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US Senate Approves Genetic Non-discrimination Bill -- Again

NEW YORK, Feb. 18 (GenomeWeb News) - The Genetic Non-discrimination bill, which aims at providing a set of protections against discrimination on the basis of genetic information, has been approved by the US Senate and is currently being evaluated by the US House of Representatives.


If approved by the House and later by President Bush, the bill may help drive genomic research and, by extension, the application of pharmacogenomics technologies.


In 2003, the  Senate passed a similar bill, but the House never brought the legislation to a vote before the full house, according to the Associated Press.


Yesterday, the American Society of Human Genetics applauded the Senate for passing the new bill, which seeks to prevent misuse of genetic information in the workplace or by insurance companies.


"We are very pleased the Senate has reaffirmed their position that it is critical to have a national standard that outlaws discrimination on the basis of genetic information in employment and health insurance access," said Peter Byers, ASHG's president. "We trust that the House of Representatives will pass this legislation promptly."


More information about the Genetic Non-discrimination bill is available here. An updated version of the bill, called the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2005 has been proposed by the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. More information on the act is available here.

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