Law, Race, and Biotechnology: Toward a Biopolitical and Transdisciplinary Paradigm

Roberts, Dorothy E.
Annual Review of Law and Social Science

Law influences and is shaped by the emergence of race-based biotechnologies in the genomic age. This review examines how law and social science scholars have approached the role of legal regulation, theories, and norms in governing the definition and utility of race in gene-based technological innovation. I structure my discussion around four main themes: the institutional regulation of biotechnology research, commercial incentives for race-specific products, the paradoxes of inclusion and difference, and racial equality jurisprudence. My attention then turns to future directions for research in this field needed to attend to the serious political implications of increasing race consciousness in genomic research and technology at a time when color blindness and postracialism are gaining popularity. I argue for a biopolitical and transdisciplinary paradigm that is committed to our common humanity and to the need for social change.