23 November 2009

All genotypes have equal rights

US Senate bans genetic discriminationABC Magazine based on The New York Times: A Ban on Genetic Discrimination
Last Saturday, November 21, the U.S. Senate passed an Act banning discrimination based on genetic data (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act).

For the first time, the framework of US anti-discrimination legislation is changing immediately for a whole group of citizens, and a very large one at that. Thanks to the new law, people with a hereditary predisposition to a number of diseases can no longer be afraid to undergo genetic testing due to the possible negative reaction of insurance companies and employers.

It's no secret that predisposition does not mean an imminent illness. However, American insurance companies and many employers have practically equated these two concepts, periodically bringing the situation to the point of absurdity. People with the BRCA1 gene (predisposition to breast cancer) or those whose parents had Huntington's disease did not get a job for this reason. A woman whose children received genes predisposing to liver failure was denied insurance, and this despite the fact that the children themselves will never manifest this disease.

People have become afraid to undergo genetic testing, which in many cases could save a person's health and life, thanks to timely treatment or competent prevention. 63% of respondents reported that they would not do genetic tests if employers and insurance agents had access to the results.

The Act prohibiting discrimination based on Genetic Data closes this page in the history of the development of genetics and insurance medicine in the United States. Now employers have no right to be interested in the results of genetic testing when hiring candidates, firing or making a decision on a person's promotion. The data of genetic tests will also be closed to insurance companies: when applying for both collective and individual insurance.

Genetics itself will receive additional benefits from this law. It needs people with "wrong" genes, so by promising them information protection, scientists will be able to attract many more people to testing and trials than they do today. 

Some employers and insurance companies opposed the adoption of such a law, but the Senate almost unanimously, with one vote "against", adopted the document. 

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru23.11.2009

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