. But Do You Need It?by Sarah ZhangWIREDApril 28th, 2016Color Genomics is marketing gene tests for 30 cancers, but doctors caution that our ability to sequence DNA has far outpaced our ability to understand what the results mean.
A DNA Sequencer in Every Pocketby Ed YongThe AtlanticApril 28th, 2016Oxford Nanopore Technologies, which severed financial ties with DNA sequencing monolith Illumina in 2013, is "desperately thinking of ways of bringing them down.” These include a USB-powered sequencer called the MinION.
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.
Meet The New CEO Of The $22 Billion Genomics Company You've Never Heard Ofby Christine FarrFast CompanyApril 27th, 2016Gene-sequencing giant Illumina is expanding to direct-to-consumer tests and perhaps brand partnerships, says new CEO Francis deSouza.
Dwarfism, Chemical Limb Lengthening, and Informed Consentby Joseph StramondoInternational Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics BlogApril 25th, 2016A California biotech company is testing a drug designed to "normalize" annual growth but not address health complications of dwarfism.
Inside the Hidden Global Supply Chain for Frozen Sperm, Eggs, and Embryosby Sarah ZhangWIREDApril 25th, 2016Ever-changing laws and attitudes, which vary not only country by country but within a country, can make transportation logistically difficult.
US moves to sell gene-edited mushrooms fuel doubts over British ban on GM importsby Robin McKieThe Guardian April 23rd, 2016The USDA approved CRISPR-modified crops, but a European regulatory committee's delays are dismaying some UK researchers.
AstraZeneca launches project to sequence 2 million genomesby Heidi LedfordNature NewsApril 22nd, 2016One of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies is partnering with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Craig Venter's Human Longevity to look for rare genetic differences between individuals.
Save the Mosquitosby Ashley DawsonJacobinApril 22nd, 2016We should fight Zika with better public health, not genetically modified mosquitos.
Japanese scientists given green light to modify fertilized human eggs[citing CGS]RT [Russia Today]April 22nd, 2016A government bioethics panel in Japan is allowing CRISPR gene editing in human embryos only for basic research purposes.
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