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"The Supreme Genome" PULSE Symposium Event

Co-Sponsored with the Center for Society and Genetics

Date/Time :11/22/2013 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Location :Room 1447
Organizer :Kasse Reyes (Reyes@law.ucla.edu)
Description :
The Program on Understanding Law, Science & Evidence (PULSE) at UCLA and the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics present an afternoon symposium on DNA and the Supreme Court.

"The Supreme Genome? Maryland v. King, Myriad Genetics, and the meanings of DNA" 

Last term, two of the Supreme Court's most important decisions both centered around the permissible, legal uses of human DNA. These two cases, decided just ten days apart in the last weeks of the session, represent the first two cases ever decided by the Supreme Court that directly assess the legal use and regulation of information contained within the human genome.

One of those cases, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., involved the question of whether DNA sequences - specifically, the BRCA 1 & 2 genes, indicating a susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer - could receive patent protection. The other, Maryland v. King, examined the constitutionality of collecting and storing DNA samples from people arrested - but not yet convicted of felonies.

From one perspective, these two cases involved radically different questions and areas of law: intellectual property and the proper scope of patents, on the one hand, and the constitutionality of certain law-enforcement investigative techniques on the other. But both cases invite critical questions and perplexing ruminations about the relationship between law and the building blocks of our genetic profiles. They both struggle, implicitly or explicitly, over the relationship between DNA and broader aspects of our human identity. And both cases necessarily wrestle with how to assimilate new biotechnological developments to established legal understandings, whether to the scope of patentable subject matter or to criminal identification.

This afternoon symposium brings together experts in patent law, genetic technologies, criminal procedure, evidence, and privacy law, to discuss each of these landmark cases, both separately and in dialogue. Through presentations and roundtable discussion, we will investigate the legal meanings of DNA in both criminal law and intellectual property, and explore likely future directions for the complex nexus of science, biotechnology, law and society.


Lori Andrews
Chicago-Kent College of Law

Enid Camps
Deputy Attorney General
California Department of Justice

Mildred Cho
Center for Biomedical Ethics
Stanford University School of Medicine

Debra Greenfield
Institute for Society and Genetics, UCLA

Elizabeth Joh
UC Davis School of Law

Richard Leo
USF School of Law and UCLA School of Law

Jennifer Mnookin
UCLA School of Law

Lee Petherbridge
Loyola Law School Los Angeles

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UCLA School of Law is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider. 
This activity qualifies for three hours of general MCLE credit.

Early registration is not required for this event. 
MCLE materials will be provided on site, but if you'd like to have them emailed please contact Reyes@law.ucla.edu.