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About Biopolitics, Parties, Pundits & Human Biotechnology


Policy decisions about human biotechnologies have typically been debated among elite commissions and experts. But controversy is increasingly spilling over into mainstream news media and political debates.

This trend has been most notable in the United States, with the emergence of human embryonic stem cell research as a political issue. Stem cell debates at the policy level have made this discussion far more visible to the public.

The Bush Administration's restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research elevated the issue to the front pages of newspapers. Shortly after its announcement in 2001, partisan battle lines were drawn in ways that mirror the abortion rights divide.

Republicans hoped that opposition to research that destroys embryos would increase support among their party's religious conservative base. Democrats countered by assembling a coalition of patient advocates, biomedical researchers, and biotechnology entrepreneurs and appealed to moderate swing voters and Republicans who they believed would be swayed by promises of cures.

There were some notable exceptions to this partisan line-up. Some conservatives support embryonic stem cell research; some liberals and progressives who support the research in principle criticize aspects of its conduct and regulation. Unfortunately, the polarized debate has frequently distorted facts while obscuring a range of important social issues unrelated to the moral status of embryos.



We Are This Close to "Designer Babies"[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Nina Liss-SchultzMother JonesFebruary 8th, 2016Marcy Darnovsky highlights seven issues to consider in light of the UK's push to use CRISPR gene editing on human embryos for research.
We need to talk about egg freezingby Eva WisemanThe GuardianFebruary 7th, 2016It’s expensive, frustrating and can be traumatic. As more and more women make the choice to freeze their eggs, do they know exactly what they’re getting into?
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."
Taking race out of human geneticsby Michael Yudell, Dorothy Roberts, Rob DeSalle & Sarah TishkoffScienceFebruary 5th, 2016"We believe the use of biological concepts of race in human genetic research—so disputed and so mired in confusion—is problematic at best and harmful at worst. It is time for biologists to find a better way."
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).
Pentagon to Offer Plan to Store Eggs and Sperm to Retain Young Troopsby Michael S. SchmidtThe New York TimesFebruary 3rd, 2016A pilot program will pay for troops to have their gametes frozen, in an effort to make military service more appealing and family friendly.
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.
DNA Got a Kid Kicked Out of School—And It’ll Happen Againby Sarah ZhangWiredFebruary 1st, 2016Genetic discrimination. Get used to those two words together. With DNA tests cheap and readily available, the potential for discrimination based on the results has gone way up.
A Conversation With No Más Bebés Filmmakers Virginia Espino and Renee Tajima-Peñaby Tina VasquezRH Reality CheckFebruary 1st, 2016Get a glimpse into the making of No Más Bebés, the documentary that looks into the sterilization of Mexican women during the late 1960s and early 1970s in Los Angeles County.
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.
Center for Genetics and Society statement on UK approval of Gene Editing research using Human Embryos[Press statement]February 1st, 2016“Is today's decision part of a strategy to overturn the widespread agreement that puts genetically modified humans off limits?”
We Need More Proof That Prenatal Gene Screens Are Beneficialby The EditorsScientific AmericanFebruary 1st, 2016Results from screening tests can be misleading. Industry and federal regulators are not doing enough to ensure that people get all the information they need.
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.
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.
Italy Considers Civil Unions — But May Add Penalties for Surrogacyby Trudy RingThe AdvocateJanuary 22nd, 2016As Italy’s Parliament prepares to debate a civil unions bill, some lawmakers have proposed an amendment punishing couples who use overseas surrogates to become parents.
Viet Nam welcomes its first surrogate babyby VNSViet Nam NewsJanuary 22nd, 2016In Viet Nam, only close relatives may act as surrogates, and the intended mother must be unable to have children for health reasons.
‘No Más Bebés’: Documentary Highlights History of Forced Sterilizations in L.A.by Sonali KolkhatkarTruthDigJanuary 21st, 2016The film covers a grisly era of California history—the forced sterilization of untold numbers of poor, mostly Latino, Spanish-speaking women in the 1960s and 70s.
Why Morphological Freedom Is a Fantasy: Your Body Isn't Just Your Own[cites CGS]by Sarah SloatInverseJanuary 21st, 2016Transhumanists claim complete freedom to modify their bodies, but that absolutist stance could endanger future generations.
Could DTC Genome Testing Exacerbate Research Inequities?by Christine Aicardi, Maria Damjanovicova, Lorenzo Del Savio, Federica Lucivero, Maru Mormina, Maartje Niezen & Barbara PrainsackThe Hastings Center ReportJanuary 20th, 2016The expansion of 23andMe’s database as a resource for genetic science may aggravate existing biases in disease research, leading to impoverished knowledge and exacerbated inequalities.
Mexico's Booming Business of Producing Babies for Foreigners Is About To Go Bustby Gabriela GorbeaVICE NewsJanuary 19th, 2016A reform approved by Tabasco's congress removes the surrogacy boom's main two markets — childless foreigners in general, and childless foreign gay couples in particular.
Down's Syndrome people risk 'extinction' at the hands of science, fear and ignoranceby Tim StanleyThe TelegraphJanuary 18th, 2016The true moral test of a society is not how pretty, sober or well organised it is – but how it treats its most vulnerable, even its most difficult, citizens.
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.
Jordan Middle School, other schools now up for renamingby Elena KadvanyPalo Alto WeeklyJanuary 13th, 2016Middle school students and their parents are objecting to their school being named for Stanford University founding president David Starr Jordan, because of his involvement in the eugenics movement.
Hemophilia Patient or Drug Seller? Dual Role Creates Ethical Quandaryby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesJanuary 13th, 2016Drugs for hemophilia are so lucrative, drugmakers are hiring patients and their relatives to gain an inside track and access in selling their products.
The Third Rail of the CRISPR Moonshot: Minding the Germlineby Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesJanuary 13th, 2016Millions of dollars are flowing to biotech companies developing gene-editing therapies. Fortunately, most are publicly denouncing germline applications.
Take an online DNA test and you could be revealing far more than you realiseby Andelka Phillips The ConversationJanuary 12th, 2016Consumers shouldn't rely on the terms of personal genomics companies' contracts to protect their privacy or rights.
Bay Area biologist's gene-editing kit lets do-it-yourselfers play God at the kitchen tableby Lisa M. KriegerContra Costa TimesJanuary 11th, 2016"I want to democratize science," says Josiah Zaynor, who builds inexpensive CRISPR kits to encourage non-scientists to learn genome editing skills.
I fathered 800 children, claims sperm donorby Natalie Morton & Sarah BellBBC NewsJanuary 11th, 2016An unlicensed UK sperm donor has been connecting with intended parents online for 16 years, donating once a week and charging $50 a pop.
California’s Proposed Budget Upholds ‘Racist, Sexist, Classist’ Policyby Tina VasquezRH Reality CheckJanuary 11th, 2016The Maximum Family Grant is designed to discourage low-income mothers from having children.
Why Is Sperm So Damn Expensive?by Brittany MaloolyVICE BroadlyJanuary 10th, 2016On the sperm market, the amount of labor that's involved in obtaining so-called premium gametes drives sperm prices sky high.
Belgium's Top Ad Execs Are Donating Sperm and Eggs to Ensure the Nation's Creative Futureby Angela NatividadAdweekJanuary 8th, 2016The "vaguely eugenicist" campaign, called "Ad Babies," asks creative professionals to donate sperm and eggs.
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.
Surrogate Sues Father Over Tripletsby Brandy ZadroznyThe Daily BeastJanuary 6th, 2016In response to an intended parent's request to abort one of three fetuses, a pregnant plaintiff says she will carry them all to term and is suing to keep at least one of the babies.
Beer vs. Eugenics: The Good And The Bad Uses Of Statistics by Jerry BowyerForbesJanuary 6th, 2016Economists and other mathematical statisticians have an ethical obligation to reject the notion that research methods are ethically neutral.
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?"
