Event Date/Time: Nov 19, 2002 End Date/Time: Nov 20, 2002
Registration Date: Nov 18, 2002
Early Registration Date: Oct 25, 2002
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This unique conference will bring together geneticists, (academic, research, clinical) with lawyers (patent and intellectual property) legislators, the insurance and biotechnology industry and those concerned with the ethical and human rights implications and the concerns of genetic patients.

This is clearly a time of great public and professional interest especially with the recent publication on Personal Genetic Information by the Human Genetics Commission. The meeting will combine invited talks on the science and practice of human genetics with corresponding papers on the current legislation in these areas.

Dates and venue

The Genetics and Law Conference will take place on 19-20 November 2002 at the Commonwealth Conference and Events Centre located on Kensington High Street in central London.


The two-day conference will examine the current state of the law surrounding human genetics issues and provide a forum for debating the future legal framework including:

Confidentiality, privacy, finding non-paternity.

Genetic stigmatization, employment, insurance.

Who owns our genes?

Gene patenting, manipulations, cloning.

Commercial exploitation, research.

Forensic databases, security, police.


Up to 450 delegates will be able to attend the conference including:

Lawyers, especially those involved in intellectual property, patents, commercial work involving biotechnology, family and criminal law where DNA testing occurs.
Insurance companies for whom DNA testing carries significant commercial implications.

Geneticists – clinical, academic and industry based interested in the interface between biotechnology and its current and possible future regulation.

Academics interested in the interface between the ethical, legal and social issues of human genetics

The Human Genome Project and developments in biotechnology.

Policy makers and those drafting legislation.

Interested parties from civil rights, clinical and medical genetic services and research.

Biotechnology companies, other genome, biotechnology users.


The main conference programme will provide an information base for the participants on the current and likely uses of DNA storage, testing and biotechnological expoitation. An introductory session will ensure that all delegates have a working knowledge of the role, structure and uses of DNA. Speakers will examine the diverse range of sample sources and their possible uses in clinical, parternity, criminal and commercial areas. The latter will include research, pharmacogenetic profiling, intellectual property and patenting and the implications for insurance.

Each session will bring together clinicians and genetic scientists with relevant legal experts to review the current legislation and possible future law. Attention will be paid to the ethical and social aspects of the subject and the dilemas facing policy makers, legislators and their advisory groups.

A series of parallel workshops will provide ample opportunity for interaction between the speakers and the participants on the various issues raised. At the conclusion of the two-day programme there will be a problem solving session and an opportunity for discussion and feedback.


Speakers will be drawn from a wide range of disciplines, each a recognised expert in their own field. There will also be speakers from govenment and its advisory bodies and others representing industry associations such as the Association of British Insurers.


The programme will cover:

The basics of DNA and genetic testing:

DNA: What it is and what can it tell us?

Testing DNA for genetic conditions.

The role of genetic profiling in clinical, paternity and forensic practice.

Why DNA raises legal questions:

What are the legal issues of DNA storage and testing?

Stored DNA: Who should have access and with what controls?

The use of genetics in public health.

The national police DNA bank.

Forensic use of molecular genetics.

Genetic databases: Legislation protecting privacy and access by law enforcement agencies.

Legal aspects of genetic privacy.

Public concerns about genomic science.

Genetics and the Human Rights Act.

The European and international perspective.

The legal regulation of genetic testing in insurance:

The relationship between medical genetics and insurance.

The role of genetic information in insurance assessment.

The position of the UK insurance companies

Self-regulation or possible legislation?

Public concerns about insurance and genetics.

The European and international perspective.

Intellectual property and patenting of DNA:

Who owns DNA and its intellectual property: The legal position.

The social and ethical context of DNA testing and patenting.


Manipulating genes and DNA.

Gene therapy.

Current and proposed legislation in DNA biotechnology.

The European and international perspective.

The legal future of the Human Genome Project

Where next with the Human Genome Project: Scientific pointers.

Paternity testing: Legal pointers.

DNA in the witness box: Legal pointers.

Clinical practice in the DNA age: Legal pointers.

Solving law and genetic problems and feedback from workshops


Kensington High Street
United Kingdom