Responding to the Government report Genomics Beyond Health, PET Director Sarah Norcross said:
The Genomics Beyond Health report is as welcome as it is timely. The use of genomic data outside the healthcare setting needs careful scrutiny, and safeguards are needed to protect the public from any potential misuse of their data. This report must be acted on expeditiously, as genomics is such a fast-moving area.
Public trust in the use of genomic data for healthcare and research is vital, and such trust may be undermined if more dubious uses of genomic data are allowed to go unchecked. Unlike some other types of medical or sensitive data, an individual's genomic data can potentially expose facts about their family members as well as themselves. What a person decides to with their genomic data can have lifelong consequences, for them and for others.
The report asks a number of far-reaching questions, considering how genomic data could impact upon education, employment and even car insurance. Society needs to address these issues as soon as possible.