Recent advances in genetic science have created hopeful new medical possibilities and have raised serious concerns. As researchers race to map the whole human genome and identify mutations which might be predictive of the onset of disease, genetic tests, utilized within a controlled research environment and now commercially available, may determine whether an individual may hold such a marker. In the future, these new technologies may also be translated into new drugs and/or therapies for treating and/or preventing disease. At the same time there is also the possibility for abuse of the genetic information revealed and the potential for employment and insurance discrimination.
Jews have already gained vast benefits from genetic research with carrier testing now available for a number of diseases among which are Tay Sachs, cystic fibrosis and Gaucher disease. If we succumb to the temptation to suppress scientific information for fear of its abuse we will be depriving society of much helpful information. The Jewish community needs to work towards curbing possible abuse, not veto of the research.
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism urges it members to:
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