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The Challenge of Regulating DNA

GENETIC PRIVACY—AUSTRALIA

July 9, 2010

Genetic testing may come with great promise, but there are also many ethical, legal and privacy implications to be considered, according to Prof. David Weisbrot, former president of the Australian Law Reform Commission and current member of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Human Genetics Advisory Committee. From incentives for employers to require genetic testing to reduce the costs of sick leave to using DNA to determine whether individuals are eligible for affirmative action programs, there are many questions that the commission and NHMRC have had to address, he writes in The Australian. Australia's Privacy Act was amended to require strong protection for genetic information, he notes, adding that "science must be regulated in the public interest, with social policy more important than technological possibility."
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