Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

The Completion of the Human Genome Nucleotide Sequence Raises Privacy Concerns

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

The Completion of the Human Genome Nucleotide Sequence Raises Privacy Concerns

Article excerpt

Editor--Recently, many scientific journals (1-3) and the mass media have reported the completion of a rough draft of the human genome nucleotide sequence. This is an astonishing and monumental achievement that opens a new frontier in medicine. Sequence information from the public Human Genome Project and the private sector promises to revolutionize the treatment of many human diseases, including different forms of cancer, Alzheimer disease, asthma, and Parkinson disease, to name a few. However, accompanying the clinical benefits are potential problems related to privacy and discrimination. For example, dangers exist that insurance companies and employers may discriminate against individuals if they have access to their genetic data.

It is estimated that more than 4000 diseases, including Huntington disease, some types of leukaemia, cystic fibrosis and sickle-cell anaemia, are related to defective genes inherited from one or both parents. With improvements to the access of sequence data, how will it be possible to ensure that aH individuals have equal rights to employment and health insurance? A 1989 survey of 400 firms conducted by Northwestern National Life Insurance in the United States found that 15% of employers surveyed planned, by the year 2000, to check the genetic status of prospective employees and their dependents before making employment offers (4). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.