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Law & Public Policy

Research and development in genomics informs, challenges, and must comply with public policy and law. Includes: the Endangered Species Act, GMO restrictions, patents, biopiracy, politics, regulation, risk assessment, international policies, and the history of these areas.

Additional Resources

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Journal Articles

Potential Biohazards of Recombinant DNA Molecules, Paul Berg , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 07/1974, Volume 71, Number 7, p.2593-4, (1974)
This original call for a moratorium on recombinant DNA research, written by Paul Berg, is known as "The Asilomar Declaration."

Web Articles

Patents and Genomic Medicine, David P. Lentini; Stephen A. Bent , (2004)
A biotech lawyer explains that it's not just patents on genes, but also patents on the technologies used to manipulate and study them, that could slow development of new drugs.
Biotech Industry Primer, Biotechnology Industry Organization , (2002)

Read the biotech industry's primer on “Genome and Genetic Research, Patent Protections, and 21st Century Medicine.” Part of a larger collection about intellectual property.

Web Sites

Bioethics.net: American Journal of Bioethics online, University of Pennsylvania: Center for Bioethics & Department of Medical Ethics; Stanford University: Center for Biomedical Ethics; M.I.T. Press; Bioethics Education Network , Cambridge, Mass.Philadelphia, (2007) Abstract
The American Journal of Bioethics (online) features frequently updated news about stem cell research, policy and regulation.
Biotechnology in Food and Agriculture, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations , (2007)

The FAO, a United Nations organization which monitors and advises member countries about developments in biotechnology, provides a number of resources through their site.

Of particular interest are recommendations for international guidelines for safety assessment of foods and food components made by recombinant DNA methods.

Also, check out the glossary of biotechnology and genetic engineering; get overviews of biotechnology in crops, fisheries, or other sectors; follow some of the many links to outside sites; or participate in the FAO Electronic Forum on Biotechnology in Food and Agriculture.

Genewatch, Council for Responsible Genetics , Boston, MA, p.v., (2007)
The Council for Responsible Genetics (CRG) Web site covers scientific, medical and bioethical issues from the perspective of the organization's goals to promote public debate and to advocate for socially responsible use of new technologies. Tables of contents and selected articles are available on the site.
Stem Cell Information, National Institutes of Health , (2007)
This frequently updated site contains a wealth of information on stem cells. You will find proposed federal guidelines, congressional testimony and a White House fact sheet on embryonic stem cell research. Don't miss the excellent primer "Stem Cell Basics" and the NIH report on stem cells, "Stem Cells: Scientific Progress and Future Research Directions." Read advisory and scientific papers on such topics as "Can Stem Cells Repair a Damaged Heart? and "Rebuilding the Nervous System With Stem Cells."
The ELSI Working Group, National Human Genome Research Institute , (2007)
The NIH-DOE Working Group on the Ethical, Legal and Social Issues of Genome Research — its full name is a mouthful, but ELSI is the premier source for information on the ethical, legal and social implications of genetic research.
World Conservation Union (IUCN), World Conservation Union , (2007)

For more than half a century IUCN has engaged state and government members, non-government organizations and scientists from around the world in conservation issues. The group takes a global approach to conserving biodiversity. Their site includes news, resource and publication lists, articles and weblinks — and many contain information on genetics. Make sure to see the famous IUCN "redlist" of species threatened with extinction.