Dear Reader,

We are pleased to introduce the third issue of Volume III of the Journal of Law and the Biosciences (JLB). This issue reflects our goal of fostering an interdisciplinary debate on the ethical, legal, and policy implications of current scientific developments in the biosciences.

We are featuring six original articles: (1) Largent reviews the FDA response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak to suggest lessons for the future; (2) Berryessa, Chandler, and Reiner explore the concerns raised by offers to substitute prison with biological treatments for criminal offenders; (3) Tamir examines the role of the state, acting as parens patriae, with respect to postnatal human genetic enhancement; (4) Yu explores the apparent contradictions between open science and commercialization objectives in the area of biobanks; (5) Saks et al. analyze the weaknesses of several forensic sciences and suggest the possible demise of bitemark identification; and (6) Cohen, Coan, Ottey, and Boyd develop an experiment with American Sperm Donors to explore the interface betweeen anonymity and compensation.

Our issue also contains 10 peer commentaries discussing articles previously published by JLB. Four commentaries authored by Ertman, Cahill, Markens, and Jacobson discuss the piece by Nelson et al. on gamete donor anonimity. One commentary authored by Bikson, Paneri, and Giordano discusses Wexler's article about transcranial direct current stimulation devices. Thambisetty comments Burk's article about patent subject matter eligibility. Carbone discusses Suter's in vitro gametogenesis piece. Alghrani comments Robertson's article on uterus transplantation. Knoppers and Harmon further contribute to the discussion raised by Nicole et al. on the regulatory challenges of precision medicine.

Professors Nelson and Hertz swiftly responded to the issues raised by the four commentators on their article, which explored the views of stakeholders on gamete donor anonymity. Our issue also features Professor Robertson's response to a peer commentary on his article, which adds to current discussions about the safety, efficacy, and ethical questions surrounding uterus transplants and gestational surrogacy. We are also publishing Professor Burk's response to two commentaries on his ‘Dolly and Alice’ article about patentable subject matter.

Finally, we are publishing four notes and development pieces written by students at Duke University, which explore anti-abortion laws, non-religious exemptions to mandatory vaccinations, the changing definition of brain death, and the implications of mitochondrial replacement therapies.

Our next issue will ‘publish’ in April 2017, but we post new articles and commentaries on an ongoing basis, so we encourage you to keep visiting our site and to subscribe to our email service providing alerts about advance online publications.

Thank you for your readership. We hope you will also consider submitting your work and participating on the exciting discussions that are currently taking place within the law and the biosciences field.


I. Glenn Cohen, JD

Co-Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Harvard Law School

Nita Farahany, JD, PhD

Co-Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Duke University

Hank Greely, JD

Co-Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Stanford University

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs licence (, which permits non-commercial reproduction and distribution of the work, in any medium, provided the original work is not altered or transformed in any way, and that the work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact