PHG 523 - Genetics and the Law

Alternate Course Number 

LAW H520

Course Description 

This course explores legal, policy and ethical consequences of genetic technologies and information. The overarching context for the course is to address the response of the law and the legal system to advances in genetic information and technologies and posit what the response should be in the future. For those who have taken in PHG 512/LAW H504/BH 514/HSERV 590D (Legal, Ethical and Social Issues in Public Health Genetics), the course extends the discussion by examining in greater depth the legal consequences of genetic technologies and information.

This course is offered to students from diverse disciplines that may or may not have a genetics, public health or law background. We will therefore begin with an overview of genetic science, the recent explosion of knowledge about the human genome, and an introduction to law.  We will explore the legal implications of medical mistakes in genetic testing; genetics and reproductive decision-making; genetics and parenting; and genetics and research. The course examines the concepts of privacy and confidentiality and their applications to genetic information.  We consider genetic information and its use in the workplace, and its role in access to insurance and health care coverage.  We also explore the use of DNA in the courtroom, forensics, and genetic evidence in the criminal context.  We will look at the movement of genetics from bench science to the marketplace, including a brief consideration of intellectual property and direct-to-consumer marketing.

This course will be taught and conducted in a seminar style.  We will be engaged in our exploration of the topics covered through shared learning.  Each member of the class will participate in and contribute to the learning that occurs.  Collaborative learning will be reflected in the way that the course is structured and your work is evaluated.

Example Syllabus 

Quarter(s) Offered 

Spring

Credits 

2