Biotech Imagination

Eight insiders provide predictions about the next ten years in genetics and genomics, and not one wavers: “All are optimistic and predict enormous positive impact.” Should the rest of us be so optimistic?

"Eggsploitation: Maggie's Story" and Risks of Egg Retrieval

"Eggsploitation: Maggie's Story" reveals how the fertility industry takes advantage of individuals' altruistic motives in search of profit while the medical risks remain unknown.

Divorce, “Crying Off,” and the Perils of Eugenic Perfection

Eugenic divorces, break-ups, and courtroom drama in the 1910s vividly illustrate the downsides of “perfection.”

Eugenics, Love, and the Marriage Problem

When gazing deeply into a lover's eyes, eugenists advised, women should not look for the "yearning, burning, soulful fires, which rage in the erotic litany of love," but for symptoms of eye disease.

Stars, Bars, and Embryos

The ideas of "choice" and "intent" have arisen in debates about both the confederate flag and prenatal genetic testing. But are these concepts insufficiently nuanced for these tough topics?

Judging the Baby Crop

The first post in a new series on forgotten stories of the American eugenics movement examines how early-1900s baby health contests increased popular support for eugenics.

Is Family Equality a Right to Surrogacy?

With marriage equality the law of the land, the dignity of LGBTQ families calls for an ongoing conversation about the regulation of the ART and surrogacy industries.

Breaking from Our Eugenic Past

The recognition of this history is timely because advances in genetic and reproductive technologies will put increasingly more people in the position of having to wrestle with questions about the kind of child they want – and don’t want – to bring into the world.

Disability Will Never Be Immoral

Events of this summer, including the abandonment of Baby Gammy and controversial comments from Richard Dawkins, speak to the risk of conflating one type of information with a broader reality.

Making Sense of the Brain

As criticisms of the brain projects on both sides of the Atlantic ramp up, there are lessons that can be learned from the successes and failures of the Human Genome Project.

The Perfect 46: A Science Fiction Film About Our Near Future

A new science fiction film that is described as “a sort of prequel to Gattaca” highlights the rise and fall of a genetic startup that analyzes people’s genomes to assess their ability to produce disease-free children.

Selling the Next False Hope?

Contrary to official reports, new evidence shows that “3-person IVF” could pose serious risks to women and children. So why are we being told that it’s a “not unsafe” option?

Orphan Black: The Best Show You’ve Never Seen

What might our unregulated Brave New World look like? BBC America’s television series, Orphan Black by Canadian director John Fawcett, nails it.

Nicholas Wade: Genes, Race and Anthropology

Is Nicholas Wade shocked and horrified that his new book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, is getting support from racists? Really, what did he expect?


The new film Transcendence won’t win you over with its dialogue or love scenes, but it’s a great springboard for pondering what quickly approaching developments in artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and regenerative medicine may actually mean for society.

Whole Genome Sequencing Only Halfway There

A new JAMA report has found that whole genome sequencing has large hurdles to overcome before it can be integrated into clinical care, but there’s another point to consider: Should it be there in the first place?

Love is in Your Genes

Missing that je ne sais quoi with someone new this Valentine’s Day? A Canada-based startup claims to have mastered the science behind that illusive chemistry.

Americans Still Oppose "Playing God" With Genetics

Public disapproval of inheritable genetic modification and attempts to revive extinct species is as strong as ever.

Genetically Engineered Monkeys Born, Could Humans Be Next?

Chinese scientists announced the birth of the first primates created with a precision gene modification technique, raising both hopes about new insights into human diseases and concerns about new attempts at human inheritable genetic engineering.

“Donor” Egg Pregnancies: More of Them, New Warning of Risks

An editorial in a top medical journal warns that data on complications of egg retrieval for “donors” is missing, and prevents truly informed choices.

Science History Rap Battle: Franklin vs Watson & Crick

The seventh-graders at KIPP Bridge Charter in Oakland, CA, have put together a fabulous rap about Rosalind Franklin's role in the discovery of the double helix.

The Politics of Sex Selective Abortion Bans

Recent publicity in the UK, and lawsuits and legislative hearings in the US, are a reminder that right-wing activists make cynical use of the sex selection issue to restrict women's reproductive rights.

Havasupai, HeLa, and the Fallacy of Neutral Science

A recent claim that misuse of Havasupai DNA was a “fairy tale” has stirred up heated debates about informed consent and scientific ethics.

Involuntary Sterilization Then and Now

North Carolina will be the first US state to offer compensation to victims of state-sponsored forced sterilization programs. The decision marks a milestone in the long struggle for recognition of this tragic history, but what about the questionable sterilizations still taking place today?

Genetic Testing and Me?

A recent study shows that results from different direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies vary. So what will the emerging monopoly of 23andMe mean for accuracy, and for our health?

Today's Healthy Baby, Tomorrow's Designer Baby?

The first baby has been born following “next generation genetic sequencing” of IVF embryos. What are the implications?

Illegal Sterilizations in Modern California Jails

The Center for Investigative Reporting has published a detailed exposé of unauthorized sterilizations of unwilling women in California jails from 2006 to 2010, and probably before, bringing the issue to overdue national attention.

Eight Misconceptions About “Three-Parent Babies”

Amid the talk about “mitochondria replacement” or “three-parent babies," here are the top misconceptions proliferating about the efficacy, safety, public support, and societal implications.

Biotechnology for the Common Good

The U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous decision that human genes cannot be patented is a welcome and important step toward making sure that biotechnology benefits us all.

Welcome to the “Genetic Panopticon”

In a forceful blow to the Fourth Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that police can collect DNA from people who have been arrested—but who have not been convicted, and may never be.