Genetic Information and the Common Good
Tuesday 24 July 2012, 2:00pm - 4:00pm

This session addressed the tension between “the common good” and “the autonomous individual” that comes up around so many of the technologies and practices included in this track. How do we ensure individual protection against the misuses of genetic information while still advocating for the promotion of human health and genomic sciences? Must individual rights and the common good always be in tension, or might we disrupt their polarization?

With so much power being relegated to individual consumer choice in the realm of biotechnology, how do we work toward safeguards that recognize social context and the common good? What might it mean to prioritize “care” throughout the research process in order to think about the rights and responsibilities of research to the common good? How do different constituencies (bioethicists, scientists, patients) define “care”?

Speaking to many of these complex questions, panelists Laura Foster, Malia Fullerton, and Anna Jabloner explored emerging mechanisms – legal, ethical, institutional – to promote the collective decision-making about consumer genetics, personalized medicine, and biomedical research. Then, David Winickoff moderated discussion, first posing questions that put the panelists in conversation with one another, and next opening it up to hear from others in attendance.

While deliberations of “the common good” can often seem abstract, an overall goal for this session was to articulate some tangible ideas, forms, and mechanisms that utilize the common good, exploring how these might be more frequently implemented in biotechnology research and development.

Terry Room

Documents Related to This Session

Karen Maschke
Submitted by: Karen Maschke
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Submitted by: Gerald Schatz