Several ventures have been launched over recent years to "sift through the DNA of specific populations, in hope of identifying the underlying genetic causes of those diseases most likely to kill us. The researchers, pharmaceutical companies executives and venture capitalists involved are all betting that recent advances in biotech and computing have made it possible to take a few hundred or thousand victims of a disease, analyze their DNA, compare it to the DNA of healthy individuals, and identify the salient differences -- those genetic variations that result in illness on the one hand and health on the other...If these efforts succeed, they could revolutionize the nature of drug discovery and medical treatment." However, this type of research, called population genomics, brings up a host of ethical issues. For instance, some past studies use a standard of "presumed consent" for subject's participation in the study, as opposed to the "informed consent" required for most research.
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