Press Release


The Illinois Humanities Council presents the eleventh program in its series: “Future Perfect: Conversations on the Meaning of the Genetics Revolution.”

CHICAGO – Advances in genetics have made detailed information about our genetic makeup readily available and easier to attain. Who collects the information and who gets to keep it? What kind of power do those who gather and keep genetic information hold? Studying the genes of our ancestors and historical figures could prove to be enlightening. Yet, who’s to say they shouldn’t be able to take their DNA to the grave? Panelists will be discussing these issues of genetic privacy and ownership of genetic materials.

“Who Gets to Know? Genetics and Privacy” will take place on Monday, July 30 from 6:00 – 8:00 P.M. at the Chicago History Museum, (1601 N. Clark St., Chicago).

This event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. To make reservations or for more information, contact the IHC at 312.422.5580, send an email to, or visit

Panelists for “Who Gets to Know?”:

  • Lori B. Andrews, J.D. is Distinguished Professor of Law; Director of the Institute for Science, Law and Technology; Associate Vice President, Chicago Kent College of Law; and author of many books, including The Clone Age: Adventures in the New World of Reproductive Technology.
  • Dr. William J. Catalona isProfessor of Urology; Director, Clinical Prostate Cancer Program, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He recently was involved in a dispute with Washington University over who owns tissue samples—research institutions who use the materials or the patients from which the samples came.
  • Russell Lewis is Executive Vice President and Chief Historian at the Chicago History Museum and will be discussing issues related to the DNA of Abraham Lincoln.
  • Larry Miller is an Intermedia and Fluxus artist whose multimedia pieces—including those copyrighting his own DNA—have focused on questions of genetic ownership.

“Who Gets to Know? Genetics and Privacy” is presented in partnership with the American Medical Association, the Chicago History Museum, and the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

“Who Gets to Know?” is part of the Illinois Humanities Council’s year-long series, Future Perfect: Conversations on the Meaning of the Genetics Revolution. Programs are taking place around the state — in Carbondale, Chicago, Decatur, Lewistown, Peoria, Rockford, and Springfield — to increase public knowledge of genetics by engaging Illinoisans in conversations about the genetics revolution and its impact on the individual and on society. Programs feature scholars, scientists, ethicists, artists, medical professionals, and philosophers as guest speakers. For the most recent calendar of events or for more information, please visit

Future Perfect” is funded in part by generous grants from the Motorola Foundation and The Boeing Company. Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5) and Illinois Channel are media sponsors for “Future Perfect.”

The Illinois Humanities Council is an educational organization dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Through its programs and grants, the IHC promotes greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. Organized as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1973, the IHC is now a private nonprofit (501 [c] 3) organization that is funded by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations; by the Illinois General Assembly; and by the NEH.


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