Research Areas

Genetic testing involves examining an individual’s genetic makeup to look for disease risk, explore genetic ancestry, identify altered drug metabolism, or match DNA with samples left at a crime scene.

Duke faculty study a variety of ethical, legal, social, and policy issues that are associated with these activities. Faculty at the Center for Genomic & Computational Biology have been at the forefront of examining how gene patents and licensing agreements impact patient access to genetic testing. Researchers are also examining genetic ancestry testing and how this informs discussions around identity and race. Teams of students and faculty collaborate to examine the ethical, legal, social, and practical challenges associated with the spread of non-invasive prenatal genetic testing into the developing world, a research endeavor funded by the Bass Connections theme in Global Health. Researchers also study how DNA can be used to identify victims of disasters or help prevent human trafficking. Exploring these questions requires researchers to work across traditional disciplines to examine these issues from multiple angles.

Participating Faculty

Representative Courses

  • Cancer and the Genome (Public Policy, Genome)
  • Case Studies in Patient Advocacy and Activism (Public Policy)
  • Ethics and Policy in Genomics (Public Policy, Genome)
  • Gene Stories: Law, Medicine, and Narrative in Genetic Testing (Genome)
  • Genome Sciences & Policy Capstone (Genome)
  • Genome Sciences and Society (Genome)
  • Global Health & Genomics (Global Health)
  • Past and Future of the Human Genome (Genome, Bio)
  • Race, Genomics, and Society (Genome, African & African American Studies)
  • Science in the Media (Genome, Political Science)

Relevant Links