Study: Transparency Lacking in Biomedical Literatureby Anna AzvolinskyThe ScientistJanuary 4th, 2016"There is a growing momentum and appreciation for the importance of open science and recognition that our scientific enterprise may not be serving the public interest by sequestering data."
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.
The billion dollar babiesby Vandy Muong & Will JacksonThe Phnom Penh Post [Cambodia]January 2nd, 2016Now banned in India, Nepal and Thailand, the surrogacy industry is moving into Cambodia, but potential parents are being warned to stay away.
Whatever Happened to Human Experimentation?by Carl ElliottHastings Center ReportJanuary 1st, 2016The choice to abandon the word “experiment” is emblematic of a larger movement beginning in the 1990s, in which many bioethics scholars moved from being critics of the research enterprise to being its champions.
The problem with science journalism: we’ve forgotten that reality matters mostby Brooke BorelThe GuardianDecember 30th, 2015It is the reporter's job to maintain skepticism, look beyond hypotheses and data, find conflicts of interest, trace the money, look at power structures, and see who is excluded or marginalized.
Lab Pays $4M to Settle Doctor-Kickback Claimsby Bianca BrunoCourthouse News ServiceDecember 30th, 2015Federal investigators found Pathway violated the False Claims Act by offering physicians and medical groups reimbursements of up to $20 for each saliva kit they submitted for genetic testing.
Screening sperm donors for autism? As an autistic person, I know that’s the road to eugenics[cites CGS]by Ari Ne'emanThe GuardianDecember 30th, 2015The London Sperm Bank and other clinics are using technology and making decisions to remove certain people from future generations.
Crackdown on Surrogacy 'to Continue' Even as Ban Idea Droppedby Liu Jiaying (trans. Li Rongde)Caixin Online [China]December 29th, 2015Lawmakers in China believe further consultation on the complex issue is needed, but surrogacy is still effectively banned.
Rulemaking Under Way for DNA Testing for Hawaiian Homelandsby  Jennifer Sinco KelleherABC NewsDecember 28th, 2015The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has proposed rules that would allow the use of DNA evidence to prove ancestry.
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.
Synthetic Biology's Defense Dollars: Signals and Perceptions by Dr. Filippa LentzosPLOS BlogsDecember 24th, 2015DARPA aims to develop radically new, game-changing technologies for national security and to create technological surprises for its enemies.
Top Court Backs Sacking of Stem Cell Scientist Hwangby Yoon Min-sikThe Korea HeraldDecember 23rd, 2015The Supreme Court ruled that Seoul National University’s dismissal of Hwang Woo-suk, who fabricated his cloning research, was justifiable.
Biopolitical News of 2015by Elliot Hosman, Pete Shanks & Marcy Darnovsky, Biopolitical TimesDecember 22nd, 2015We highlight 2015’s breaking news stories about human biotech developments.
Top Biopolitical Times Posts of 2015by Elliot Hosman, Pete Shanks & Marcy Darnovsky, Biopolitical TimesDecember 20th, 2015Here are a few of our favorites blogs of 2015.
Ontario funds one cycle of IVF — while supplies lastby Alison MotlukCanadian Medical Association JournalDecember 16th, 2015Not all Ontarians who are eligible for a funded cycle of in vitro fertilization will necessarily get it, and it's not clear just how the 5000 annual spots will be allocated to individual patients.
Mexican State Votes to Ban Surrogacy for Gay Men and Foreign People by Associated Press in Mexico CityThe Guardian [UK]December 15th, 2015Tabasco was the only Mexican state to allow surrogacy, supposedly on a non-commercial basis.
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.
Health Canada all but ignores illegal ad for surrogate, cash for egg donors, internal documents revealby Tom BlackwellNational Post [Canada]December 13th, 2015Evidence shows that Health Canada has not just turned a blind eye, but has been complicit with illegal activity.
Policing the ethics police: Research review boards face scrutiny as feds propose new rulesby Sabriya RiceModern HealthcareDecember 12th, 2015Critics say Institutional Review Boards are too lax, have unqualified members, are riddled with conflicts of interest, and are overwhelmed by the volume of studies they must review.
Livetweeting #GeneEditSummit: Democratized Debate or Segregated Conversations?by Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesDecember 10th, 2015Though #GeneEditSummit was trending on Twitter, inclusive public debate must be more robust than the livetweeting of insular stakeholder meetings.
Stem Cell Researcher to Reddit: "Ask Me Anything" on Human Genetic Modificationby Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesDecember 10th, 2015UC Davis researcher Paul Knoepfler fielded 100s of questions on the social and technical implications of genetically modifying human cells.
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."
F.D.A. Attention to Inaccurate Lab Tests Defers Hopes of “Precision Medicine”by Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical TimesDecember 9th, 2015If we lose trust in medical tests, the foundation of “precision medicine” could fall apart.
Gene Editing: Hope, Hype, and Cautionby Daniel CallahanThe Hastings Center Bioethics ForumDecember 8th, 2015In the debate on germline gene editing, speculative harms are treated as fear mongering while speculative benefits are allowed to run wild.
Future proofingby Editorial BoardNatureDecember 8th, 2015Global discussions on human gene editing and climate change should not sidestep hard decisions on issues that will affect future generations.
About Us, Without Us: Inclusion in the Threat of Eradicationby Teresa Blankmeyer BurkeImpact EthicsDecember 8th, 2015Disability rights advocates are still excluded from conversations (such as the International Summit on Human Gene Editing) that involve the survival of our communities.
Debate begins over ethics of genetic editing[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks]by Michael CookBioEdgeDecember 5th, 2015Varying degrees of caution emerged at the Summit on Human Gene Editing.
The Human Germline Genome Editing Debateby Charis ThompsonImpact EthicsDecember 4th, 2015The range of views expressed at the International Summit on Human Gene Editing underscores the need for broader and more inclusive public discussion.
Human gene editing is a social and political matter, not just a scientific oneby Marcy DarnovskyThe GuardianDecember 4th, 2015The organizing committee kicked the can down the road, leaving the door open for gene editing for human reproduction.
No designer babies, but summit calls for cautious research[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Lauran NeergaardAPDecember 3rd, 2015The organizing committee argued that gene editing tools are nowhere near ready to use for pregnancy, but that research on embryos can proceed as society continues to grapple with the ethical questions.
Florida Police Used a Smidgen of DNA to try to Fully Reconstruct an Alleged Criminal's Faceby Erin BrodwinBusiness InsiderDecember 2nd, 2015Parabon Nanolabs recently analyzed some remnants of DNA from a crime scene — not for fingerprints, but to create a digital likeness of the alleged criminal's face.
This Week, Top Geneticists Want to Decide If GMO Humans Are OK [cites CGS’ Marcy Darnovsky]by Alex PearlmanVICE MotherboardDecember 2nd, 2015Using gene editing tools for reproduction "would be a radical rupture with past human practices that could have irreversible and reverberating impact on society.”
Scientists, Ethicists Debate Future of Gene Editing[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Karen PallaritoHealthDayDecember 2nd, 2015Stakeholders weigh in on new genetic engineering tools which could "all too easily open the door to new forms of inequality and discrimination."
Genetically engineered children?by Marcy DarnovskyThe HillDecember 1st, 2015The powerful new gene editing tools now under consideration in D.C. could be used for scientific and medical breakthroughs, or misused to undermine human rights and human equality.
Opposition mounts to genetic modification of human embryos[cites CGS and consultant Pete Shanks]by Julie SteenhuysenReutersNovember 30th, 2015A group of U.S. scientists and activists call for a global ban on the use of new tools to edit the genes of human embryos or gametes for assisted reproduction.
US scientists urge ban on human genetic modification[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks]by Ryan RifaiAl JazeeraNovember 30th, 2015A new report and sign-on statement argue that genetic modification of children and future generations could have irreversible effects on humanity.
