(2002; 91 pages)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org