34 J.L. Med. & Ethics 147 (2006)
Preface - DNA Fingerprinting and Civil Liberties

handle is hein.journals/medeth34 and id is 151 raw text is: SYMPOSIUM

DNA Fingerprinting and
Civil Liberties
Benjamin W. Moulton

he American Society of Law, Medicine & Eth-
ics initiated the DNA Fingerprinting and Civil
Liberties Project in September of 2003 with
funding from the National Institutes of Health (1-RO1
HG002836). The ethical, legal, and social issues aris-
ing from the use of DNA forensics have not been fully
explored, nor have the many questions raised by their
application been adequately answered. Our research
agenda was designed to investigate the various posi-
tions on new and controversial issues surrounding
DNA profiling and to educate policymakers so that
they would better understand privacy and civil liberty
issues involved in the application of DNA technology.
To these ends, a series of small workshops were con-
vened. Participants included ethicists, lawyers, politi-
cal and social scientists, forensic experts, defense law-
yers and prosecutors, and representatives of prisoners
and parolees. Each workshop examined over two days
the issues in a series of working groups, plenary ses-
sions and public forums held at the Kennedy School
of Government at Harvard University. The ASLME
consultants and project team collected data, updat-
ing information on international laws and regulations
and procedures in order to ground workshop discus-
sions. Topic issues were framed and vetted, discussion
questions posed and syllabii developed for each specific
workshop. Group leaders were designated and rappo-
teurs noted areas of consensus and disagreement. The
Benjamin W. Moulton, J.D., M.P.H., is the Executive Direc-
tor of theAmerican Society ofLaw, Medicine & Ethics and the
Principal Investigator for NIH 1-R01 HG002836. He holds
an adjunct faculty appointment within the Department of
Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of
Public Health.

conversation was active and robust but never conten-
tious. Among the many topics explored were: (1) who
should be included in forensic databases; (2) tissue col-
lections as potential databases; (3) sample retention;
(4) length of retention; (5) access to forensic DNA da-
tabanks; (6) partial matches, and effects on relatives;
(7) racial identification using DNA hapotype analysis;
(8) resource allocation; (9) federal versus state roles;
(10) role of medical personnel; (11) the autonomy of
science; (12) uses of samples in medical research; (13)
behavioral genetic research; (14) informed consent for
research; (15) commercialization; (16) use for epide-
miological purposes; (17) fiduciary issues versus the
common good; (18) use of DNA collected for iden-
tification in mass disasters; and (19) national DNA
identification cards.
The workshops were organized along thematic lines.
The first workshop considered the technology of DNA
fingerprinting and ethical and policy concerns sur-
rounding the collection and retention of DNA samples.
The second workshop was designed to bring together a
multi-disciplinary group of experts to explore privacy
and civil liberties issues related to the application of
DNA technology to the criminal justice system. The
third workshop posed questions on the research and
ownership of samples. The ethical and policy impli-
cations of medical and behavioral research on DNA
samples was debated, and participants examined how
broadly can DNA collected for identification in mass
disasters be used for other purposes. The fourth and
final workshop addressed an issue of vast significance,
the use of DNA in exonerating innocents, and novel
issues related to the effects of DNA identification on
family relationships. The workshops were recorded


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