Health law symposium explores "designer genes"

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 Genetic Information.”

Professors 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 information. 

Speakers 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.​