We Need a Moratorium on Genetically Modifying Humansby Paul KnoepflerSlateNovember 30th, 2015The technology for potentially creating designer babies has progressed much faster than the deliberation of societal implications and permissible uses.
Extreme Genetic Engineering and the Human FutureReclaiming Emerging Biotechnologies for the Common GoodThe Center for Genetics and Society and Friends of the Earth examine the human applications of synthetic biology. This 50-page report challenges claims that this new set of genetic engineering techniques should be seen as "the future of manufacturing, engineering and medicine."
Future of human gene editing to be decided at landmark summit[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Ian SampleThe GuardianNovember 28th, 2015A "global discussion" will ask whether humans should rewrite the DNA of future generations.
A Controversial Rewrite For Rules To Protect Humans In Experimentsby Rob SteinNPRNovember 25th, 2015The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is proposing a major revision of the Common Rule, the first change proposed in nearly a quarter-century, prompting concerns.
San Diego Blood Donors Get Free Genome Sequencingby David WagnerKPBSNovember 24th, 2015Illumina is asking 70 San Diego Blood Bank donors to consent to free sequencing to compile a DNA database for researchers working in the field of "precision" medicine.
First CRISPR Gene Drive in Mosquitoes Aims to Eradicate Malariaby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewNovember 23rd, 2015The scientific community is at odds over whether it is safe to release a "selfish" gene into the wild.
F.D.A. Targets Inaccurate Medical Tests, Citing Dangers and Costsby Robert PearThe New York TimesNovember 23rd, 2015Inaccurate and unreliable medical tests are prompting abortions, unnecessary surgeries, putting tens of thousands of people on unneeded drugs and raising medical costs.
Putting a Price on Human Eggs Makes No Senseby Debora SparFortuneNovember 21st, 2015No one wants to deal with the ugly reality that egg donation is not donation at all, but a high price paid for a piece of one’s body.
Open Letter Calls for Prohibition on Reproductive Human Germline Modificationby Center for Genetics and SocietyExperiments aimed at creating genetically modified humans are unneeded from a medical view, extremely risky to any resulting children, and profoundly dangerous from a social perspective. Now is the crucial moment for taking a clear public stand.
California Judge Orders Frozen Embryos Destroyed[cites CGS Fellow Lisa Ikemoto]by Andy NewmanThe New York TimesNovember 19th, 2015A superior court judge in San Francisco ordered the thawing and destruction of a divorced couple's frozen embryos, enforcing the terms of the couple's pre-divorce agreement.
Scientists may soon be able to 'cut and paste' DNA to cure deadly diseases and design perfect babiesby Tanya LewisBusiness InsiderNovember 19th, 2015CRISPR gene editing tools are being proposed for a wide range of uses, many of which pose risks to ecological systems and human society.
CRISPR Gene Editing: Proofreaders and Undo Buttons, but Ever "Safe" Enough?by Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesNovember 19th, 2015Recent trends include research reports of "spellcheck" and "undo" functions associated with CRISPR gene editing, and a shift toward greater caution about germline applications.
Gene Therapy: Comeback? Cost-Prohibitive?by Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesNovember 19th, 2015Recent CRISPR news sometimes confuses germline modification - which should be put off limits - and gene therapy, which presents its own set of social and ethical risks to resolve before rushing to market.
New Rules Proposed to Address Privacy and Trust in the Precision Medicine Initiativeby Katayoun Chamany, Biopolitical Times guest contributorNovember 19th, 2015The US Precision Medicine Initiative's goal of a million sequenced genomes is helping to propel a revision to the Common Rule governing human subject research.
Move Over, Jony Ive — Biologists Are the Next Rock Star Designersby Liz StinsonWIREDNovember 18th, 2015A biotech startup that calls itself an "organism design foundry" and works with designers and artists is part of a US bioeconomy that already generates $350 billion annually.
Gene Manipulation In Human Embryos Provokes Ethical Questions[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Rahel GebreyesHuffPost LiveNovember 17th, 2015CGS's Marcy Darnovsky discusses the social implications of leveraging CRISPR gene editing tools to pursue enhanced children.
Better Babiesby Nathaniel ComfortAeonNovember 17th, 2015The long and peculiar history of the designer human, from Plato’s citizen breeders to Nobel sperm banks, and the latest iteration of human genetic perfectability: CRISPR gene editing.
End ‘stem cell tourism,’ experts urgeby Michael CookBioEdgeNovember 14th, 2015Stem cell scientists appear to have oversold their product. Now patients, tired of waiting for the cures they were promised, are seeking unproven stem cell-based treatments that are causing more harm than good.
[China] Couples in China making babies through assisted reproductionChina DailyNovember 14th, 2015Half of the 90 million Chinese women now allowed to have a second child are between the ages of 40 and 49, and many couples are turning to assisted reproduction clinics.
Why FBI and the Pentagon are afraid of gene drivesby Sharon BegleyStat NewsNovember 12th, 2015Officials from DARPA to the United Nations bioweapons office are concerned about the potential of “gene drives” to alter evolution in ways scientists can’t imagine.
[Cambodia] Gov’t to Crack Down on Surrogacy Clinicsby Chea Takihiro & Jonathan CoxKhmer TimesNovember 11th, 2015Surrogacy companies are moving their “wombs for rent” services from Thailand to Cambodia, but government officials plan to classify surrogacy as a form of human trafficking.
Theranos isn’t the only diagnostics company exploiting regulatory loopholesby Arielle Duhaime-RossThe VergeNovember 11th, 2015Startups are taking advantage of an FDA exception to offer diagnostic health tests to consumers without peer review or verification of health claims.
The Risks of Assisting Evolutionby Elizabeth AlterThe New York TimesNovember 10th, 2015Crispr-Cas9 and gene drive allow us to bend evolution to our will, but will they spark an ecological catastrophe?
British police face deluge of foreign DNA requests if UK joins EU crime database, says reportby David BarrettThe TelegraphNovember 8th, 2015Officials warn that innocent Britons could be branded criminals if the UK joins a controversial EU project.
Eggs unlimitedby Jennifer Couzin-FrankelScienceNovember 6th, 2015OvaScience's fertility procedure appalls some reproductive biologists, and is currently not permitted in the US. But the company is marketing its treatment in Canada and some analysts are upbeat.
As Companies Collect More Health Data, Cops Will Ask To See It[cites CGS' Elliot Hosman]by Stephanie M. LeeBuzzfeedNovember 5th, 2015Law enforcement will request what users share with health technology companies, from DNA to step counts. The nature and number of those requests are largely unknown.
CRISPR Gene Editing to Be Tested on People by 2017, Says Editasby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewNovember 5th, 2015The test, to treat a rare form of blindness, would likely be the first to use CRISPR to directly edit the DNA of a person.
Everything you need to know about why CRISPR is such a hot technology[cites CGS]by Dominic BasultoThe Washington PostNovember 4th, 2015Venture capital is responding to the hype surrounding new genetic engineering tools, but many are concerned by the controversial proposition of genetically modifying new humans.
How Much Should a Woman Be Paid for Her Eggs?by Jacoba UristThe AtlanticNovember 4th, 2015Is the money a woman receives for her eggs payment for her services, her discomfort, or her biological property?
Would you edit your unborn child’s genes so they were successful?by Mairi LevittThe GuardianNovember 3rd, 2015A parent’s desire to do the best for their child could create problems.
'Somebody has to be the icebreaker': Aussies seeking babies turn to Cambodiaby Lindsay MurdochSydney Morning HeraldOctober 30th, 2015A booming surrogacy industry chased out of Thailand and Nepal has established itself in Cambodia, where human trafficking laws and a lack of surrogacy regulation could produce fraught legal battles.
Genetic testing evolves, along with health and ethics debatesby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesOctober 30th, 2015The FDA approved 23andMe to provide carrier tests, turning the personal genomics service into a direct-to-consumer family-planning tool, but without the genetic counselor to explain carrier status risks.
