Human Genetics programme

Ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of human genomics

The Human Genome Project and related initiatives, have introduced powerful new methods to the study of genes. Genomics has laid the foundations for a new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease, and introduced new possibilities for reproductive choices. This progress is accompanied by important ethical and social issues. Although many of these issues are not unique to genomics (such as confidentiality, informed consent, discrimination and stigmatisation, etc.), they require focused consideration in the context of genomics. Genomics is special in that gene-based approaches introduce a new language of “probability” and “susceptibility” to medical care, and furnish information about disorders; that often is of great interest to third parties – be they families, governments, insurance companies, law enforcement or scientific researchers.

This section highlights the key ethical concerns of human genomics and gives access to data about existing international regulations in genetics in relation to topics like pharmacogenomics and gene therapy among others. You also have access to ethicists on the Human genetics expert panel that can provide more specific answers to your concerns on the subject.

  • Ask the expert
    Includes an active panel of experts chosen by WHO to answer your queries on genetics and health issues.

Genetic testing

Quality and Safety in Genetic testing: Australia and New Zealand Case studies

Quality & Safety in Genetic Testing: An Emerging Concern


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