Ethical and legal issues in nutritional genomics.

Research paper by Philip R PR Reilly, Ruth M RM Debusk

Indexed on: 25 Dec '07Published on: 25 Dec '07Published in: Journal of The American Dietetic Association


Advances in the ability to study how common variations in genes affect the metabolism of drugs and foods suggest that genetic information about individuals is of increasing relevance to clinical practitioners, including registered dietitians. The acquisition, storage, and use of genetic information in nutrition counseling will pose difficult ethical and legal questions involving the maintenance of confidentiality, the right to privacy, and the risks of discrimination in decisions about insurance coverage and employment. In addition, genetic analysis of children poses new questions about the limits of parental authority. Although the field of nutritional genomics is in its infancy, it is appropriate for registered dietitians to begin now to fashion a code of conduct about the proper use of genetic information. Relevant legal topics, such as federal and state legislation and judicial decisions, are discussed.