On 29 June 1990 the Council of the European Communities adopted a Decision concerning a specific research and technological development programme in the field of health: human genome analysis (1990-1991). The objective of the programme is the use and improvement of new biotechnologies in the study of the human genome for a better understanding of the mechanisms of genetic functions, as well as the prevention and treatment of human diseases. Measures will be taken to draw up an integrated approach to the medical, ethical, social and legal aspects of possible applications of results obtained through the programme. Excluded from the objectives is the alteration of germ cells or any stage of embryo development with the aim of modifying human genetic characteristics in a hereditary manner. The programme is adopted for a period of two years commencing on 29 June 1990.