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Book Talk: The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNA

October 20th, 2021 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Event Description

When Chris Hansen, an ACLU lawyer, learned that the U.S. government was issuing patents for human genes to biotech companies, his first thought was: How can a corporation own what makes us who we are? Then he discovered that women were being charged exorbitant fees to test for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer—all because Myriad Genetics had patented the famous BRCA genes. So he sued them.

In his upcoming book, The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNAJorge Contreras gives us a front-row seat as Hansen and a team of ACLU lawyers, along with a committed group of activists, scientists, and physicians, take their one-in-a-million case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Join us on October 20 for a discussion with Contreras and expert panelists on this landmark case and remaining unresolved questions in genetics law.


  • Introduction and Moderator: I. Glenn Cohen, Faculty Director, Petrie-Flom Center; James A. Attwood and Leslie Williams Professor of Law; and Deputy Dean, Harvard Law School
  • Jorge L. Contreras, Author and Professor, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah
  • Jonathan D. Kahn, Professor of Law and Biology, Northeastern University School of Law
  • Jessica Silbey, Professor of Law and Yanakakis Faculty Research Scholar, Boston University School of Law

Co-sponsored by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School and Harvard Law School Library


Date: October 20th, 2021
Time: 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Calendars: Public Events, School-wide Events, University-wide Events
Event types: Lectures / Seminars / Forums