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April 12, 1995

Women and Prenatal Testing: Facing the Challenges of Genetic Technology

Author Affiliations

St Paul, Minn

JAMA. 1995;273(14):1154-1155. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520380090044

This book is important, even though it offers little new information and few conclusions. Its importance lies in the challenges raised regarding the implications of prenatal genetic testing, the Human Genome Project, and what that new technology means for women today and in the future.

Numerous red flags are unfurled throughout its pages as cautionary warnings of the advance of technology. Who will control the production of this new knowledge? Who will interpret the findings? Who will decide what actions are to be taken? Should prenatal testing be compulsory or voluntary? And most important of all, is there a known and predictable quality of life that is associated with specific birth defects or genetic disorders? Such questions led to the conference "Women and the Human Genome Project" in November 1991 on the campus of the National Institutes of Health, cosponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development,

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