Political Issues in the Genome Era

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Science  16 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5507, pp. 1249-1251
DOI: 10.1126/science.1058370

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Senators Jeffords and Daschle comment on the policy issues surrounding the publication of the human genome. One of the most difficult issues is determining the proper balance between privacy concerns and fair use of genetic information. Although U.S. federal law does provide some protection against discrimination in health insurance, but continued scrutiny is needed. Policies protecting confidentiality in employment, research, and genetic testing (particularly in the reproductive sciences) should be considered and, if necessary, put into federal law. Eventually every country must decide what genetic information should be protected, who will have access to it, and how it may be used.