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Individual rights and property rights in human genetic databases: a common-law perspective.

Borghi, M., 2018. Individual rights and property rights in human genetic databases: a common-law perspective. In: Arnold, R., Cippitani, R. and Colcelli, V., eds. Genetic Information and Individual Rights. Regensburg: Regensburg University Press, 120 - 133.

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Genetic Information OK.pdf


DOI: 10.5283/epub.36785


The chapter discusses the conflict between individual rights in genetic information and intellectual property rights arising from human genetic databases. It shows how Anglo-American jurisprudence has addressed the issue of individuals’ control over the use genetic information, in particular when this use exceeds the scope of the initial consent given by the individual with respect to their own genetic information and other medical data. The main conflicts arise when the information has been initially released for therapeutic or research aims and then is used for commercial purposes or to develop patented inventions. Despite severe criticism by legal scholars, Anglo-American jurisprudence tends to allow secondary uses of biological material and medical information even when they are incompatible with the initial consent, on the sole condition that no harm is done to the individual’s right to privacy. The chapter examines the legal mechanisms that have been adopted by government authorities to regulate the use of human genetic databases and to ensure that research on those databases is consistent with individuals’ expectation and public interest.

Item Type:Book Section
Series Name:Law & Sience
Number of Pages:152
Additional Information:The present work has been carried out within the activities of the Centre of Excellence Jean Monnet «Rights and Science» of the Department of Experimental Medicine of the Università degli Studi di Perugia, with the support of the Programme Erasmus+-Jean Monnet of the European Union (Grant Decision no. 565513-EPP-1-2015-1-IT-EPPJMO-CoE)
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:31034
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:15 Oct 2018 10:59
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:12


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