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Kuwaiti DNA Law to Be Amended

The Kuwaiti parliament has said that it will change its law requiring citizens and visitors to provide DNA samples, New Scientist reports.

The law, which passed in July of 2015, was aimed at reducing crime and terrorism, but had been met with criticism. Last month, Olaf Rieß, the president of the European Society of Human Genetics, argued at New Scientist that that such DNA sample collection likely wouldn't deter would-be terrorists and instead could be used to determine paternity or ancestry and lead to adultery charges or discrimination. He also worried it would make people less likely to support genetic research. In addition, Stat News reported that a United Nations committee found that the law violated the right to privacy, and noted that there were reports of opposition to testing among Kuwaitis.

Following a request from the emir that the law be altered to protect people's privacy, the Kuwaiti parliament says it would revisit the law and possibly overturn it, New Scientist says.

"This is a wise and responsible decision," Rieß says in a statement. "The law as originally proposed was disproportionate and likely to be ineffectual in tackling the problem of terrorism, and would have had negative consequences not just for Kuwaiti society, but also for medical science and research."