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logo_hgrpAbout the project
Project personnel
Advisory Review Committee
Project Publications/Resources
Project Media Archive & Visitors
Contact the Project

About the project

The New Zealand Law Foundation-sponsored Human Genome Research Project was a multi-disciplinary, 3-year project that analysed the pros and cons of regulating human genome-based technologies in New Zealand.

Rapid advances in genetics create dilemmas for medicine, ethics and the law. New knowledge and discoveries from genetics raise questions about clinical applications that will inevitably have economic implications and generate wider cultural and social questions. The range of appropriate responses need to be based on deep and coherent ethical, legal and public policy consideration of the issues.

First year of research

Research in the first year of the project looked into issues relating to preimplantation genetic diagnosis. The project team carried out a systematic investigation of the issues and published a report that was launched on 1 August 2006 at Parliament's Grand Hall.

Second year of research

Research in the second year concentrated on issues around preimplantation genetic diagnosis and other areas, including newborn genetic screening, genetic testing of children, community genetics, and microarray technologies. The role of public consultation in reproductive technologies was also explored. The report for the second year of the project was published in 2007.

Third year of research

In the third year of the project, research was undertaken in the areas of patenting, pharmacogenetics and privacy. Issues about the regulation of extracted DNA and the responsibility of researchers were examined. Research also continued on work carried out in previous years. The report for the third year of the project was published in 2008.

logo_nzlfContinuing research

The work of the Human Genome Research Project continues under the direction of the New Zealand Law Foundation (NZLF) Centre for Law and Policy in Emerging Technologies.

Visit the NZLF Centre for Law and Policy in Emerging Technologies
Visit the New Zealand Law Foundation website.

Project personnel

Project Leader: Professor Mark Henaghan

Project Manager: Richman Wee, LLM

Team Leaders:

Bioethics - Professor Don Evans
Clinical Genetics - Professor Stephen Robertson
Science - Dr Ian Morison, Dr Tony Merriman
Māori - Mr Bevan Tipene-Matua (Canterbury Polytechnic Institute of Technology)

Overseas Collaborators:

United Kingdom - Institute of Law and Ethics in Medicine, University of Glasgow (Director: Professor Sheila McLean)
United States - Stanford Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Stanford University (Associate Director: Associate Professor Mildred Cho)

Senior Researchers:

Law - Professor Nicola Peart, Professor Paul Roth, Jacinta Ruru
Bioethics - Professor Grant Gillett
Bioethics/Clinical Genetics - Dr Nikki Kerruish


Law - Aphra Green, LLM candidate, LLB (Hons, First Class), Deborah Lawson, PhD candidate, LLB BA (Philosophy), Jeanne Snelling, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law.

Bioethics - Dana Wensley, PhD, MA (Distinction)(London), LLB (Hons)(Auckland), Mike King, PhD
Public Health - Dr Geraldine Hill, MBChB, DPH (Distinction)
Science - Dr Genevieve Matthews
Māori - Benita Wakefield

Past Research Assistants:

Helen Bellchambers
Lois Black
Catriona Bloore
Jessica Chua
Megan Compton
James Dann
Helen Davidson
Kirsty Dobbs
Karen Evans
Matt Gillett
Victoria Guyatt
Emily Harris
Anna Holloway
Juliet Lawson
Sarah McMeeking
Peter Martin
Hannah Melvin
Danny Tuato'o

Administrative and secretarial support principally provided by:

Matt Hall
Karen Warrington
Marie-Louise Neilsen
Vicki Lang

Advisory Review Committee

Members of the Advisory Review Committee for the project were eminent leaders and experts in law, ethics, health research and genetics. The committee played a key role in advising the New Zealand Law Foundation about the shape and direction of the project. Advisory Review Committee members were appointed by the New Zealand Law Foundation.

They were:

Hon Justice James Bruce Robertson
Court of Appeal, New Zealand

Hon Justice Michael Donald Kirby
High Court of Australia

Professor Colin Mantell
Tumuaki and Head of the Department (retired Feb 2005)
Māori and Pacific Island Health
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
University of Auckland

Professor Ingrid Winship
Adult Clinical Genetics, University of Melbourne, and
Research Director, Melbourne Health, Royal Melbourne Hospital

Contact the Project

Tel 64 3 479 8857
Fax 64 3 479 8855

Postal address

Faculty of Law
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

Courier/street address

Faculty of Law
University of Otago
85 Albany Street
9th Floor, Richardson Building
New Zealand

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