HISTSCI 136 Study Guide - Final Guide: Scale-Invariant Feature Transform, Combined Dna Index System, Human Genome Project

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26 Jun 2018
James Shecter
Final Exam Study Guide
1. Choose one example discussed in class or the readings in which legal expertise intersects
with scientific expertise. Summarize the case and then analyze how the competing aims of
science and the law shape the status of scientific facts or evidence in your examples. For
example, are biological concepts (of kinship, property, identity) reconfigured in your
example? How is scientific authority and validity constructed or deployed to ground legal
Myriad (CAN’T USE)
oSummarize Case [from midterm study guide]
oMyriad isolated and sequenced BRCA 1-2 (certain mutations of which indicate
high risk of breast cancer): argued that once gene is isolated/distinguishable, it
could be patented
By patenting, Myriad had exclusive control over diagnostic testing and
further scientific research
oAMP invoked product of nature argument and that the patent would limit
scientific progress
oDistrict court ruled in favor of AMP, holding that isolating a gene does not alter
its naturally occurring fundamental qualities
oUS Court of Appeals reversed, holding that isolated genes are chemically distinct
from their natural state
oMarch 2012: SCOTUS held that naturally occurring gene sequences and their
derivatives are un-patentable
Also held that creation of a new product in a lab is exempt from being a
product of nature  gene sequences refined by synthetic processes to
create molecules that do not occur naturally are patent eligible
Conclusion: Based on precedents, the product of nature argument applies and
invalidatess the patentability of the actual genetic material. However, if the
process/mechanism of extraction/sequencing is novel/unique, that aspect is
patentable. To patent the genes for a disease that is so widespread would impede
the ability/motivation of medical research in the field.
oOwnership over a gene  if you have these genes, does Myriad own part of you?
Genetic understanding of personhood
oPharma ads  paradigm of health
Scientific authority
oTranslation, competition
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oGenes versus prior bio-ownership
Other usable cases
oBuzzanca vs. Buzzanca  kinship, identity, parenthood
2. Read the Supreme Court ruling on Maryland v. King (2013). On the basis of what you have
learned and read about genomic sequencing and databasing, draft a dissenting opinion
Case Summary
oMaryland DNA Collection Act (MCDA) allows state and local officers to collect
DNA samples from individuals who are arrested for a crime of violence
oAlonzo King was arrested on assault charges; his DNA was collected and logged
in MD database, which matched his DNA to DNA sample from unsolved rape
Sample is only evidence linking King to rape
Trial Judge denied King’s motion to suppress DNA evidence; was
convicted of 1st- deg rape and sentenced to life in prison
oAppeal: MDCA was unconstitutional infringement of his 4th amendment right
against warrantless searches  MD appeals court reversed decision in King’s
favor, holding that his expectation of privacy was greater than MD’s interest in
using DNA for identification purposes
oSCOTUS: 5-4 in favor of MD
Maj: conducting DNA swab test as part of arrest procedure does not
violate 4th amendment b/c test serves as legit state interest and is not so
invasive as to require a warrant
Ascertaining arrestee’s identity and criminal history is crucial part of
arrest procedure; DNA testing just as valid/informative as fingerprinting
or photographs
Determining criminal history also serves legit state interest of
determining risk level of individuals
Arrestees have a diminished expectation of privacy
oDissent: 4th amendment categorically prevents searching a person for evidence
of a crime without cause
Scalia dissent
oIndividualized suspicion
oPrimary purpose of DNA searches is something other than simply discovering
evidence of criminal wrongdoing
oFourth Amendment lists “persons” first among the entities protected against
unreasonable searches and seizures
oNo matter the degree of invasiveness, suspicionless searches are never allowed if
their principal end is ordinary crime-solving.
A search incident to arrest either serves other ends (such as officer
safety, in a search for weapons) or is not suspicionless (as when there is
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reason to believe the arrestee possesses evidence relevant to the crime
of arrest
oPurpose of the DNA search  to establish identity?
olaw provides that DNA samples are collected and tested, as a matter of Maryland
law, "as part of an official
THESIS: The primary purpose of DNA testing is something other than simply discovering
evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Despite the fact that arrestees have an inherently
diminished expectation of privacy, cross-checking their DNA samples without
individualized suspicion for crimes is an egregious invasion of privacy – the exact kind of
privacy the 4th amendment was designed to protect.
oCase Description/Escalation to SCOTUS
MDCA: enacted “to assist an official investigation of a crime; to identify
human remains; to identify missing persons” etc.; amended in ’08 for
violent crime arrests
MD SC ruled in King’s favor, applying “totality of circumstances” (US v.
Knights)  requires weighing the intrusion upon individual privacy vs.
promotion of legit gov’t interest
Arrestees have strong privacy rights b/c they are cloaked w/ presumption
of innocence until they are found guilty
Court concluded that real purpose of DNA collection is to further
investigation of unsolved crimes
"Although we have recognized (and no one can reasonably deny) that
solving cold cases is a legitimate government interest, a warrantless,
suspicionless search cannot be upheld by a 'generalized interest' in
solving crimes."
o(epic.org source) when law enforcement entity collects DNA sample, gov’t
retains person’s full genetic makeup indefinitely
No statute requiring gov’t to discard full DNA sample
As geneticists discover new ways to use DNA, potential for misuse by
gov’t increases and threatens individual privacy
CODIS database accessible by local/state/fed agencies and has expanded
w/o legal safeguards as CODIS expands, individual privacy rights are
implicated, and not just for the individual whose DNA is added to the
database; the ability to search for partial matches also implicates privacy
rights of family members whose DNA is close enough that they too are
flagged in CODIS search
Could make argument about constitutionality OR social implications
oConstitutionality of search and seizure
oScientific grounds
DNA fingerprinting is rarely 100% accurate; tough to say definitively that
DNA comes from certain person
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