Remarks by Jonathan Kahn

Remarks by Jonathan Kahn
Setting the Stage
Stage Setting:
1. The double-edge of diverse genetic technologies
- obvious: prenatal testing v. eugenics
- 2d green revolution: monoculture, commercial dominance
- Identify disaster/atrocity victims, identify criminals, Big Brother
- Frame complex social problems as fundamentally technical/scientific genetic
- Promote a notion of a clear divide between science and society
- e.g. health disparities.
- Solve problems of rich countries not poor
- Skewed resources: Alzheimers research v. malaria nets

2. Unanticipated/unintended consequences

- Need for maintaining flexibility in our approaches and responses to genetic developments and applications.
- Being sensitive to power of path dependence and how decisions being made now set up structures that frame or constrain later choices.
3. Balancing the roles of state, market, civil society and the individual - with particular mention of concern about neo-liberal market driven approaches to technologies development crowding out all other considerations
- Particular concerns about implications of genetic focus for health disparities – both within our country and internationally.
- Additional concerns about how biotech has been at the leading edge of models for further corporatizing academia
o E.g. the drive to develop biotech profit centers and tech transfer
o Academia as a business, not liberal education for citizenship

4. Being sensitive to gene-hype and how it affects allocation of scare intellectual and economic resources

5. Thinking about strategic points of leverage throughout the conference where we think we might be able to bring to bear some influence over the foregoing concerns.

- Sort of the flip-side of path dependence – see where we might choose make targeted interventions to influence frame or structure of approaches to genetics.
o E.g. ACLU Myriad law suit and commercialization
o Procedural criteria for using race in relation to genetics in regulatory settings – FDA, PTO, NIH
o Automatic expungement of DNA from Forensic data bases if not convicted.
o Institutional support for truly interdisciplinary approaches to these problems.
6. Drawing Connections Across Diverse domains
- Gaining insight to above concerns and others by seeing how they manifest in different contexts.