In June, as the public and private genome projects prepared to announce the rough mapping of the human genome, a special Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) genetics ethics committee was wrapping up its own report on how the government should oversee genetic testing. In the report, sent to assistant secretary and surgeon general David Satcher, the Health and Human Services Secretary's Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing, or SACGT, recommends that the government provide additional oversight on genetic tests and that the Food and Drug Administration take the lead in approving all new genetic tests. "The American people want to see that they can trust a test," says Edward McCabe, chairman of the SACGT and professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles. "We want to see that there is a positive impact on medical care."

Privacy in the age of genetic tests remains a...

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