Community Groups Address Ethical Concerns of Genetic Research
Human cloning should be prohibited by federal law with substantial penalties to assure compliance, communities involved in a two-year study told the Alabama Legislature during a special session earlier this month.
While communities in Alabama and Michigan involved in the study oppose cloning for the purpose of replicating humans, they support cloning human cells for developing treatment of diseases but with what they call “appropriate oversight.”
The recommendation is one of many growing out of dialogue in communities commissioned by the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. The study was funded by the National Institutes under its “Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of the Human Genome Project.”
Participants in the “Communities of Color and Genetic Policy” project were in Washington recently to brief congressional representatives on the results of their project. The study focused on the concerns of African Americans and Latinos regarding ethical and social problems emerging from genetic technologies.
The communities recommended the creation of an advocacy group external to the federal government and private agencies, increased federal funding for genetics research and more training for health professionals, training they reason will help improve the handling of confidential medical information.
The study’s recommendations grew out of 15 different community dialogue groups. The groups met for six two-hour sessions and were composed of African Americans and Latinos. The participants covered the socio-economic spectrum.
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