Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Understanding various concerns of Human Genome Project

The importance of the Human Genome Project has raised many concerns, both biological and ethical. These questions are being addressed as the information generated by the project is being processed and used by people worldwide.

1) Privacy and confidentiality of the genetic information: Who owns the genetic information?

2) Right to use the genetic information by insurance companies, employers, courts, schools, adoption agencies, and so on: Who should have access to individual genetic information and how should it be used?

3) Psychological impact and stigma attached to an individual's genetic differences: How does personal genetic information affect an individual and society's perception of that individual? How does genomic information affect members of minority communities?

4) Reproductive issues, including informed consent for complex and potentially controversial procedures, use of genetic information in reproductive decision making, and reproductive rights: Do health-care personnel properly counsel expectant parents about the risks and limitations of genetic technology? How reliable and useful is fetal genetic testing? What are the larger societal issues raised by new reproductive technologies?

5) Clinical issues, including the education of doctors and other health service providers, patients, and the general public in genetic capabilities, scientific limitations, and social risks, including implementation of standards and quality-control measures in testing procedures: How will genetic tests be evaluated and regulated for accuracy, reliability, and utility? (Currently, there is little regulation at the federal level.) How do we prepare health-care professionals for the new information relating to genetics? How do we prepare the public to make informed choices? How do we as a society balance current scientific limitations and social risk with long-term benefits?

6) Uncertainties associated with genetic tests for susceptibilities and complex conditions (e.g., heart disease) linked to multiple genes and environmental interactions: Should testing be performed when no treatment is available? Should parents have the right to have children tested for adult-onset diseases? Are genetic tests reliable and interpretable by the medical community?

7) Conceptual and philosophical implications regarding human responsibility, free will versus genetic determinism, and concepts of health and disease: Do people's genes make them behave in a particular way? Can people always control their behavior? What is considered acceptable diversity? What is the line between medical treatment and enhancement?

8) Health and environmental issues concerning genetically modified (GM) foods and microbes: Are GM foods and other products safe to humans and the environment? How will these technologies affect developing nations' dependence on the West?

9) Commercialization of products including property rights (patents, copyrights, and trade secrets) and accessibility of data and materials: Who owns genes and other pieces of DNA? Will the patenting of DNA sequences limit their accessibility and development into useful products?

Tags: Bio Technology, Bio Genetics, Genetic Engineering

Related Posts by Categories