Genetic Surveillance: Consumer Genomics and DNA Forensicsby Elliot Hosman, Biopolitical TimesOctober 29th, 2015As more biotech companies move to “cash in on the genome,” we need to connect the conversations on personal genomics, DNA forensics, immigration, and biological discrimination.
Human Gene Editing Frequently Asked QuestionsOctober 29th, 2015Should we as a society condone the genetic modification of future human beings? Here we take on some common questions about gene editing the human germline.
Fresh Territory for Bioethics: Silicon Valleyby Susan GilbertBioethics Forum The Hastings Center October 28th, 2015Biomedical researchers and Silicon Valley are increasingly looking to each other for access to human subjects and new ventures, raising questions about informed consent and the security of private genetic data.
Who Owns Molecular Biology?by Yarden KatzBoston ReviewOctober 28th, 2015A researcher at the Broad Institute explores the patent issues surrounding CRISPR-Cas gene editing, and argues for a more just sharing and distribution system for scientific research.
NAS Human Gene Editing Meeting: Agenda & Public Participationby Paul KnoepflerThe NicheOctober 26th, 2015The National Academies have released a draft agenda for the upcoming summit on human gene editing.
[UK] Women "are being given false hope" over freezing eggsby Harriet MeyerThe GuardianOctober 24th, 2015Fertility experts say the UK agency that regulates fertility treatments is not doing enough to make clear the success rates of freezing and banking their eggs.
Making Indigenous Peoples Equal Partners in Gene Researchby Ed YongThe AtlanticOctober 23rd, 2015After leaving a partnership with NIH in 2003, the Akimel O’odham (Pima) tribe is retaining control of their bio samples and shaping the goals of a diabetes project with genomic researchers.
Cops Want To Look At 23andMe Customers’ DNAby Stephanie M. LeeBuzzFeedOctober 21st, 2015The FBI and other agencies have asked for — and been denied — five users’ data, according to a new transparency report on the company's website, and chain of custody could be a legal obstacle for future requests.
23andMe Will Resume Giving Users Health Databy Andrew PollackThe New York TimesOctober 21st, 2015Two years after a forced hiatus from providing consumers with genetic health probabilities, the FDA has cleared 23andMe to provide carrier status and lactose intolerance tests.
Indigenous peoples must benefit from scienceby Dyna RochmyaningsihNature NewsOctober 20th, 2015The triple helix of science, the private sector, and government have driven the world’s economy since the Industrial Revolution, but to drive sustainable development, science must empower rural communities — not just serve industry and governments.
What's Your DNA Worth? The Scramble to Cash In On The Genome[cites CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Alex LashXconomyOctober 20th, 2015Vast pools of genomic data may unlock health secrets, but what is the risk of "sharing" our data for biotech corporate profits, and is it greater than the nebulous future rewards?
For Some Refugees, Safe Haven Now Depends on a DNA Testby Katie WorthPBS FrontlineOctober 19th, 2015The US is requiring refugees to prove they're related through a DNA test — often impossible to obtain in war-torn countries — causing worries about an unreasonably narrow genetic definition of family.
Egg Donors Challenge Pay Ratesby Tamar LewinThe New York TimesOctober 16th, 2015A judge has certified a federal class action lawsuit by women who argue that ART industry guidelines that limit compensation for eggs to $10,000 constitute "illegal price-fixing."
Could Having Your DNA Tested Land You in Court?by Claire MaldarelliPopular ScienceOctober 16th, 2015Police in Idaho accused a man of an unsolved murder via partial DNA matching based on DNA records obtained from Ancestry.com.
American Surrogate Death: NOT the Firstby Mirah RibenHuffPost BlogOctober 15th, 2015Brooke Lee Brown's death "underscores the ethical problem with asking women to serve as surrogates for non-medical reasons." Is death simply an occupational hazard in the surrogacy industry?
[India] Blanket ban likely on NRIs, PIOs, foreigners having kids through surrogacyThe Economic TimesOctober 15th, 2015A draft bill limits intended parents to Indian residents, allows single and divorced women to contract as surrogates, and addresses healthcare for women during surrogacy.
Four Synthetic Biology Inventions That Flummox the Fedsby Kelly ServickScienceOctober 15th, 2015As researchers develop ways to genetically engineer living organisms, studies highlight the lack of clarity about which US regulatory agency would be charged with approval or oversight.
Handheld DNA reader revolutionary and democratising, say scientistsby Ian SampleThe GuardianOctober 15th, 2015The $1,000 device is not designed to read human genomes, but it can quickly identify bacteria and viruses, and spot different gene variants in sections of human genetic code.
The CRISPR Germline Debate: Closed to the Public?by Elliot HosmanBiopolitical TimesOctober 15th, 2015Recent CRISPR media coverage focuses on hype rather than engaging the ethical and social implications of the groundbreaking technology—even as many call for public inclusion in the genome editing debate.
After Asilomarby EditorialNature NewsOctober 14th, 2015Scientist-led conferences are no longer the best way to resolve debates on controversial research, and scientists who wish to self-regulate ignore public outcry at their peril.
Where in the world could the first CRISPR baby be born?by Heidi LedfordNature NewsOctober 13th, 2015Nature surveys the legal landscape of 12 countries with well-funded biological research and finds variety of bans on human genome editing in research or reproduction.
Feminists, get ready: pregnancy and abortion are about to be disruptedby Eleanor RobertsonThe GuardianOctober 12th, 2015A clinical trial of uterine transplants will begin soon in the UK. Are artificial wombs on the horizon?
Video Review: Talking Biopolitics[cites CGS and CGS fellow Lisa Ikemoto]by Rebecca DimondBioNewsOctober 12th, 2015George Annas spoke with Lisa Ikemoto about his new book on genomic medicine and genetic testing.
What's Missing From Ontario's IVF Policy?by Vanessa GrubenOttawa CitizenOctober 11th, 2015The province should require collection of anonymized data on IVF use, success rates, and complications; it should also address the information needs of children conceived via donor gametes.
Sky-high price of new stem cell therapies is a growing concernby Michael HiltzikLos Angeles TimesOctober 9th, 2015Late-stage clinical trials of two treatments backed by California's $6-billion stem cell program are underway. Will Californians be able to afford them?
Genes can’t be patented, rules Australia’s High Courtby Michael SlezakNew ScientistOctober 7th, 2015The decision is considered stronger than the similar one by the US Supreme Court.
DNA At the Fringes: Twins, Chimerism, and Synthetic DNAby Erin E. MurphyThe Daily BeastOctober 7th, 2015DNA tests are thought to be conclusive, but our genetic material acts in mysterious ways. Chimerism, for example, may "undermine the very basis of the forensic DNA system."
UNESCO Calls for More Regulations on Genome Editing, DTC Genetic Testingby StaffGenomeWebOctober 6th, 2015The organization's International Bioethics Committee reaffirms its support for a moratorium on modifying the human germline.
Designer babies crawl closerby Laurie ZolothCosmos MagazineOctober 5th, 2015Embryo engineering has been rejected by every ethics committee that has ever considered it.
CRISPR-Cpf1: Hype by Association by Elliot HosmanOctober 2nd, 2015Amid Nobel Prize predictions for CRISPR-Cas9 research, a new CRISPR associated protein takes the media and science community by storm, even as its utility remains unclear.
Ontario to Cover In-Vitro Fertilization Treatments[Canada]by Rob FergusonThe StarOctober 1st, 2015Ontario has become the second Canadian province to cover some of the costs of IVF.
List of Speakers for NAS Meeting on Human Gene Editingby Paul KnoepflerKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogOctober 1st, 2015A preliminary list of speakers for the National Academies' international summit on human gene editing has emerged, showing a troubling lack of diversity.
Womb transplants given UK go-aheadBBCSeptember 30th, 2015Ten women will be chosen for a clinical trial that will transplant a donated uterus, monitor organ acceptance for a year, and initiate up to two IVF pregnancies before removing the transplant.
