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Issue Briefs

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Surreptitious DNA testing
(January 21, 2009)
The combination of technology that permits the analysis of small amounts of DNA, increased availability of testing services, and lack of regulations to protect genetic privacy create an environment ripe for surreptitious testing.

Pharmacogenomics: Hope and Hype
(September 08, 2008)
While pharmacogenomics holds great promise, significant scientific, economic, policy, and practical challenges must be faced before the field's potential can be realized.

DNA paternity testing
(July 17, 2008)
Considering the life-altering information that paternity testing can provide, it is imperative that laboratories perform the tests accurately and reliably.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
(June 18, 2008)
The law makes it illegal for health insurers or employers to discriminate against individuals based on their genetic information.

DNA, Forensics, and the Law
(July 24, 2007)
As the use of forensic DNA analysis expands, so too do legal and ethical concerns.

Using genomic databases to study complex diseases
(May 04, 2007)
While some conditions -- such as Huntington disease and Tay-Sachs -- have solely genetic roots, most result from a complex interplay of multiple genes and an individual's environment.

The Science of DNA Forensics: Growing Pains and Ethical Challenges
(May 04, 2007)
A drop of blood, a single hair, or even the saliva under a postage stamp -- each contains enough DNA to positively identify a person.

Prenatal diagnosis
(April 18, 2007)
The terms prenatal screening and prenatal diagnosis refer broadly to a number of different techniques and procedures that can be performed during a pregnancy to provide information about the health of a developing fetus.

FDA regulation of genetic tests
(July 27, 2006)
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act grants FDA authority to regulate medical devices.

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing: empowering or endangering the public?
(July 25, 2006)
Recent years have seen a proliferation of commercially available genetic tests, both for identifying health-related genes and for non-health-related applications, such as forensics and genealogy.

Cloning and stem cells
(April 12, 2006)
Cloning techniques can be used to create genetic duplicates or to correct genetic conditions.

Genetic testing practice guidelines
(March 27, 2006)
Tests for more than 1300 genetic conditions are available to assist health care providers with patient management decisions.

Oversight of preimplantation genetic diagnosis
(February 27, 2006)
The use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is expanding rapidly. Yet, because of the absence of monitoring systems and the fragmented regulatory system, important quality assurance and data collection mechanisms currently are unavailable for PGD.

Embryo biopsy for stem cells?
(February 27, 2006)
The President's Council on Bioethics and others have suggested that embryo biopsy might be used to generate human embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos. Is it safe?

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
(February 27, 2006)
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, is the genetic testing of embryos produced through in vitro fertilization (IVF). PGD enables physicians to identify embryos carrying specific genetic alterations that can cause disease, and transfer those wit...

Who regulates genetic tests?
(February 27, 2006)
Like other diagnostic laboratory tests, genetic tests are subject to some federal regulatory oversight.