Monday, February 19, 2007

Genetics Justice Legislation Update

The House Committee on Education and Labor passed Genetics Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) on Feb 14 along with a couple of amendments: One amendment would limit the definition of "family member" to a blood relative within four generations and would revise the definition of "genetic testing" to account for prenatal tests. Another amendment that would require employees to separate genetic information from personnel files.. The Kaiser Family Foundation Policy Report has a nice summary of the bill's status.

The Genetics Equity Network has identified the following needs as examples of priorities for legislative action:

- Assuring equitable access to genetic technologies
- Assuring fair use of genetic information that prevents stigmatization of vulnerable populations
- Assuring research of gene-environment interactions addresses not only unsafe physical environments, but also adverse psycho-social environments
- Assuring that the communication of research findings does not isolate or discriminate against population sub-groups based on genetic interpretations
- Assuring that genetics is not confounded by our understandings and misunderstandings of race and ethnicity
- Assuring partnership with local communities in the genomic revolution

Jody Platt Garcia, Assistant, DirectorLife Sciences and Society Program, University of Michigan School of Public Health, 611 Church Street, Rm 250, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104-3028 (734) 647-4571

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