Scientists Find Gene Editing with CRISPR Hard to Resist[quotes Marcy Darnovsky and Pete Shanks]by Cameron ScottHealthlineSeptember 29th, 2015CRISPR is so cheap and easy to use, we may be genetically engineering human embryos before we have time to decide if we should.
DARPA Gives MIT Lab $32 Million to Program Living Cellsby Alexandra OssolaPopular ScienceSeptember 29th, 2015The contract will allow synthetic biology and computer scientists to join forces with chemical, pharma, food, energy, agriculture, and biotech companies. What DARPA hopes to gain remains vague.
Limits of Responsibility: Genome Editing, Asilomar, and the Politics of Deliberationby J. Benjamin HurlbutHastings Center ReportSeptember 28th, 2015What justifies the notion that CRISPR has caught us off guard or that it is appropriate for experts to retreat into secluded spaces to define the parameters of public debate?
Born that way? ‘Scientific’ racism is creeping back into our thinking. Here’s what to watch out for.by W. Carson Byrd & Matthew W. HugheyWashington PostSeptember 28th, 2015Recent studies show the media and white communities embracing the idea of racial genetic differences, twisting history and circumventing effective policy strategies.
The Messy, Complicated Nature of Assisted Reproductive Technology[cites CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by J. Wesley JuddPacific StandardSeptember 28th, 2015A California court ART case shows that even when there is a contract, the issues are far from black and white.
Why the Majority of Sperm Donations in Canada Are from the U.S.[Canada]by Jim BrownCanadian Broadcasting CorporationSeptember 27th, 2015Only 5-10% of donated sperm in Canada is from domestic donors; the majority comes from US providers who, unlike their counterparts north of the border, are paid.
Who has your DNA—or wants itby Jocelyn KaiserScienceSeptember 25th, 2015More and more groups are amassing computer server–busting amounts of human DNA. At least 17 biobanks that hold, or plan to hold, genomic data on 75,000 or more people.
Couples Left in Limbo as They Await Ontario IVF Funding Decision [Canada]by Elizabeth ChurchThe Globe and MailSeptember 25th, 2015In 2014, the Ontario government pledged to fund one IVF cycle, but 18 months later, couples struggling with infertility are still waiting.
What If Tinder Showed Your IQ?by Dalton ConleyNautilusSeptember 24th, 2015Hypothetical scenarios from a future in which human genetic engineering is pervasive.
Ohio Abortion Bill Stokes Old Tensions between Disability and Abortion Rights Advocatesby Emma ManiereBiopolitical TimesSeptember 24th, 2015A round-up of recent articles and commentaries about Ohio’s HB 135, which would ban abortions sought due to fetal diagnoses of Down syndrome.
A $6 Billion Question: Affordability of California's Stem Cell Therapiesby David JensenCalifornia Stem Cell ReportSeptember 23rd, 2015The California stem cell agency will cost taxpayers $6 billion by 2020. But the agency isn't discussing what any therapies are likely to cost, or whether it should focus on affordable treatments.
Down Syndrome Blood Test Sparks Abortion Debateby Amy Dockser MarcusWall Street JournalSeptember 21st, 2015Advocates worry that more accurate prenatal tests will lead more people to end pregnancies without understanding how life with Down syndrome has dramatically changed.
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."
Prosecutor backs expanded DNA testingby Evan AllenBoston GlobeSeptember 17th, 2015A new Massachusetts bill would allow police officers to obtain genetic material at the point of felony arrest — creating what Justice Scalia calls the "genetic panopticon."
As Ontario Set to Roll Out IVF program, Panel Urges Those Older than 42, Severely Obese be Excluded[Canada]by Tom BlackwellNational PostSeptember 14th, 2015The recommendations are aimed at avoiding the cost overruns that doomed a similar plan for government funding of IVF in Quebec.
Stem Cell Experts Support Using CRISPR In Human Embryosby Steph YinPopular ScienceSeptember 10th, 2015Bioethicist Art Caplan responds that "human embryo work is interesting, but to me it should be completely theoretical. We don’t know what we’re doing yet."
Genetic testing firms in China happy to sell your DNA secretsby Staff ReporterWant China TimesSeptember 10th, 2015As 23andMe strikes a slew of pharma and biotech deals, it's an open secret that sequencing companies can't make money on tests, but rely on the value of big bio data to drug developers.
Genetics: Dawkins, redux [Book review]by Nathaniel ComfortNatureSeptember 10th, 2015For a time, Dawkins was a rebellious scientific rock star. Now, his critique of religion seems cranky, and his immovably genocentric universe is parochial.
GM embryos 'essential', says reportby James GallagherBBCSeptember 10th, 2015A stem cell consortium issues a statement advocating for germline gene editing of human embryos, and that GM babies may be "morally acceptable" under some circumstances in the future.
Fast Forward-Pause-Stop: The 3-Speed Human Germline Debateby Lisa C. Ikemoto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 10th, 2015CRISPR’s rapid uptake has spurred proposals from moratoria to get-out-of-the-way optimism, but ad hoc responses aren’t enough when there is so much at stake.
Disability and the Politics of Abortion by Judith LevineSeven Days [Vermont]September 9th, 2015We must not use technology to cull fetuses that might have differently abled bodies. We cannot allow abortion law to rescue them at the cost of their mothers' freedom.
"Moonshot Medicine": Putative Precision vs. Messy Genomesby Gina Maranto, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 9th, 2015The promise is "personalized" genetic treatment plans; the reality is that most health disparities are environmental.
The Moral Imperative for Psychologistsby George Annas, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 9th, 2015Is Steven Pinker’s recent essay a hidden plea to save scientific research from the perversion of ethically unfettered technological progress?
Why there’s an urgent need for a moratorium on gene editingby Vivek WadhwaWashington PostSeptember 8th, 2015Changing human DNA creates a frightening ethical grey zone; no one is prepared for an era when editing DNA is as easy as editing a Microsoft Word document.
Biotech Imagination: Whose Future is this?by Jessica CussinsSeptember 8th, 2015A feature in PLOS Biology highlights insider predictions about the next ten years in genetics and genomics with unanimous optimism. But whose future is this?
Does Down Syndrome Justify Abortion?by Mark Lawrence SchradNew York TimesSeptember 4th, 2015In a typical pregnancy, women who choose to have an abortion are often saddled with shame and social stigma. Meanwhile, there remains significant stigma associated with being the parent of a child with special needs.
Pinker's Damn: A Naive Rejection of Controls Over Genetic Engineeringby Stuart Newman, Biopolitical Times guest contributorSeptember 4th, 2015Steven Pinker's credulous optimism concerning human germline modification ignores a record of complicity by some scientists, and appropriation of the work of others, in abuses by industry and government.
Kuwait's War on ISIS and DNAby Dawn FieldOxford University Press BlogSeptember 3rd, 2015Amid other national genomic projects, Kuwait's mandatory DNA collection is the first use of DNA testing at the national-level for security reasons, counter-terrorism.
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.
Personal Responsibilityby EditorialNatureSeptember 1st, 2015The US Precision Medicine Initiative needs to tread carefully when revealing health and genetic data to participants.
Australian Families in Limbo as Nepal Joins India and Thailand in Banning Commercial Surrogacy [Australia]by Lauren WilsonNews.com.auSeptember 1st, 2015The Supreme Court of Nepal issued an interim order putting an immediate stop to commercial surrogacy services.
Giant study poses DNA data-sharing dilemmaby Sara ReardonNature NewsSeptember 1st, 2015As the US Precision Medicine Initiative pushes forward, whether to provide sequenced genetic information to biobank donors is an unresolved question of ethics, privacy, and medical utility.
How We Should Rethink the Role of Technical Expertise in GMO Regulation[India]by Dhvani Mehta and Yashaswini MittalThe WireAugust 31st, 2015The regulation of GMOs represents a good opportunity to rethink the role of public participation and non-technical knowledge in environmental regulatory discourse in general.
