Bioethics panel urges more gene privacy protection

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Associated Press

Posted on October 10, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 10 at 11:31 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Research being released Thursday by a presidential commission finds only a patchwork of protections for medical data obtained through the decoding of DNA.

The report by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues comes as the pricetag for whole genome sequencing is dropping rapidly and the procedure could become common in doctors' offices very soon.

The commission found that it's legally possible to collect and submit a DNA sample from an unwitting individual in about half the states. Gene mapping can predict what diseases are lurking in test subjects.

Mapping entire genomes now is done primarily for research. But the commission found that the price of sequencing has dropped from thousands to about $1,000.

The commission has come up with a list of recommendations to protect privacy, including a ban on sequencing without the consent of the person from whom the sample came.

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APPHOTO WX121: In this image provided by the National Human Genome Research Institute, a NHGRI researcher monitors a DNA sequencing machine at the NIH in Bethesda, Md. A presidential commission says new protections to ensure the privacy of people's genetic information are critical if the nation is to realize the enormous medical potential of gene-mapping. (AP Photo/National Human Genome Research Institute, Maggie Bartlett) (10 Oct 2012)

<<APPHOTO WX121 (10/10/12)>>

APPHOTO WX121: In this image provided by the National Human Genome Research Institute, a NHGRI researcher monitors a DNA sequencing machine at the NIH in Bethesda, Md. A presidential commission says new protections to ensure the privacy of people's genetic information are critical if the nation is to realize the enormous medical potential of gene-mapping. (AP Photo/National Human Genome Research Institute, Maggie Bartlett) (10 Oct 2012)

<<APPHOTO WX121 (10/10/12)>>

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