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date: 07 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of the relationship between genetics and the law. Advances in genetics and genomics have created both hopes and concerns and raise a number of legal issues in both the United States and Europe. To understand the legal issues in genetics, it is helpful to have some understanding of the different types of genetic analysis that can be used and for which purposes. In virtually all these contexts, the doctrine of informed consent is important. While the law in the United States and Europe does not generally require non-directiveness, the legal doctrine of informed consent applies in all jurisdictions, imposing on physicians and genetic counselors the legal obligation to disclose material information that could influence a patient's decisions about genetic testing. The other ethical and legal issues that arise with genetic or genomic analysis differ depending on the purpose, context, and technology used. These legal issues concern the methods of regulating genetic tests offered in the clinical setting and through the “direct-to-consumer” online genetic testing industry; genetic discrimination; the scope of privacy protections of genetic information; and the regulation of human gene therapy, gene therapy research, and germline modifications.

Keywords: genetics, genomics, genetic analysis, informed consent, genetic testing, genomic analysis, genetic discrimination, human gene therapy, gene therapy research, germline modifications

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