Genetics: Law and Ethics – 6824
This interdisciplinary seminar will examine the legal, ethical, medical, and scientific issues posed at the cutting edge of biomedical science, focusing on genetics, genomics, and assisted reproductive technologies (ART) in human beings. Topics will include the human genome project; history of eugenics; issues posed by genetic and genomic research; commercialization of genetic research, including issues raised by gene patents; genetic testing, counseling, and screening; prenatal screening and preimplantation genetic diagnosis; the use of genetics in ART; human gene therapy; pharmacogenetics; the privacy of genetic information; and issues of discrimination. Together, the class will work through the scientific, medical, legal, and ethical issues. In each instance, we will evaluate the legal, ethical, and policy challenges posed, critique current approaches, and explore alternative recommendations. This course will be highly accessible to a wide range of graduate and professional students (including Law, GCD, Bioethics, and other); the course is not open to undergraduates. There are no science or law prerequisites. Most reading for this seminar will be in Lori B. Andrews et al., Genetics: Ethics, Law and Policy (West Publishing, 3rd ed., 2010). Students will actively debate the issues posed by each week’s reading, prepare a 20-30 page paper (including references) on the topic of their choice, and make a brief presentation on their paper topic for feedback late in the semester. Students will be graded both on class participation and on their paper. For 3rd-year law students, this course may fulfill the 3rd-year writing requirement.