Policy ForumHuman Genetics

Before It's Too Late--Addressing Fear of Genetic Information

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Science  12 Jul 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5579, pp. 196-197
DOI: 10.1126/science.1075221

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The application of genetics to human health is poised for dramatic expansion in the next few decades. Public support for the Human Genome Project is based on its promise for improving the future of human health. However, this enthusiasm has been tempered by fear that genetic information will make us vulnerable to genetic discrimination and loss of privacy. In this Policy Forum, K. H. Rothenberg and S. F. Terry place this fear in context, raise reasons why we might not have seen more cases to date of genetic discrimination, speculate on the implications of waiting to see if the problem of genetic discrimination worsens, and outline the need for federal legislation.

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