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'Genomics for Judges'

Working in tandem with the Supreme Court of Illinois and its Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, the Illinois Judicial Conference Committee on Education, the Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois organized and ran an educational seminar last November dubbed "Genomics for Judges" that was designed to equip court officials to better handle legal questions involving DNA sequencing and analysis as well as related technologies.

Forty-eight judges and justices attended the two-day seminar, which covered topics such as gene patenting, assessing evidence for the relationships between genetics and behavior, and the admissibility of scientific evidence in courts. During one session, participants also had a chance to try their hands at extracting and analyzing DNA.

According to the university, "the level of enthusiasm among the attendees was high, and many asked insightful questions of the presenters and expressed their excitement about the content of the course." There is talk of offering the seminar on a regular basis.