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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200184 Find in a Library
Title: DNA and Genetics
Journal: Gazette  Volume:64  Issue:4  Dated:2002  Pages:17-21
Author(s): Ming W. Chin
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 5
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English; French
Country: Canada
Annotation: This article discusses some of the legal issues that may stem from advances in genetic science, including DNA evidence, genetic privacy, genetic discrimination in employment, genetics and insurance, and reproductive technology.
Abstract: The author acknowledges that the article raises more questions than it answers. One of the more controversial uses of DNA evidence is the maintenance of DNA databanks for law enforcement. How, when, why, and from whom genetic data can be collected are important questions that have been hotly debated. Further, analysis of DNA can reveal an immense amount of personal information. Legislatures and courts will increasingly be called upon to set the parameters for who can obtain and/or have access to an individual's genetic data. Genetic discrimination in employment is another issue likely to be a major concern of future litigation. A recent University of Illinois survey of 84 Fortune 500 companies found that 35 percent of these companies have used medical records, including genetic information, to make decisions about hiring, firing, and promoting. A similar 1996 survey documented more than 200 instances of workplace discrimination based on the detection of genetic predispositions. Scientists will soon have a battery of over 900 genetic tests; however, very few of the detectable diseases or disorders can be treated successfully. Thus, insurance companies have a strong incentive to consider an applicant's genetic information. Some insurance companies require genetic testing as a condition of coverage. Others may increase premiums or deny coverage based on test results. Legislatures will be called upon to decide whether such uses of genetic information should be allowed. Advances in medical and reproductive technology will also force the application of familiar legal principles to challenge new situations. Two emerging areas of global importance are cloning and stem cell research. The more scientists can manipulate reproductive science, the more delicate will be the resulting legal issues. 60 notes
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Biological influences; DNA fingerprinting; Legislation; Right of privacy
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