Who’s Genetic Information is It Anyway? A Legal Analysis of the Effects that Mapping the Human Genome Will Have on Privacy Rights and Genetic Discrimination


Deborah L. McLochlin


VOL. XIX • Summer 2001 • NO. 4 (table of contents)

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"There is no information more personal and private than one's genetic information" – one's DNA. Under the Human Genome Project, mapping of the human genetic code is under way. From this mapping of genetic code, information such as the likelihood of developing cancer, diabetes, etc. would certainly become available. Although this information may be helpful to one's health providers, companies and governments may begin to use this information to discriminate individuals based on their genetic predispositions.

This article focuses on the current federal legislation while proposing a new federal legislation in light of this great genetic endeavor. Legislation "has always lagged behind the pace" at which technology, especially in genetics, is advancing. However, it is time for the legislature to catch up with the technological advancements that have lead to the mapping of the human genome, and take action to protect an individual's privacy rights and prevent genetic discrimination. DNA and our genetic information are what defines each of us and makes us unique. The privacy concerns at issue today are manageable, if we identify and reconcile the competing public policy issues raised by the new technological developments and advancements posed by the map of the human genome with the privacy rights that are protected in the U.S. today.

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