Wolf Presents for Women Inspire

Millions of Americans have shared their genomes with private companies to learn more about their ancestry. DNA kits have become popular family gifts. But the arrest of the Golden State Killer using genomic data relatives had uploaded to a genealogical website brought up an important question: how can the genetic data hared with private companies be used?

Leslie Wolf, Distinguished Professor of Law and director of the Center for Law, Health & Society at Georgia State Law, provided insight about the subject during the first Women Inspire lecture for the 2018-19 academic year this November.

Wolf, an expert in research ethics, discussed confidentiality of genomic data in light of the Golden State Killer case in California. She noted that the number of DNA samples in clinical and research databases dwarf those held by ancestry databases, but, wherever the DNA, it may be used for purposes not originally intended. There are some legal protections afforded research databases that are not available to others, but there are gaps in these protections.

“I care about how the Golden State Killer case may impact people’s willingness to participate in research that collects DNA,” Wolf said. “It provides an opportunity for discussion about how such DNA is used and what we do to protect participants.”

Open to the university community, the speaker series showcases distinctive women from the ranks of Georgia State’s stellar faculty who are making a difference. Center faculty members Charity Scott and Jessica Gabel Cino have also presented in past Women Inspire sessions.

Click here to view the video recording.