Abstract
Since the inception of the Human Genome Project, human genetics has frequently been conducted through big science projects, combining academic, state and industrial methods, interests and resources. The legitimacy of such projects has been linked to national prestige and images of the nation, the purity of scientific endeavour, the entrepreneurial spirit, medical progress and the public health. A key complication in these discourses is that large-scale genetic research has yet to show major results when considered in terms of the objectives used to legitimate investment and social support for these projects. The main area showing promise at present is the developing field of pharmacogenetics, which is now attracting major industry and government investment. Sociological, ethical and philosophical study of human genetic sample-based research and pharmacogenetics has developed in parallel with inquiry in the biological and biomedical sciences. This paper introduces a symposium on the ethical and social aspects of this field of biomedical research.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2006.06.008
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