Body Parts: Property Rights and the Ownership of Human Biological Materials

Synopsis

In Body Parts, E. Richard Gold examines whether the body and materials derived from it - such as human organs and DNA - should be thought of as market commodities and subject to property law. Analyzing a series of court decisions concerning property rights, Gold explores whether the language and assumptions of property law can help society determine who has rights to human biological materials. Gold observes that the commercial opportunities unleashed by advances in biotechnology present a challenge to the ways that society has traditionally valued the human body and human health. In a balanced discussion of both commercial and individual perspectives, Gold asserts the need to understand human biological materials within the context of human values, rather than economic interests.