Deadline: February 05, 2018

Dr. Aisling De Paor, Guest Editor

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Genetic science and technology are advancing at a fast pace, with scientists continuing to make genetic discoveries with respect to the make-up of the human body, and the cause and effect of disease, diversity and disability amongst individuals. Scientific and technological innovations are becoming more refined, resulting in an increase in the availability and use of genetic testing, and other cutting edge genetic technologies (including gene editing, which has recent come to the forefront of scientific advances). Genetic testing and these emerging technologies promise to potentially revolutionise health care and offer the potential of personalised or precision medicine. In addition to detecting predisposition to disease, genetic technology may also offer the means to detect and potentially eradicate future disabilities. Although offering significant opportunities for understanding and improving health, medicine and the human body, this new genetic era exposes unintended consequences and highlights a minefield of legal, ethical and regulatory challenges in both medical and non- medical contexts, and indeed in society in general. It also raises ethical questions about personhood, disability and philosophical questions about what it means to be human.

The increasing availability of genetic information, and the insights it offers into an individual’s future health, predisposition to disability, as well as possible predisposition to behavioural traits is valuable information, not only for therapeutic purposes, but also to a wide range of third parties (including employers), as well as providers of social goods and services (such as insurance companies). Advancing genetic science and technology therefore requires consideration of the commercial interests at stake in this field.

Considering the commercial interests arising, one of the main concerns arising in this area is the potential use of genetic testing to discriminate. Employers and insurance companies, as well as other third parties, may use the results of genetic tests to discriminate (primarily for economic advantage), based on perceptions of future health risks or future disabilities. The familial nature of genetic information also expands the proportion of individuals vulnerable to potential mistreatment and genetic discrimination. In addition to discrimination concerns, genetic privacy rights concerns similarly arise in commercial and other settings. With the ongoing developments in genetic science and technology, and the increasing application of these technologies in clinical and other contexts, questions arise as to whether an appropriate framework exists to protect the interests of individuals (and potentially family members), prevent the misuse of genetic information by interested third parties, and also to encourage further advances in genetic science.

This Special Issue examines a wide variety of questions arising in the emerging field of genetics law and policy, with a particular focus on the issue of genetic discrimination. The area comprises an intersection of a variety of disciplines, including genetic science, bioethics, human rights, medical law and disability law. It welcomes submissions on the broader impact of the field in commercial and other settings, the impact in the area of disability rights, as well as more targeted submissions on the particular concerns arising with genetic discrimination.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Laws is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions. 


  • Genetic science and new technologies

  • Genetic testing

  • Genetics law, policy and regulation

  • Genetic discrimination

  • Genetic privacy

  • Bioethics

  • Human rights

  • Disability rights

  • UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 5 February 2018

Read more and submit now here!

bioethics disability genetics health law policy human rights opportunity