Banning Abortion for Down Syndrome: Legal or Ethical Justification? by Bonnie SteinbockHastings Center Bioethics ForumAugust 26th, 2015Instead of passing an unenforceable and unconstitutional law, Ohio should devote its time to ensuring that all people with disabilities, Down syndrome or otherwise, get the resources and services they need.
Court: $50M verdict in Seattle-area ‘wrongful birth’ doesn't shock the conscienceby Levi PulkkinenSeattlePIAugust 26th, 2015A Washington appeals court upheld a $50 million verdict in favor of a couple whose son was born with severe birth defects that should have been spotted by genetic testing.
Alphabet/Google Isn’t Evil but Genetically Modifying Mosquitos Might Beby Mic WrightThe Next WebAugust 25th, 2015Recent biotech hype about using gene drive to reduce global malaria is best understood as a new chapter in humanity's historically poor record of forcibly changing ecosystems.
[Video] Is It Worth Your Time and Money to Freeze Your Eggs?[Interview with CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by StaffBroadly [VICE]August 24th, 2015This report investigates the commercial promises of Egg Banxx "freezing parties" while following a patient through the process of egg retrieval.
What Are You Doing with My DNA? by Diana KwonScientific AmericanAugust 21st, 2015The play “Informed Consent” explores deep ethical questions in genetics research.
Inside Illumina’s Plans to Lure Consumers with an App Store for Genomes by Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewAugust 19th, 2015The head of the largest gene-sequencing company envisions holding your DNA, then selling it to you little by little.
B.C. Company to Launch DNA Testing Service by Pamela FayermanVancouver SunAugust 19th, 2015British Columbia is grappling with regulatory and accreditation issues for a company planning to launch the first direct-to-consumer DNA testing service based in the province.
‘Scientific Ambitions Behind DNA Profiling Bill’by Vidya VenkatThe HinduAugust 16th, 2015A legal researcher discusses a modified draft bill that continues to raise several critical concerns relating to privacy, and ethical uses of DNA samples and the proposed DNA database.
Fertility Clinics Destroy Embryos All the Time. Why Aren’t Conservatives After Them?by Margo KaplanThe Washington PostRepublicans’ efforts to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood will hurt vulnerable women most.
Surgeons Smash Records with Pig-to-Primate Organ Transplantsby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewAugust 12th, 2015A biotech company is genetically engineering pigs so that their organs might work in people.
Putting Ourselves in Harm's Way: Thoughts on Pinker and the Role of Bioethicsby Nathaniel Comfort, Biopolitical Times guest contributorAugust 12th, 2015Nathaniel Comfort confronts Steven Pinker and the legacy of biomedicine, arguing ethicists and historians need to "get in harm's way to spare harm to others."
Why it Matters that the FDA Just Approved the First 3D-Printed Drugby Dominic BasultoWashington PostAugust 11th, 20153D printers could fundamentally change the way patients take certain types of medicine.
Ageing and Fertility: Biology Comes Secondby Kirsty OswaldBioNewsAugust 10th, 2015As long as we live in a society that expects women to sacrifice so much more than men to be a parent, we might as well stop talking about biology.
IVF: Do Children Have the Right to Know if They're the Result of a Stranger’s Sperm or Egg Donation?by Linda GeddesThe IndependentAugust 10th, 2015A 2003 survey by the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge found that 47% of parents of kids conceived after egg donation had no intention of telling.
Can We Reverse the Ageing Process by Putting Young Blood into Older People?by Ian SampleThe GuardianAugust 4th, 2015As a business proposition, the transfusion of young blood raises all kinds of fears. It raises the spectre of a macabre black market, where teenagers bleed for the highest bidder, and young children go missing from the streets.
Four Problems with the DNA Databaseby Sharon FernandesTimes of IndiaAugust 2nd, 2015India's Human DNA Profiling Bill 2015 proposes to set up a national DNA database of criminals that will include rapists, murderers and kidnappers.
Congress Should Support Access to Post-Conviction DNA Testingby Kirk BloodsworthThe HillJuly 29th, 2015"If not for post-conviction DNA testing, I might still be in prison, or worse, I could have been executed."
Law Banning Commercial Surrogacy Takes Effect ThursdayBangkok PostJuly 29th, 2015Controversy continues to swirl around children born before Thailand's new law was passed this winter.
Sperm Donor Fathers Reveal Struggle of Not Knowing Who Their Kids Areby Lauren McMahPerth Now [Australia]July 26th, 2015“A lot of the commentary and discussion focuses on the donor-conceived people but I think it’s equally important to look at the impact on donors."
Outsourcing Motherhood: India's Reproductive Dystopiaby Namita KohliHindustan TimesJuly 26th, 2015Stories of DNA mismatches, abandoned babies, and unscrupulous practices at IVF clinics suggest that commercial surrogacy in the country is almost in a state of lawlessness.
Scientist Criticizes Media Portrayal of Researchby Chris WoolstonNature NewsJuly 24th, 2015A psychology researcher looks at media missteps in reporting work on music and the brain.
The Power to Remake a Species[quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rebecca BoyleFuture of Life Institute July 23rd, 2015CRISPR could be used to eliminate malaria-carrying mosquitoes, but further public discussion is needed.
Slipping Into Eugenics? Nathaniel Comfort on the History Behind CRISPRby Elliot HosmanBiopolitical TimesJuly 23rd, 2015A historian unravels the social and political context of genetic research and eugenics in the United States.
The Ethical Sperm Bank: An All-Open Sperm Bank. An Idea Whose Time Has Comeby  Wendy KramerHuffington PostJuly 22nd, 2015These are the only solutions in the absence of government regulation. Perhaps in time and as public pressure mounts, regulation will follow.
The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syalby Aisha FarooqDESIblitz.com [UK]July 22nd, 2015A new novel explores issues of infertility and surrogacy that affect South Asian and British Asian society today.
US Tailored-Medicine Project Aims for Ethnic Balanceby Sara ReardonNature NewsJuly 21st, 2015The $215-million Precision Medicine Initiative is having trouble meeting an imminent deadline, in part because its priorities include filling racial and socio-economic gaps left by other long-term studies.
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?
The Regulatory System May Not Be Ready for Synthetic Organismsby Susana MedeirosRegBlogJuly 15th, 2015Synthetic microorganisms could reproduce, spread, and compete with natural organisms, and evolve to pose risks to humans, animals, and the environment.
Don't Mistake Genetics for Fateby Andrew Gelman & Kaiser FungThe Daily BeastJuly 11th, 2015It’s easy for the media to get misled on studies that seem to support genetic determinism. The result is that readers are exposed only to the puffery but only rarely to the skepticism.
Misunderstanding the Genome: A (Polite) Rantby Jonathan GitlinArsTechnicaJuly 8th, 2015One misconception: Genetic tests don't always tell you if someone has a disease. They're typically probabilistic — they tell you if you've got a greater chance of a problem than the average person.
Six Months of Progress on the Precision Medicine Initiativeby Brian Deese & Stephanie DevaneyOffice of Science and Technology PolicyJuly 8th, 2015The Obama Administration has released draft guiding principles to protect privacy and build public trust as the Precision Medicine Initiative develops.
Last Scientist in Congress has Human Genetic Engineering Warningby Bill FosterThe HillJuly 8th, 2015"We are on the verge of a technological breakthrough that could change the future of humankind; we must not blindly charge ahead."
Genome Researchers Raise Alarm Over Big Databy Erika Check HaydenNature NewsJuly 7th, 2015Storing and processing genome data will exceed the computing challenges of running YouTube and Twitter, biologists warn.
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.
Poverty Forces Workers' Wives to Become Surrogate Mothersby Neetu Chandra SharmaIndia TodayJuly 3rd, 201592 per cent of the surrogates in Delhi did not even have a copy of the contract and only 27 per cent of the clinics in Delhi and 11.4 per cent in Mumbai were party to the contract.
