Scientists Meet Scientists – TUM-IAS Wednesday Coffee Talk by Prof. Myles Jackson: “Patents, Race, and Genomics in the United States"

Events, WCT |

On July 20, 2022, Prof. Myles Jackson (History of Science, Princeton Institute for Advanced Study) will talk about “Patents, Race, and Genomics in the United States."

Abstract: This talk analyzes the main legal theories of ownership that have shaped, and have been shaped by, genetic information. These theories have become particularly relevant now that private genomics companies, such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA (the genetic testing company of, are selling access to their databases containing their clients’ genetic information to various interested third parties. In addition, these companies have used 'race' as a marketing ploy in order to obtain millions of samples from individuals fascinated about their roots. While one may naïvely think that these customers ‘own’ their DNA, the situation is much more complicated. What does it really mean to own a biological molecule? And what does it mean to be a certain percentage of a particular 'race' or from a particular country? What are the ramifications of defining one's identity in terms of genetics? In essence, this is a talk about the history of human classification and its social, ethical, and legal implications.


Date: July 20, 2022
Time: 13:00 (until approx. 14:00)
Location: online

Registration: The TUM-IAS Wednesday Coffee talks are currently held online via Zoom. To register and to receive the Zoom link, please send an email to


To enable our ever-growing international community to participate, the TUM-IAS Wednesday Coffee Talks are currently held online via zoom.

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An overview on upcoming and past TUM-IAS Wednesday Coffee Talks can be found at the TUM-IAS Wednesday Coffee Talk Overview.