Friday, April 25, 2008

Senate passes bill baning genetic discrimination

Finally, it looks like GINA will become law. Why is this important? In this new age of personal genomics, it's incredibly important that individuals are not discriminated against based on their DNA. It might be personally informative to go to DNA Direct and buy one of their direct-to-consumer disease tests, but what would happen to you if your insurance company got a hold of the results? Or your employer?
clipped from www.latimes.com

WASHINGTON --
The vast promise of an era of personalized medicine based on genetic testing long has been haunted by a disturbing possibility: The same data that could alert people to serious medical problems might be used to deny them jobs or insurance coverage.

But Thursday, the Senate voted 95 to 0 to outlaw such discrimination, with the House expected to add its approval quickly.

The bill, which President Bush has agreed to sign, does more than protect those who undergo genetic testing: It marks a significant milestone in the effort to develop a 21st century architecture of laws to govern the revolutionary changes sweeping science and medicine.

"It's the first civil rights bill of the new century of life sciences," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said. "We made sure today that our laws reflect the [scientific] advances we are making."
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