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Promising GenomicsIceland and deCODE Genetics in a World of Speculation$
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Michael Fortun and Roberto Reis

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520247505

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520247505.001.0001

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(p.114) ch 10 DistanceXComplicity
Promising Genomics

Mike Fortun

University of California Press

In a February 1999 article, Jeffrey Kahn of the University of Minnesota's Center for Bioethics commented that deCODE Genetics negotiated the right to Iceland's genome for $200 million, which seemed, thought Kahn, “like a bargain basement price.” But Kahn asked whether a country should sell its people's genetic information. Distance more than complicity makes it necessary to state that in the summer of 1999 the “democratic” government of Iceland abruptly dissolved its National Bioethics Committee—whose members had been nominated by the major Icelandic biomedical institutions and professional associations, and which was advocating widely accepted practices of informed consent that deCODE believed too restrictive—and replaced the committee with a government-appointed set of members who proved more amenable to deCODE's interests.

Keywords:   Jeffrey Kahn, deCODE Genetics, Iceland, genetic information, distance, complicity, National Bioethics Committee, informed consent

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