WHO Drug Information Vol. 16, No. 2, 2002
(2002; 91 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
Open this folder and view contentsHerbal Medicines
Open this folder and view contentsCurrent Topics
Open this folder and view contentsGood Clinical Practices
Open this folder and view contentsSafety Information
Open this folder and view contentsRegulatory Action
Open this folder and view contentsEssential Medicines
Close this folderRecent Publications and Sources of Information
View the documentGenomics and world health
View the documentLegal status of traditional and complementary medicine
View the documentKinetoplastid research source launched
View the documentEndocrine disrupting chemicals
View the documentProposed International Nonproprietary Names: List 87

Genomics and world health

The report of the Advisory Committee on Health Research "Genomics and World Health" concludes that information generated by genomics will, in the long term have major benefits for the prevention, diagnosis and management of many diseases which have been difficult or impossible to control. However, if public education in genomics is not achieved, it will be impossible for society to enter into informed debate on the ethical issues involved and there is a danger that those who administer health services will be unable to distinguish between hyperbole and reality in a new and rapidly expanding research field.

Societies need to be better prepared for the era of genomics. Genomics research is complex and an understanding of its medical potential and the ethical issues involved requires a basic understanding of the principles of genetics. The report warns that the planned development of large-scale genetic data bases offers a series of hazards and ethical issues which have not been previously encountered. There is still considerable controversy about the desirability of establishing data bases of this type and there are many ambiguities regarding access and control. Another ethical problem deals with the decisions families may make regarding children as a result of DNA research.

This publication serves as a state-of-the-art guide to this field of science.

Genomics and World Health is available from: Distribution and Sales, World Health Organization, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland. ISBN 92 4 154554 2 Price: US$ 31.50 publications@who.int

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