What policies should govern genomic information?

Howard Zucker • MARCH 27, 2016

Howard Zucker, Commissioner of Health for NY State, asks what policies and approaches should be adopted to deal with the moral and practical implications of genomics reaching mainstream medicine. For instance, will "designer babies" be allowed? And how do we deal with the "unpatient," which is to say the person who has no symptoms of any diseases but knows that he carries the gene for one or more of them. According to Zucker, policies should protect unpatients from discrimination so that knowledge about a person's genetic information cannot jeopardize a person's prospects for finding employment. Zucker warns that genomics has the potential to deliver great benefit but also great harm. He argues that while we should embrace the science, we must be careful not to sew labels on each human being.

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