With genetic testing, I gave my parents the gift of divorce
I found out I don't have any genetic predisposition to any kind of cancer, which was a great relief to me. But I also discovered through the 23andMe close relative finder program that I have a half brother, Thomas.
The Nazi Anatomists.
"How the corpses of Hitler's victims are still haunting modern science—and American abortion politics."
A Life-Or-Death Situation. "As a bioethicist, Margaret "Peggy" Pabst Battin fought for the right of people to end their own lives. After her husband’s cycling accident, her field of study turned unbearably personal." Via
When Alberti Giubilini and Francesca Minerva published a provocative paper
about the ethics of infanticide in the Journal of Medical Ethics
, the hostile response
they received included death threats
. [more inside]
The committee took the unprecedented step of recommending that some details of these biological studies [be] kept from the public, so that no one could use them as recipes for new bioweapons. [more inside]
has always been a hotspot
in the culture wars
. But of late, the anti-abortion movement has had some huge wins, often sliding in under the radar of pro-choice supporters. Idaho bans abortions after the 20th week, claiming that mother's shouldn't have the right to make a fetus uncomfortable
. Nebraska also banned abortion after the 20th week
, so did Oklahoma
, and Ohio
are also considering joining the 31 states
that currently have such a ban.
Virginia passed a law that will shut the doors
of almost every abortion clinic in the state. And various areas are now enacting laws that suggest a fetus is significantly more important
than the carrier of said fetus
. One judge ruled that a girl couldn't have an abortion because she had bad grammar
It is quite possible that women who are in their 40s right now may be the only generation of American women that possessed full reproductive rights for their entire child bearing years.
Couples from Western countries, such as Australia
, the US
, and the UK
are turning to surrogates in India
to carry their babies. [more inside]
A doctor at Cornell and his research team have been performing clitoroplasties
on female infants and little girls who show "gender ambiguity." This involves cutting away the shaft of the clitoris on girls whose clitorises are deemed too large
. [more inside]
'As part of its budget for the next year [pdf
is investing $6 million into a project called BioDesign
, with the goal of eliminating "the randomness of natural evolutionary advancement."' Via Futurismic [more inside]
Want your genome on a hard drive but don't have the money? 23andMe
can give you almost that: a scan of your SNPs, presented online and complete with analyses derived from up-to-date medical research (and a few educated guesses). Eight months ago, blogs were rife with speculation of who 23 could be
and what the connection with Google
could mean. [more inside]
"The next president of the United States of America will control a $150 billion annual research budget, 200,000 scientists, and 38 major research institutions and all their related labs. This president will shape human endeavors in space
, bioethics debates, and the energy landscape of the 21st century." With the coming election, the AAAS
has created a new website
and devoted a section of their journal Science
to the Democratic
candidates' positions on science
issues. But to help further clarify their positions
, some people are calling
for the candidates to have a presidential debate on science and technology
. [Via The Intersection and Wired Science.]
U.S. military practices genetic discrimination in denying benefits.
"Those medically discharged with genetic diseases are left without disability or retirement benefits. Some are fighting back."
Dying for Lifesaving Drugs
: Will desperate patients destroy the pharmaceutical system that produces tomorrow's treatments?Reason Magazine
FollowupFilter: The "Ashley Treatment
" is a violation of Washington state law, ruled an investigative report
today. The hospital
that performed the sterilization acknowledged that a miscommunication was to blame
A number of articles
are being published
regarding a Washington
family's controversial decision to administer a series of medical procedures that will prevent their developmentally disabled daughter from growing. The family has now created a blog
to discuss their side of the issue regarding an ongoing debate
in bioethics circles.
Debating the Moral Status of the Embryo.
A favorite scenario
of some bioethicists
in this debate is often a variation of "if a fertility clinic were on fire and you had only enough time to run in once to effect a rescue, which would you grab—the unconscious clinic worker/or a tank full of hundreds of frozen embryos?" Sometimes the debate degenerates...
A Step Closer to In Vitro Meat Production
A group of scientists are proposing techniques in the Tissue Engineering journal (4pg .pdf)
that may allow industrial production of meat sans
animals. They have established a non-profit organization
"to support the development of meat substitutes, with the long-term goal of delivering economically competitve alternatives to conventional meat production".
[New Scientist 2002 & /. discussion] [meat-mefi] [vegan-mefi]
You stink, therefore I am.
Philosophers and psychologists have been studying
, and its proper place in the law. Leon Kass, the chairman of the president's council on bioethics
, cites "the wisdom of repugnance"
in arguing against cloning. More recently, Martha Nussbaum
has written a new book, "Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law,"
which rejects disgust as a moral guide. She has also written on the role of disgust in the mutilations of women in Gujarat
Whose life would you save? Carl Zimmer
takes a look at the work of philospher-neuroscientist Joshua Greene in the emerging field of the neuroscience of ethics and morality (Leon Kass, take note
.) [Via Dynamist Blog.]
Free stem cells!
A Harvard scientist using private money has developed 17 new batches of human embryonic stem cells, which he's offering to any researcher who needs them for the cost of shipping. Perhaps this will help American scientists from losing the edge
(unless, as some speculate, Bush is preparing to outlaw it
.) Harvard is also developing a multimillion-dollar center to grow and study stem cells
"We are becoming the masters of our own DNA. But does that give us the right to decide that my children should never have been born?"
John Sundman is a science fiction novelist
and the father of two children with severe medical conditions. In this two-part article
he shares his experiences and thoughts on bioethics, the Human Genome Project and whether genetics research is paving the way for a resurgent eugenics movement.
If you were a lab worm
[with some modifications], you could live five times longer than a human. This news will likely be celebrated by folks like these
and their ilk, while bioethicists and others cringe
. Regardless of right or wrong, the ideas of life extension/biological immoratality pose some mighty difficult questions
from the President's Council on Bioethics. Each of the readings that follow - which include poetry, short stories and more - is accompanied by a brief introduction and questions about the bioethical implications of the work.
The new booklist includes James Watson, Tolstoy, Shakespeare and Ovid. Via the WSJ.
Against Their Will: Forced Sterilization of the "Feeble-Minded."
Rich, beautifully designed site from the Winston-Salem Journal about forced sterilization in North Carolina, which continued far later than most other states
due to the influence of a small group of elitist businessmen
and the complicity of newspapers, politicians and doctors. Heart-wrenching Flash interviews
, an interactive timeline
and original documents like poems
provide hours of fascinating reading. The state has been refusing access to these records