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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Public health genetics (more commonly referred to as “community genetics” in Europe) has been practiced to some degree in the West since at least the 1960s, but the development of a cohesive field took time and advances in technology. The application of genetics and genomics to prevent disease and promote public health became firmly established as a field in the late 1990s, as large-scale sequencing of the human genome as part of the Human Genome Project began. The field is now thriving, leading to both tremendous public health benefits and risks for both individuals and populations. This chapter provides an overview of the section of The Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics dedicated to public health genetics. The chapters roughly trace the evolution of public health genetics from its roots in eugenics, to the present challenges faced in newborn screening and biobanking, and finally to emerging questions raised by the application of genomics to infectious disease.

Keywords: public health genetics, genetics, genomics, public health ethics, eugenics, biobanking, newborn screening, infectious disease

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