The Human Genome Project: Benefits and Risks to Society


The human genome project was initiated in 1990 to study the structure and characteristics of human DNA that are important for understanding gene functions and their relation to diseases. The large-scale genome research has driven the technology advancement in genetic testing, drug design, gene therapy, and other genetic related areas such as pharmacogenetics. Although the project reveals potential benefits, it raises ethical, legal, and social issues. The outcomes of individuals’ genetic information disclosure may lead to confidentiality and genetic discrimination issues. In addition, clinical relevance of genetic testing and psychological effect from the results are debatable. This article discusses the potential benefits and risks from the human genome project.

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Correspondence to Suvara Wattanapitayakul MS.

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Wattanapitayakul, S., Schommer, J.C. The Human Genome Project: Benefits and Risks to Society. Ther Innov Regul Sci 33, 729–735 (1999).

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Key Words

  • Human genome project
  • Public policy