International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care

Special Section: Genetic Technology

Discovery, Transfer, and Diffusion of Technologies for the Detection of Genetic Disorders: Policy Implications

Neil A. Holtzmana1

a1 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Much of the current interest in genetics stems from the Human Genome Project. Although the project will accelerate the identification of disease-related genes, as currently formulated it may retard discovery of gene function and effective treatments, thereby prolonging the stage in which people at risk of genetic diseases can be identified but not treated. This stage is fraught with ethical problems. The project's goal of sequencing the entire human genome could also detract from basic biological research, as could the growing interest of universities in biotechnology transfer to the commercial sector.