Genomic resource centre


Genetics and ELSI Report Series

Medical genetic services in developing countries: The Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of genetic testing and screening (2006)

This report - published in 2006 - is the second in a series of reports produced by the Human Genetics at WHO to examine the ethical, social and legal implications (ELSI) of genetics and genomics. It focuses specifically on the ELSI of establishing medical genetic services in developing countries, particularly those issues associated with genetic testing and screening. While many other reports have already considered the ELSI of genetic testing and screening, few have focused specifically on issues raised in developing countries. The goal of this report is to broaden and enrich the discussion of some of the major ELSI specific to medical genetic services in developing countries, and to suggest principles of effective management of the ethical legal and social issues raised by genetic testing and screening in these contexts.

Genetics, genomics and the patenting of DNA: Review of potential implications for health in developing countries (2005)

This Report addresses the important ethical, legal, social and health issues raised by the patenting of DNA sequences--not only for the industrialized world, but also for developing countries. It emphasizes that genomics has the potential to offer great benefit to public health on a global scale, notes the present ambiguity in international agreements on intellectual property rights on the legal status of genetic "inventions", and highlights the ongoing controversy surrounding the patenting of genetic sequences. Finally, acknowledging the present need for more empirical analysis of the scope and nature of the impact of current trends in patenting DNA, the report proposes areas of further exploration that could provide a foundation for the establishment of informed policies.

Review of Ethical Issues in Medical Genetics/ Les problèmes éthiques rencontrés en génétique médicale (2003)

This draft document reviewing ethical issues in medical genetics and genetic services in an international perspective and serving as background information relating to a shorter consensus statement "Proposed International Guidelines on Ethical Issues in Medical Genetics and Genetic Services" (WHO, 1998) was further revised by the original Consultants and prepared for publication. The recommendations in this document and in the Proposed International Guidelines on Ethical Issues in Medical Genetics and Genetic Services (WHO, 1998) are intended as points of departure for genetics professionals and public health officials to develop policies and practices in their own nations.

english version

french version

Report of the WHO Meeting on Collaboration in Medical Genetics (2002)

In April 2002, a WHO meeting concerning a collaboration on medical genetics was held at the University of Toronto, Joint Centre for Bioethics. The meeting was organized to respond to the recommendations of The Advisory Committee on Health Research (ACHR) report on Genomics and World Health. A strategy that will promote genetic services and strengthen discussion on genetic ethics to explore the potential benefits of genomic approaches in health care was developed.

Statement of the WHO Expert Consultation on New Developments in Human Genetics (2000)

This statement contains the recommendations for WHO put forward by WHO-invited experts in human genetics and relevant WHO staff. It also provided information on ethical issues arising from human genetics and legal and educational implications of new developments in human genetics.

Report of WHO Meeting on Proposed International Guidelines on Ethical Issues in Medical Genetics and Genetic Services (1998)

Statement of WHO Expert Advisory Group on Ethical Issues in Medical Genetics (1996)