Public Symposium: Research and Responsibility in Conflict?

Press Release No. 58/2012
6 March 2012
Ethical, legal and economic aspects of the total sequencing of the human genome

Ethical, legal and economic issues associated with the total sequencing of the human genome are the subject of a public symposium taking place at Heidelberg University on 15 and 16 March 2012. The conference has been organised by the Marsilius Kolleg, the university’s Centre of Advanced Study, where scholars and scientists are involved in a research project named EURAT dedicated to the normative issues and societal problems engendered by the total sequencing of the human genome. The symposium is designed to enable the participants in this project to debate the results of their work so far with other researchers from Germany and abroad and also to encourage public discussion on these questions.

“Total sequencing of the human genome has been possible since 2003 and it has been constantly improved up to the present,” says Prof. Dr. Klaus Tanner of Heidelberg University’s Department of Academic Theology, the coordinator of the EURAT project. “But there are still essential issues that need to be resolved by medical and scientific researchers in close conjunction with jurists, economists and ethicists.” Among the topics broached at the symposium are the consequences for doctor-patient relationships, economic aspects of the health system and the responsible handling of stored data material.

The EURAT project funded by the Marsilius Kolleg (its full title is “Ethical and Legal Aspects of Whole Genome Sequencing”) assembles scientists and scholars from different disciplines working at Heidelberg University, Heidelberg University Hospital, the German Cancer Research Center, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law. The Health Economics Research Unit at the Hannover University is a partner.

The public symposium “Research and Responsibility in Conflict? Ethical and Legal Aspects of Whole Genome Sequencing” takes place on 15 and 16 March at the BioQuant Centre, Im Neuenheimer Feld 267. For the full programme, go to

Felicitas Eckrich
Marsilius Project EURAT
phone: +49 6221 566825

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