The French ban on direct-to-consumer genetic testing is part of the country’s bioethics laws, which legislators are supposed to revise every seven years. When those discussions got underway earlier this year, some geneticists expected the National Assembly to relax the rules about commercial DNA analysis. It didn’t. Now, [advocate Nathalie] Jovanovic-Floricourt and the other genetics enthusiasts in her education and advocacy group, DNA Pass, are agitating more and more to get some of these tests legalized, contacting lawmakers, chatting up scientists, promising a more vociferous campaign than they’ve waged before.
But as one of the most vocal pro-legalization advocates, Jovanovic-Floricourt may have found her match in geneticist Guillaume Vogt and his bioethicist postdoc Henri-Corto Stoeklé. Theirs is an unusual standoff, in that they’re all motivated by the same ideas. Both sides hope to protect French genomes from exploitation by foreign companies. Both sides believe that French institutions are the best guardians for the job. They just disagree about how, exactly, to realize that vision.
The debaters all agree that the ban will certainly change at some point. For now, the rule is simply there, largely unenforced.