Thursday, April 24, 2008

US Senate makes gene discrimination illegal

The US Senate has unanimously passed legislation banning employers and health insurance companies from discriminating against people on the basis of their genes.

Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy called it the first new civil rights bill of the new century.

The legislation has the potential to protect Americans from being fired or being charged higher insurance premiums because they are genetically pre-disposed to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

The proposal, which still needs approval from the House of Representatives, would allow only patients and their doctors to access data obtained through genetic testing.

Scientists hope it will encourage more people to come forward and take the kind of genetic tests which might save their lives.


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