Surrogate Children Get Legal Recognition in Franceby Philippe SottoTimeJuly 3rd, 2015While surrogacy will remain banned in France, children born abroad through this practice will now be legally tied to their parents and will be granted birth certificates and French citizenship.
Gene Editingby EditorialNature July 1st, 2015Legislators in the US House of Representatives are asserting themselves in the human genetic modification debate, but as public awareness grows this much-needed ethical discussion will take root in broader society.
How the Law has Failed Children of Anonymous Sperm Donorsby Sarah DingleDaily Life [Australia]June 30th, 2015One of many donor-conceived people created under Australia's anonymous donation regime is fighting for the right to know her biological background.
Governor Signs Law that Expands Access to Post-Conviction DNA Testingby Maxine BernsteinThe OregonianJune 30th, 2015Oregon's governor has signed a bill that would expand access to DNA testing for people hoping to prove they were wrongly convicted.
Who's Advising the Government on Human Genetics?by Alice MaynardBioNewsJune 29th, 2015A diversity of voices is needed to hold the UK government accountable, instead of relying upon experts to predict long-term consequences no one can accurately foresee.
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.
Building the Face of a Criminal From DNABBCJune 18th, 2015The face of a killer constructed from DNA left at the scene of a crime: it sounds like science fiction. But revealing the face of a criminal based on their genes may be closer than we think.
UK Seeks Regulatory Advice for “Mitochondrial Replacement,” Fails to Mention Cross-Generational Implicationsby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesJune 17th, 2015How does one go about regulating the world’s first cross-generational biological experiment in human germline modification? The regulating body in charge isn’t exactly sure.
Prenatal DNA Test Patent Invalid, U.S. Appeals Court Saysby Andrew ChungReutersJune 12th, 2015The appeals court said the DNA's presence in the blood fell under the U.S. Supreme Court's rule against patenting natural phenomena.
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.
The Pentagon’s Gamble on Brain Implants, Bionic Limbs and Combat Exoskeletons by Sara ReardonNature NewsJune 10th, 2015DARPA is making a big push into biological research — but some scientists question whether its high-risk approach can work.
U.S. Bioweapons Research: Are Anthrax Lab Accidents All We Have to Fear?by Gwen D’Arcangelis, Biopolitical Times guest contributorJune 10th, 2015Mishaps involving loss or release of bacteria, viruses, and toxins reported by U.S. laboratories to the Centers for Disease Control number more than 200 incidents per year.
China's Big Biotech Bet Starting to Pay Offby Alexandra Harney and Ben HirschlerReutersJune 9th, 2015Overall funding for research and development more than quadrupled to $191 billion in 2005-13, allowing China to jump quickly on new technologies, often first developed elsewhere.
Switzerland, Inter-Country Surrogacy and Public Policyby Michael Wells-GrecoBioNewsJune 8th, 2015The Swiss Federal Court refused to register a male couple, who are in a civil partnership, as the legal fathers of a child born following an inter-country surrogacy arrangement.
Morality, Religion and Experimenting on Youby Robert KlitzmanHuffington PostJune 4th, 2015Experiments on humans have become not only more common, but more complicated and controversial, often raising profound moral dilemmas.
NHS Fertility Doctor Says Women 'Should Start Trying by 30' as Problems Can Take Years to Resolve by Louis DoréThe IndependentMay 31st, 2015"If a woman starts trying at 35, doctors have got to sort it out when she is already on a slippery fertility slope."
IVF isn't a Fix-All for Those Choosing to Delay Adulthoodby William LedgerThe Age [Australia]May 31st, 2015Today, just 12 per cent of IVF cycles in women over 40 result in the birth of a baby.
‘Devious Defecator’ Case Tests Genetics Lawby Gina KolataThe New York TimesMay 29th, 2015The case is an effort by an employer to detect employee wrongdoing with genetic sleuthing.
The Lessons of Asilomar for Today’s Scienceby Alexander CapronThe New York TimesMay 28th, 2015Attempts to use new gene editing techniques to "improve" our descendants raises profound ethical and social issues, and a group dominated by scientists is too self-interested and unrepresentative to take them on.
Study Reveals Shortcomings in Gene Testing; Results on Estimating Disease Risk Often Conflictby Marilynn MarchioneAssociated PressMay 27th, 2015The first report from a big public-private project to improve genetic testing reveals it is not as rock solid as many people believe.
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."
A Note on Genome Editingby John P. HoldrenOffice of Science and Technology PolicyMay 26th, 2015The Administration believes that altering the human germline for clinical purposes is a line that should not be crossed at this time.
Weighing The Promises Of Big Genomicsby David DobbsBuzzFeedMay 21st, 2015Your DNA may be up for sale. And the sale depends on an exaggerated picture of genetic power and destiny.
Does Biotech Need Limits?by Azeen GhorayshiBuzzFeed NewsMay 19th, 2015A group of the world’s top scientists and bioethicists just got together to hammer out the goals and limits of 21st-century biotechnology. And some of them really, really don’t agree.
Innovation and Equity in an Age of Gene Editingby Charis Thompson, Ruha Benjamin, Jessica Cussins and Marcy DarnovskyThe GuardianMay 19th, 2015As experts gather in Atlanta to discuss the rights and wrongs of editing human genomes, four of the attendees explain why it is vital to put social justice at the heart of the debate.
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.
Stem Cell 'Wild West' Takes Root Amid Lack of US Regulationby Matthew PerroneAssociated PressMay 18th, 2015More than 170 US clinics are selling experimental stem cell procedures — a mushrooming industry that has flourished despite little evidence of its safety or effectiveness.
Unregistered Surrogate-Born Children Creating 'Legal Timebomb', Judge Warnsby Owen BowcottThe GuardianMay 18th, 2015Without a court-sanctioned parental order and improved international legal frameworks, children could end up “stateless and parentless.”
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.
Science is Often Flawed. It's Time we Embraced That.by Julia Belluz and Steven HoffmanVoxMay 13th, 2015That science can fail shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. It's a human construct, after all. And if we simply accepted that science often works imperfectly, we'd be better off.
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.
Microbiomes Raise Privacy Concernsby Ewen CallawayNature NewsMay 11th, 2015Call it a "gut print." The collective DNA of the microbes that colonize a human body can uniquely identify someone, researchers have found, raising privacy issues.
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.
The Blurred Lines of Genetic Data: Practicality, Pleasure and Policingby Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostMay 8th, 2015Shocking news from Idaho is a reminder that we don’t always control what happens with our data, and won’t always like it.
U.S. Couple Stuck in Mexico Due to Surrogacy Snafuby Rafael RomoCNNMay 8th, 2015An American couple who say they have been stuck in Mexico for weeks because officials there won't provide a birth certificate for their son believe a resolution could be close.
DNA 'Printing' A Big Boon To Research, But Some Raise Concerns[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPRMay 7th, 2015"Heinz talks openly about everybody being able to create entirely novel creatures... Do we want the teenager next door to be creating Godzilla in the bathtub? I don't want that."
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.
Can we Still Rely on DNA Sampling to Crack Crime?by Danny ShawBBC NewsMay 5th, 2015The new arrangements are so convoluted that even the man responsible for overseeing them has cast doubt as to whether they can work effectively and fairly.
How Private DNA Data Led Idaho Cops on a Wild Goose Chase and Linked an Innocent Man to a 20-year-old Murder Caseby Jennifer LynchElectronic Frontier FoundationMay 1st, 2015This case highlights the extreme threats posed to privacy and civil liberties by familial DNA searches and by private, unregulated DNA databases.
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."
How Future Hackers Will Target Your DNAby John SotosWall Street JournalApril 28th, 2015In the future, DNA hackers won’t sneak viruses into your laptop and crash websites. Instead, they’ll sneak viruses into your body and crash you, and maybe billions of other people, too.
