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Genetic Exceptionalism: Genetic Information and Public Policy
This report provides an overview of the nature of genetic information and its implications for individuals, family, and society. Individuals utilize genetic information to guide health care and other decisions, when possible, and may experience anxiety as a result of genetic test results. Genetic test results for an individual may often be informative for other close family members and thus influence their care decisions. Society must grapple with the effect genetic information may have on our conception of disease, as well as its impact on issues like privacy and equity. The report ends by summarizing the main policy issues involved with a genetic exceptionalist approach to public policy, including defining genetic information; physically separating genetic information from other medical information; unintended disparities between “genetic” and “nongenetic” disease; and the effect of legislation on participation in genetic research, on uptake of genetic technology and on the delivery of high quality health care.