Genetic Testing or U.K. Population Surveillance*
By Helen Wallace
The new Chief Executive of the National Health Service (NHS) in England, Simon Stevens, was recently reported arguing that the NHS must be transformed to make people’s personal genetic information the basis of their treatments.
His proposition is unsurprising since it is in line with the efforts of successive UK governments to build a DNA database in the NHS in England by stealth. In particular, sequencing every baby at birth and storing whole genomes in electronic medical records is a plan backed by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. The current version of this plan would involve sharing whole or partial DNA sequences (genomes or genotypes) with companies like Google, which would use genetic information and health data to calculate personal risk assessments for feedback to patients. Massive investment from taxpayers would be required as part of a public-private partnership that would allow…
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