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The international human genome project aims to identify the exact position of all genes on human chromosomes, making it easier to locate defective genes associated with diseases. Although the USA is the biggest backer of this vast undertaking, the European Parliament also voted to support it as part of the Biomed programme, whilst at the same time setting guidelines as to the use of the research results. In this article the basic principles and historical background of the project are outlined, international cooperation and the contributions of individual countries are described, and the issues currently under debate among scientists and the public at large are elucidated. These involve the potential ethical, legal and social implications of human genome analysis, which has been heavily criticised, particularly in Germany. Finally, general aspects of the implementation and future of the project are discussed.

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Authors: ZECHENDORF B, CEC Bruxelles (BE)
Bibliographic Reference: Article: Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft (1992) No. 1, pp. 59-78
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