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The Environmental Genome Project: Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications

Richard R. Sharp and J. Carl Barrett
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 108, No. 4 (Apr., 2000), pp. 279-281
DOI: 10.2307/3454343
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3454343
Page Count: 3
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The Environmental Genome Project: Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications
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Abstract

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is supporting a multiyear research initiative examining genetic influences on environmental response. Proponents of this new initiative, known as the Environmental Genome Project, hope that the information learned will improve our understanding of environmentally associated diseases and allow clinicians and public health officials to target disease-prevention strategies to those who are at increased risk. Despite these potential benefits, the project presents several ethical and social challenges. Of immediate concern is the protection of individual research participants. Other ethical issues relate to the application of research results and how study findings could affect social priorities. Clarifying these emerging areas of concern, many of which have not received adequate attention in the existing bioethics literature, is an important step toward minimizing potential research-related risks and defining research needs.

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