Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Commission supports Blair/Clinton policy for free access to human gene data

The European Commission fully supports US President Clinton and UK Prime Minister Mr Blair's recent joint statement calling for free access to information on the human genome.

The premiers' comments came in response to growing concern over the moral right to patent the geneti...
The European Commission fully supports US President Clinton and UK Prime Minister Mr Blair's recent joint statement calling for free access to information on the human genome.

The premiers' comments came in response to growing concern over the moral right to patent the genetic codes defining what makes us 'human'.

'We must ensure that the profits of human research are measured not in dollars but in the betterment of human health' said President Clinton.

The quest to unlock the secrets of human DNA is coordinated at an international level, through the 'Human Genome Project'. Researchers plan to publish a full map of human DNA by 2003.

Speaking on behalf of the European Commission, Research Commissioner Mr Philippe Busquin fully endorsed the Clinton/Blair stance, signalling it corresponds with EU policy.

'The fact that everyone is discussing biotechnology and its impact on day to day life reflects the necessity of having a political dimension', he said.

Mr Busquin also broaches the issue of the moral tensions involved in biotechnology research in his recent Communication on a 'European Research Space' (RCN 14195).

The markets, however, reacted less favourably, with the value of biotechnology stocks dropping on Wall Street shortly after President Clinton's announcement.

Subjects

Biotechnology
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