Like cyberlaw before it, biolaw has become a recognized academic discipline. Combining, as it does, both the law of biology and the biology of law, it draws inspiration from such rapidly advancing and culturally disruptive scientific fields as genomics, synthetic biology, reproductive biology, neurobiology, and evolutionary biology, while considering how the law does and should regulate this scientific whirlwind. Biolaw uses both biological science to study and improve the law and legal analysis of biology and its implications on human society. At present, there is no area of law more dynamic, challenging, and significant.
The American Association of Law Schools ("AALS"), which holds its annual conclave of law professors in San Francisco from January 5-8, 2011, will host the inaugural meeting of the newly official Biolaw Section. Here are the details of the exciting program the Biolaw Section has planned:
January 5, 2011 - 2:00-3:45 PM
Section on Biolaw
Title: Synthetic Biology Meets the Law
Section Chair/Moderator: Andrew W. Torrance, University of Kansas School of Law
Speakers: Claes Gustafsson, Vice President, DNA 2.0, Drew Endy, Stanford University, Oliver Goodenough, Vermont Law School, Michele Goodwin, University of Minnesota Law School, Christopher M. Holman, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, Jonathan Kahn, Hamline University School of Law, Eileen M. Kane, Pennsylvania State University The Dickinson School of Law
Topic: Synthetic biology marries biological science to engineering principles. It aims to transform traditional biology into a field where genes, genomes, metabolic pathways, cells, and even organisms may be designed and constructed rapidly and inexpensively. Synthetic biology challenges the law in areas such as intellectual property, open innovation, ownership, biosafety, and biosecurity. A panel of scientists and legal scholars with expertise in synthetic biology issues will discuss the current and future landscapes of the law of synthetic biology.
As biological discoveries and biotechnological innovations continue to fascinate, perplex, and frighten society, and the rough engine of the law is increasingly asked to manage these challenges, the role of biolaw, both as a scholarly discipline and as a body of useful legal tools, grows ever more important.