Who owns your DNA?

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The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

On February 25, the White House hosted a forum on the National Institute of Health’s Precision Medicine Initiative. This is an ambitious research study that aims to develop targeted drugs and treatments that would vary from individual to individual.

To reach the goal of eventually being able to make specific recommendations for patients based on their own combination of genes, environment and lifestyle, researchers plan to collect that kind of information from one million Americans. The study is so large so results can account for diversity among Americans with respect to factors such as ancestry, geography, and social and economic circumstances.

At the forum, President Obama remarked “I would like to think that if somebody does a test on me or my genes, that that’s mine.”

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Contrary to President Obama’s expectations, the few U.S. courts that have considered research participants’ claims of ownership of their biological materials have rejected them. The courts that have looked at the question have consistently decided that once we give our biological materials to researchers, the materials and the genetic information they contain belong to the researchers or, more specifically, the institutions that employ them.

So you don’t own your genes. But there are other protections for participants in the Precision Medicine Initiative and other research projects.

Read full, original post: If we don’t own our genes, what protects study subjects in genetic research?

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