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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.82) Ch 9 TrustXGullibility
Promising Genomics

Mike Fortun

University of California Press

The author had looked to Iceland as an opportunity to step outside the inescapable politics of genomics and the Human Genome Project in the United States that he had been immersed in researching since 1989. But any fantasy that he had of fueling enthusiasm while avoiding politics in Iceland quickly proved unsustainable. The long summer and autumn months of 1998 would later be extolled by many—deCODE Genetics CEO Kári Stefánsson included—as a most commendable time of “democratic debate.” As evidence of democracy, many fingers would point to the hundreds of newspaper, radio, and television stories that appeared in Iceland in 1998, in which deCODE and the Health Sector Database were presented and discussed. On December 17, 1998, the Icelandic Parliament (Althingi) voted in favor of the Health Sector Database Act.

Keywords:   Iceland, politics of genomics, Althingi, Health Sector Database, deCODE Genetics, Kári Stefánsson, democracy

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