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Human Genome News, July-September 1996; 8:(1)

A Look at Future Cases: Courting Disaster?

Seminar participants agreed that, once lawyers understand the use that can be made of genetic information, the impact on the courts will be enormous. A cornucopia of cases anticipated by the group includes the following:

  • Adoptions: Rights of adoptive parents to know the child's genetic makeup; the natural parents' (and on occasion grandparents') privacy rights; rights of the child.
  • Criminal cases: DNA identification and defenses involved in genetic predisposition to criminal behavior; a defendant's right to have an independent examination of evidence; review of changing DNA-identification technology as the science evolves away from the use of DNA markers and toward direct genomic sequencing.
  • Parent and child cases: Balancing the parent's right to know the child's likelihood of developing a disease against the child's right not to know; decisions to abort based on prenatal testing (whose choice and who represents the child?); effects of disease predis-position on custody decisions.
  • Civil rights: Relief from perceived discrimination because of inherited genomic characteristics, based on the Americans with Disabilities Act, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and various other federal and state laws.
  • Personal injury: Genetic testing, prenatal and adult gene therapy, and safety issues involving new biotechnology products. Health care: Assessment of genetic diseases and predispositions in court-ordered health-care cases; malpractice cases from failure to provide carrier or prenatal testing or failure to offer genetic testing where known history indicates disease potential.
  • Patents: Proposals to integrate ethical and religious considerations with patent laws and decisions.

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Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v8n1).

Human Genome Project 1990–2003

The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international 13-year effort, 1990 to 2003. Primary goals were to discover the complete set of human genes and make them accessible for further biological study, and determine the complete sequence of DNA bases in the human genome. See Timeline for more HGP history.

Human Genome News

Published from 1989 until 2002, this newsletter facilitated HGP communication, helped prevent duplication of research effort, and informed persons interested in genome research.