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Genetic Non-Discrimination: Policy Considerations in the Age of Genetic Medicine

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The world stands on the brink of a genome-based personalized-medicine revolution, with individual Americans poised to be the greatest beneficiaries. An international research consortium that includes our country’s National Human Genome Research Institute recently announced its $50 million plan to sequence the genomes of at least 1,000 individuals from around the world. According to NHGHRI Director Francis Collins, this project will increase the sensitivity of disease discovery efforts across the human genome five-fold, and within gene regions (the portions of a chromosome on which a particular gene is located) at least 10-fold.

What’s more, Harvard University geneticist George Church has also embarked on the even more ambitious “Personal Genome Project.” He aims to sequence 100,000 genomes at a cost of about $1 billion, and possibly expand the project until it reaches 1 million sequenced genomes.