This Week in Bioethics #110

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1. Update on New Jersey and New York As I write, we’re waiting to hear whether New Jersey Governor Murphy is going to sign the surrogacy-enabling legislation on his desk. Meanwhile, hearings are scheduled in New York for later this month on a bill seeking to legalize surrogacy in the Empire State. We are keeping […]

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This Week in Bioethics #108

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1. Is Commercial Gestational Surrogacy Coming to New Jersey? New Jersey’s “gestational carrier bill,” a/k/a “rent-a-womb,” which was twice vetoed by Governor Christie, has again passed both houses of the New Jersey legislature. It is waiting on Governor Murphy’s desk for his signature or veto. Our friends at #StopSurrogacyNow unpack the situation, explaining why and […]

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This Week in Bioethics #100

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To celebrate the 100th This Week in Bioethics (TWIB), Jennifer and I did a 10 minute Facebook live version of TWIB! 1. How Many? How many? This was Jennifer’s simple question in her testimony before the Washington State House Judiciary Committee yesterday morning. How many women . . . how many children . . . […]

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Ethics and Embryo Editing

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In a world where it seems the news is endlessly dominated by events in and around the White House, one story this week has clearly broken through: U.S.-based researchers have succeeded in editing the genes in human embryos. This news was first reported by MIT Technology Review, but numerous other outlets — Associated Press, Scientific […]

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The Unethical Uneasiness with Human Gene Editing Technology

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It has just been announced that “the first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos” in the U.S. has been made. Through a new technique, often called CRISPR, germline modification can be made at the embryo stage—germline, meaning the genetically modified child would pass these changes onto future generations through his or her sperm […]

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We Don’t Yet Fully Understand all of the Implications

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NPR recently ran an article on the latest developments in the area of “three-parent embryos.” Such embryos are being created in an effort to help those who carry a genetic defect in their mitochondrial DNA. The article is a long and at times technical read, but the upshot is that there is much scientists do […]

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Designed Human Embryos (CRISPR-CAS9)

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I attended a conference in Atlanta this month titled “Beings2015: Biotech and the Ethical Imagination.” During the main sessions, much was discussed regarding CRISPR, or what is more commonly known as gene editing. “Beings2015” convened to discuss how biotech should proceed and who should regulate advances like CRISPR in order to draft a statement of […]

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What to Watch

When Jennifer and I went to UC Irvine a few weeks ago to show Breeders, I casually referenced the film Gattaca during the Q&A that followed the screening. Even as I was saying it, I wondered how many people in the room had seen the film, now 17 years old. I don’t remember Gattaca being […]

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Beware Sexual Orientation Eugenic Cleansing

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Oh, oh. A scientific study has concluded that about 40% of the “cause” of (white) male homosexuality is genetic. From the Telegraph story: Homosexuality is only partly genetic with sexuality mostly based on environmental and social factors, scientists believe. A study found that, while gay men shared similar genetic make-up, it only accounted for 40 […]

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Anti Gay Eugenics Wrong

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The Left and the libertarian right are all for “choice” in reproduction. Genetic enhancement? Check. Disability cleansing via eugenic abortion and IVF genetic engineering? Check. Choosing hair color and other physical attributes? Check. Even sex selection. But what if a test is developed that can predict a predilection for homosexuality? Wait just a darn minute! […]

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Scientific Breakthrough for Down Syndrome

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Researchers have learned how to dampen gene expression of the extra 21st chromosome, which is the cause of Down syndrome. To date, there are no therapies to cure or treat Down syndrome. Last year, when I was at the Meeting in Rimini Italy, I visited the Jerome Lejeune Foundation exhibit. In July of 1958, Lejeune, […]

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The Fallacy of Intelligence and Genetic Determinism

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By Kathleen Sloan, Consultant to the CBC Once again, the mainstream media has jumped on the bandwagon of the latest attempt to link intelligence with genetics, hailing the “wunderkind” behind it. The Wall Street Journal of February 16, 2013, grabbed attention with the headline “A Genetic Code for Genius?” Any serious geneticist would easily dismiss […]

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Darwinian Joins Scientific “Regressives” Against Genetic Engineering

Neo eugenicists and would-be genetic engineers often claim that those of us who oppose their intention to engage in biological alchemy do so for strictly religious reasons. Not me. I oppose eugenics in all its forms because it violates the fundamentals of human exceptionalism by assuming that some people can be better than other people […]

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What Could Go Wrong?

Wanted: “Extremely Adventurous Female Human” to be Surrogate Mother for Neanderthal Baby No, this is not a tabloid headline you read while waiting to checkout at the grocery store or something you might find on Craigslist in the Help Wanted ads. This comes from a line by Harvard University’s prestigious geneticist, George Church, highlighted in […]

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When Greed Trumps Public Health

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By Kathleen Sloan, Consultant to the CBC Myriad Genetics, producer of the world’s biggest-selling gene test for breast and ovarian cancers, has become synonymous with corporate greed. In an egregious breach of bioethics, the company refuses to share groundbreaking knowledge that could benefit cancer patients. Myriad Genetics is deliberately withholding data that could help other […]

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Supremes to Decide Others Can Own Your Genes

The Supreme Court will decide whether human genes can be patented. From the Reuters story: The nation’s highest court in a brief order agreed to review a case over whether Myriad Genetics Inc may patent two genes linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. In a 2-1 ruling on August 16, a panel of the […]

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The “Gay Gene” and the New Eugenics

We don’t know what factors lead to a propensity for homosexuality. (Frankly, I don’t think any “one” thing, but that’s an unexpert opinion.) But some believe we will discover a “gay” gene. If so, that has very real eugenic implications — which I fear would mostly accrue to the deadly detriment of fetuses with said […]

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Hey Baby, Wanna See My Gene Scan?

The Telegraph has an interesting article out about how mating in the future will be based on compatibility of genetic codes. From, “DNA Testing ‘Will Screen Out Lovers’:” Couples will soon be able to choose their life partner solely based on the compatibility of their genes instead of through love, a scientific conference has heard. […]

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