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J Health Polit Policy Law. 2008 Feb;33(1):39-51. doi: 10.1215/03616878-2007-046.

Preemptive public policy for genomics.

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  • 1University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.


To many, genomics is merely exploitable technology for the leviathan of biotechnology. This is both shallow and short sighted. Genomics is applied knowledge based on profound and evolving science about how living things develop, how healthy or sick we are, and what our future will be like. In health care, genomics technologies are disruptive yet potentially cost-effective because they enable primary prevention, the antidote to runaway costs and declining productivity. The challenges to integration are great, however, and many bioethical and social-policy implications are alarming. Because it is poorly understood today, we must debate genomics vigorously if we are to act wisely. Public policy must lead.

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