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Rights, Regulation, and the Technological Revolution$
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Roger Brownsword

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276806

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276806.001.0001

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Genetic Databases and the First Signs of Regulatory Opportunity

Genetic Databases and the First Signs of Regulatory Opportunity

(p.215) 8 Genetic Databases and the First Signs of Regulatory Opportunity
Rights, Regulation, and the Technological Revolution

Roger Brownsword

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on genetic databases, specifically their use as a regulatory instrument. It begins by considering forensic collections, entertaining the thought that in a community of rights, it might be plausible to argue for a comprehensive population-wide DNA database. The chapter then turns to collections for public health purposes. If the state is justified in compelling the supply of DNA samples for forensic purposes, there might seem to be a case for compelling participation in public health biobanking projects. It argues that agents who aspire to moral community need to be particularly mindful of the corrosive impact of a (bio)technological approach to social control whether concerned with the prevention of crime or the promotion of public health. If such an approach simply reduces the risks to which agents are exposed, all well and good; but if the effect is to corrode the conditions that underlie the very project of moral community itself, then this is a risk which no community of rights can afford to ignore and which it surely will not wish to run.

Keywords:   National DNA Database, UK Biobank, genetic databases, forensic collections, DNA samples

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