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'Nature' publishes article by law professor, student

April 08, 2009

Professor Gary Marchant of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law has co-authored, along with third-year law student Yu Cai, an article, "Ethical Implications of Epigenetics Research," in the April issue of Nature Reviews Genetics journal.

With collaborator Mark A. Rothstein, the Herbert F. Boehl Chair of Law and Medicine at the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, Marchant and Cai outline four ethical issues surrounding epigenetics, the study of the chemical modification of specific genes or gene-associated proteins of an organism.

The issues relate to environmental and hazardous exposures both for exposed individuals, their progeny and subsequent generations, privacy and confidentiality concerns, and equitable access to health care for people who are adversely impacted by epigenetic alterations.

"Epigenetic research raises other profound issues, including individual and societal responsibilities to prevent hazardous exposures, monitor health status and provide treatment," the authors wrote. "Epigenetics also serves to highlight the effects of inequality in living and working conditions and adds a multigenerational dimension to environmentally caused adverse health effects."

The same authors also have written a longer legal article on this subject to be published in the upcoming issue of Health Matrix.

To read the article in Nature Reviews Genetics, click here.

Janie Magruder,
(480) 727-9052
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law