In March more
than 75 people attended the DePaul Journal of Health Care Law and the Mary and
Michael Jaharis Health Law Institute’s symposium, “Designer Genes: The Cost of
Wendy Epstein and Joshua Sarnoff moderated the discussion on governmental and
private collection of genetic material and the legal implications surrounding
the topic. Speakers represented the fields of medicine, economics, ethics and
the law, with panelists focusing their talks on the intersection of
intellectual property, economics, and the collection of genetic information.
Participants weighed the benefits of new genetic-gathering capabilities against
patients’ rights and ethical concerns surrounding commercial uses of the
discussed the state of gene patenting in light of the recent Supreme Court
decision in Myriad, where the Supreme Court found that products of nature, such
as a naturally occurring DNA segment, are not patent eligible merely because
they have been isolated. The symposium also shed light on the fair trade and
patent issues that typically attach to medical devices and the ethical concerns
surrounding personalized medicine.