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Hopkins Bioethics Institute receives $9.9 million from Pew Trusts

of thoughtful and careful analysis, grounded in science and reflective of society's values, that we hope will inform the public debate and help in developing sound public policies."

Already, it's common to do prenatal genetic testing for pregnancies at increased risk for certain genetic syndromes, and embryos created by in vitro fertilization can now be screened for some inherited diseases before they are implanted into the mother's womb. But these techniques in reproductive genetics are not ethically simple, said Ruth Faden, Ph.D., MPH, director of the Bioethics Institute.

"Although genetic testing and screening clearly can alleviate much suffering for prospective parents, they also could be used for purposes that challenge current moral values," said Faden. "Should these techniques be used to select the gender or other traits of the embryo, or to avoid selecting an embryo at increased risk for developing a chronic disease later in life? In a society committed to equality of opportunity, we need to be ready to respond."

Goals of the Genetics and Human Reproduction Initiative include educating influential leaders about reproductive genetics, supporting research to assess public attitudes and concerns about the field, and creating a set of policy options for guiding the use of advances over the long-term, Hudson said. The Center will not advocate for any particular positions, but rather will develop an analysis of pros and cons and create a range of options for consideration by policymakers and others.

"We're pleased to join forces with The Pew Charitable Trusts to make valuable contributions in what may prove to be the most significant public policy issues in this century," said William R. Brody, M.D., Ph.D., president of The Johns Hopkins University. "Both Pew and Johns Hopkins historically have played major roles in helping to shape responsible public policy, and the new effort will build on studies of genetics and public policy th
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Contact: Joanna Downer
jdowner1@jhmi.edu
410-614-5105
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
14-Mar-2002


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