Human Genomics in Global Health

Advisory Bodies

Advisory bodies make recommendations that, like laws, aim to increase quality in genetic testing. While these recommendations themselves have no statutory power, they are often the first step towards developing legal regulations. Recommendations have been made concerning a wide variety of the elements of genetic testing: from broad social recommendations (such as prevention of genetic discrimination) to recommendations on specific testing procedures (such as standardized genetic testing reports). Accordingly, these recommendations come from an equally diverse set of actors.

Professional Societies play an important role in setting performance standards for health professionals, from genetic counsellors to laboratory technicians. These societies have the benefit of being the most "in touch" with the details of the professional's role in the testing process, and can make recommendations on how that role may be better performed. Professional societies may also collect feedback from their members, and use data to develop "best practices" for performing genetic tests.

Governmental Organizations usually prefigure regulation with recommendations; in other words, they are usually made with the intention of intiating the process of formulating binding regulations. For this reason, governmental bodies often take into account opinions and data from many external sources before developing their recommendations.

International Organizations , such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Health Organization (WHO), are playing an increasingly important role in guiding genetic testing quality assurance procedures at the national level. Though their place in forming regulations is still being developed, international organizations will likely play a key role in harmonizing regulation of genetic tests across borders, and in facilitating consensus around areas of shared concern. Additionally, these organizations will be central to developing policy on international issues, such as international exchanges of genetic samples and genetic patents.