HUGO symposium on Genomics and Ethics, Law and Society

Soon an individual’s genome can be sequenced at accessible cost. Like the availability of books provided by the printing press, the ease of communications by cell phones, and the access to information via the internet, access to information that is broad, deep, and personally significant changes society, its laws, and its politics. Complete sequence information of individual genomes raises questions about utility, identity, privacy and comprehension. The concept of open source genetic information is a reality that will tax the legal framework just as much as internet freedom challenges legal tenets. Direct to Consumer genomics where a physician opinion is bypassed will become more common.

The sequencing of genomes provides the substrate for synthetic biology in which whole organisms can be created de novo through stitching DNA together into entire genomes. This symposium will explore the ethical, societal, and legal issues involving the accessibility of fast, inexpensive, and complete genomic sequencing.

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