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Law and the Biosciences
Should parents be allowed to choose the genetic traits of their children? How should courts use neuroimaging to read the minds of witnesses? How will cheap and common whole genome sequencing change medicine and society? What will happen if we can make eggs and sperm from skin cells, using induced pluripotent stem cell technology? This seminar will examine legal, social, and ethical issues arising from advances in the biosciences. Much of the course will focus on human genetics, but we will also look at advances in assisted reproduction and in neuroscience. Specific topics may (or may not) include forensic use of DNA, genetic testing, genetic discrimination, eugenics, cloning, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, neuroscientific methods of lie detection and genetic or neuroscience enhancement, and other issues that seem interesting by next spring. Students will be required to make two short oral presentations, write a research paper, and deliver an oral presentation of their paper's conclusions. Students will be expected to attend every session as our joint discussion is the class’s most important aspect. Students will need internet access that allows them to transmit their faces as I will want people to have their cameras on whenever possible.
This course fulfills the second-level Writing and Rhetoric Requirement (WRITE 2) and emphasizes oral presentation.