Why Whole-Genome Testing Hurts More Than it Helpsby H. Gilbert Welch and Wylie BurkeLos Angeles TimesApril 27th, 2015For the medical-industrial complex, whole-genome tests may pay off, but for most people they would be absurd.
Hi-Tech DNA Machines Cause Concernby Oscar QuineThe IndependentApril 26th, 2015Police forces across the UK are testing technology that allows officers to analyse DNA samples in custody suites, amid fears that civil liberties could be infringed and evidence compromised.
Five Disturbing Things You Didn’t Know About Forensic “Science”by Jordan SmithThe InterceptApril 24th, 2015Last week, it was revealed that the FBI “overstated forensic matches in a way that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent” of the cases. And this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to flawed forensics.
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.
Racial Health Disparities: It’s Inequality, Not Genesby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 23rd, 2015A review of genomic research on racial health disparities in heart disease finds it has made “little or no contribution to our understanding.” A new article in The Atlantic puts that in social, political, and historical context.
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.”
Commercial Surrogacy Should be Legalised, Family Court Chief Justice Diana Bryant Saysby Bridget BrennanABC [Australia]April 17th, 2015Two disturbing cases of child abandonment in India and Thailand should force the Federal Government to act.
California Unveils 'Precision-Medicine' Projectby Erika Check HaydenNature NewsApril 14th, 2015The $3-million state initiative will coordinate with a national effort to promote individualized patient treatment.
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.
Prenatal Testing, Cancer Risk and the Overdiagnosis Dilemmaby Ainsley Newson and Stacy CarterBioNewsApril 13th, 2015Should we be reporting results if we don’t know whether those results have any potential to benefit the patient?
The Conflict Between Human Rights And Biotechnological Evolutionby Srinivas RamanEurasia ReviewApril 11th, 2015Genetically modifying humans has the potential to violate human rights and freedom and could possibly lead to catastrophic consequences for the human race if legalized and encouraged.
Calling for “More than a Moratorium” on Human Germline Modificationby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 9th, 2015A broader array of critical responses and policy suggestions follows recent reports that the gene-editing technique CRISPR has been used to genetically modify human sperm, eggs or embryos.
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.
Baby Genes to be Mapped at Birth in Medical Firstby Helen ThomsonNew ScientistApril 8th, 2015Could genome sequencing of newborns give valuable insight or do harm? That's the question US doctors are trying to answer in a pioneering trial starting this month.
The Next Manhattan Projectby Patrick TuckerThe AtlanticApril 7th, 2015Anticipating cutting-edge scientific research before it happens may be key to protecting against bioterrorism.
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.
Tech Titans’ Latest Project: Defy Deathby Ariana Eunjung ChaWashington PostApril 4th, 2015For centuries, explorers have searched the world for the fountain of youth. Today’s billionaires believe they can create it, using technology and data.
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.
New DNA Tech: Creating Unicorns and Curing Cancer for Real?by David Ewing DuncanThe Daily BeastMarch 30th, 2015We have the earth-shattering technology in our hands—but even its inventors worry about its awesome power to alter our genetic future.
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.
Bioethics Commission Releases Final Neuroscience Report as Part of BRAIN Initiativeby Misti Ault AndersonThe blog of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues March 26th, 2015The report focuses on topics that must be addressed if neuroscience is to progress and be applied ethically.
Lisa Ikemoto Guest Piece on Human Germline Genetic Modificationby Lisa C. IkemotoKnoepfler Lab Stem Cell BlogMarch 23rd, 2015The call for a moratorium is as much a game changer as the technology itself. It creates an opportunity for research transparency and open exchange between the scientific community and the lay public.
Scientists Urge Temporary Moratorium On Human Genome Editsby Rob SteinNPRMarch 20th, 2015Leading biologists and bioethicists are calling for a worldwide moratorium.
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.
States aren't Eager to Regulate Fertility Industry[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Michael OlloveUSA TodayMarch 19th, 2015Compared to many other industrialized nations, neither the U.S. nor state governments do much to oversee the multibillion-dollar assisted reproduction industry.
California and your DNA: Is it a healthy relationship? by Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 16th, 2015While every state across the country takes part in newborn screening, each state differs in how it handles the blood cards and the genetic information they hold. In California, those cards are stored indefinitely and potentially rented out for a broad array of uses.
The Many Ethical Implications of Emerging Technologies by Nayef Al-RodhanScientific AmericanMarch 13th, 2015Brainlike computer chips, smart pharmacology and other advances offer great promise but also raise serious questions that we must deal with now.
Get Genetic Testing and Cheat the System?by Robert KlitzmanCNNMarch 13th, 2015Many people undergo genetic testing on their own and pay out of pocket, allowing them to keep the result to themselves.
23andMe Adds On: More About The Gene-Test Maker’s Drug R&D Ambitionsby Alex LashXconomyMarch 12th, 2015"We definitely think genetics should be married with all the other info being tracked. That will come in time."
23andMe to Use Genetic Database for Drug Discoveryby Ron WinslowWall Street JournalMarch 12th, 201523andMe's new therapeutics group, led by a star drug developer, will have "the opportunity to look broadly through the database and not have a particular restriction to what we’re looking for."
Don’t Edit The Human Germ Lineby Edward Lanphier, Fyodor Urnov, Sarah Ehlen Haecker, Michael Werner & Joanna SmolenskiNature NewsMarch 12th, 2015Heritable human genetic modifications pose serious risks, and the therapeutic benefits are tenuous.
Polish Government Backs Bill to Regulate IVF Treatmentby Marcin GoettigReuters [Poland]March 10th, 2015The bill would also ban sales and destruction of human embryos, cloning of human embryos and manipulation of human DNA.
Privacy and the 100,000 Genome Projectby Edward Hockings and Lewis CoyneThe GuardianMarch 10th, 2015As the Department of Health starts to draw a map of thousands of genomes, will it keep its promise to anonymize our data?
Oh the Humanities!by Kevin BoehnkeScienceMarch 6th, 2015As stable academic science positions stagnate, a growing proportion of scientists seek employment outside academia.
Virginia Votes Compensation for Victims of its Eugenic Sterilization Programby Jaydee Hanson, Biopolitical Times guest contributorMarch 5th, 2015Virginia’s eugenic sterilization law was revoked in 1979. It has taken 35 years for the state to decide to provide financial reparations for its victims, each of whom will receive $25,000.
State has DNA Databases from Cradle to Jailby Jeremy B. WhiteThe Sacramento BeeMarch 4th, 2015Soon after every baby in California is born, a hospital worker extracts and logs its genetic information. It will be tested for diseases and then stashed permanently in a warehouse containing a generation of Californians’ DNA.
With World Watching, UK Allows Experiments to Genetically Alter Babiesby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMarch 4th, 2015Despite several possibly insurmountable legal and safety hurdles, the House of Lords gave the final approval needed to move into fertility clinics the embryo modification techniques referred to as “mitochondrial donation.”
Good Eggs, Bad Sperm and Terrible Journalismby Kirsty OswaldBioNewsMarch 2nd, 2015By repackaging the findings to appeal to the mainstream press, the true relevance of this research has been overlooked.
Reproduction 3.0by Leah RamsayBerman Institute of Bioethics BulletinFebruary 26th, 2015Bioethics scholars discuss the science and ethics of the UK vote to allow mitochondrial manipulation procedures.
Your DNA is Everywhere. Can the Police Analyze it?by David KravetsArs TechnicaFebruary 20th, 2015A human sheds as much as 100 pounds of DNA-containing material in a lifetime and about 30,000 skin cells an hour. Who owns that DNA is the latest privacy issue before the US Supreme Court.
Thailand Bans Commercial Surrogacy for ForeignersBBCFebruary 20th, 2015Under the new law, only married Thai couples or couples with one Thai partner who have been married at least three years can seek surrogacy.
Internet of DNAby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewFebruary 19th, 2015A global network of millions of genomes could be medicine’s next great advance, but important challenges remain.
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