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Examining the legal, ethical and social implications of whole genome sequencing at birth

   School of Law

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  Dr Tracey Elliot, Dr Nataly Papadopoulou, Prof Jose Miola  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Developments in genomic testing mean that it is now possible to conduct whole genome sequencing of newborn infants. In November 2019 the UK Health Secretary announced his ambition for all infants to receive such screening and the Newborn Genomes Programme is currently exploring the benefits, challenges, and practicalities of this. Whilst population-wide newborn genome sequencing is not currently practicable, it is likely to become a reality within the foreseeable future. Sequencing offers a number of potential benefits to the infants, their families and the wider population, but concerns have been raised, including in relation to the obtaining and storage of personal data before the child has capacity to provide informed consent, the reliance upon parental consent in circumstances where parents may underestimate risks, confidentiality, privacy and the possible potential uses of data for forensic and commercial purposes, and whether such testing is always in the best interests of the child. This PhD study will review the literature in relation to newborn genetic sequencing, identifying, critically exploring the social, legal and ethical issues in relation to such programmes.

Entry Requirements

  • Entry requirements Candidates applying to the four-year PhD should hold or expect to hold an undergraduate degree or a Master's degree in a relevant subject or overseas equivalent
  • University of Leicester English language requirements apply


UK/ International* applicants may apply.

* International students please refer to the Funding section.

Enquiries to Sarah Grey [Email Address Removed].

To apply please refer to the advice and application link at

Funding Notes

Wellcome Trust Studentship funding:
• Four Years Fees at UK rates
• Wellcome Trust stipend for the four years of the PhD*
*PhD Stipend Year 1 £19,919; Year 2 £21,542; Year 3 £23,298; Year 4 £23,997
We offer international fee waivers for two students per year from low and middle income countries.
*International students awarded the UK tuition fee waiver/stipend studentship will need to provide evidence that they can pay the difference between UK fees and international fees for the duration of their studies.
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