families sued the Texas Department of Health Services and Texas A & M
University System, asserting the collection and storage of newborn blood
samples for research purposes, without parental consent, was an unreasonable search and seizure and violated constitutional principles.
62 The Texas
legislature later enacted a statute requiring that parents be made aware that
their newborn’s genetic information may be retained by the Department of
Health Services for research purposes unless the parent, in written form, requests otherwise.
63 The state agreed as part of settling the Beleno case to
destroy approximately five-million blood samples obtained prior to the settlement of the lawsuit.
IV. WHOLE GENOME SEQUENCING
Whole Genome Sequencing, the ability to acquire an individual’s entire
set of genetic information with one test, is anticipated to be a “game chang-
er” in medical research and clinical treatment, creating profound implica-
tions for science, public health, and law.
65 In 2004, the federal government
set a $1000 goal for sequencing a complete human genome, and that goal
was met even more quickly than the challenge anticipated.
66 The technology
push continues to drive down the time and cost of WGS and bring it closer
to affordable commercial use.
67 In particular, for applications that currently
use genetic testing (such as NBS), sequencing technology will soon be
more efficient and cost-effective than a slew of individual tests that range in
cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars each.
Health Dept. and Texas A&M over Infant Blood Databank (Mar. 18, 2009),
62. Amended Complaint, supra note 61 at ¶ 23; Ann Waldo, The Texas Newborn
Bloodspot Saga has Reached a Sad – and Preventable – Conclusion, GENOMICS LAW
REPORT (Mar. 26, 2010), http://www.genomicslawreport.com/index.php/2010/03/16/the-
63. TEX. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE ANN. §§ 33.0111, 33.018 (West, WestlawNext
through 2013 Third Called Session of the 83rd Legislature).
64. Jay Root, Texas officials agree to destroy babies’ blood samples after settling lawsuit, DALLAS NEWS (Feb. 14, 2010), http://www.dallasnews.com/news/state/
65. See Gary E. Marchant & Rachel A. Lindor, The Game Changer: Whole Genome
Sequencing, BIOTECH BRIEFING, Fall 2011, at 3-4, http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/
66. Id. at 1-2; Andrew Pollack, The Race to Read Genomes on a Shoestring, Relatively
Speaking, N. Y. TIMES, Feb. 9, 2008, at C1. In 2012, Life Technologies introduced a sequencer that can sequence a whole genome in less than twenty-four hours, for less than $1000.
Press Release, Life Technologies, Life Technologies Introduces the Benchtop Ion Proton Sequencer; Designed to Decode a Human Genome in One Day for $1,000 (Jan. 10, 2014),
67. Marchant & Lindor, supra note 65, at 2.