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Use of Personal Genetic Information Discussed at Academy Workshop

5/25/2009

Press Release

As part of the Academy’s Scientists’ Understanding of the Public project, the workshop is one in a series that examines how to improve the scientific community’s understanding of public concerns about science and technology. The project, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, reverses the more common question of public understanding of science by asking what scientists know or should know about the public’s concerns.

Chaired by David Altschuler, founding member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, professor of genetics and of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a member of the Department of Molecular Biology, Center for Human Genetic Research, and Diabetes Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, the workshop focused on the many challenges surrounding how personal genetic information is used and the public perception of genomics research.

Participants discussed the ethical concerns surrounding use of personal genetic data, including its use for forensic purposes; obligations of geneticists to understand the broader social and cultural contexts in which their work is received; appropriate limitations and regulations on genomics research; and the growing number of commercial genomics organizations.

Other topics in the workshop series include the Next Generation of the Internet and the Public Perception of Nuclear Waste Repositories.

 

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