U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

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Social Issues

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The human genome provides researchers insight into individual and family medical histories and may help predict future risks. This raises a number of issues including: Who owns genetic information? Who should have access to an individual's genetic information? Do genes control behavior? How should genetic information be used in reproductive decisions? How does personal genetic information affect self-identity and society's perceptions? and many more. Because all these new issues are arising, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have devoted 3% to 5% of their annual Human Genome Project (HGP) budgets toward studying the ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) surrounding availability of genetic information. This represents the world's largest bioethics program, which has become a model for ELSI programs around the world.

Credit or Source: Office of Biological and Environmental Research of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. science.energy.gov/ber/

Prepared by the Biological and Environmental Research Information System, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, genomicscience.energy.gov/ and genomics.energy.gov/.