Ethical, legal and social implications of the human microbiome project

25 September 2008

The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) was launched at the beginning of this year by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) with the aim of generating resources to enable a better understanding of the various microbes that inhabit the human body and their influence on health and disease (see previous news).

 

As part of this programme the NIH also aims to address the ethical, legal and social implications of this project in much the same way as it has done with the Human Genome Project (reported by GenomeWeb News). The institute is offering awards to investigate issues such as informed consent, intellectual property rights, and strategies available for public education on the project and its implications for health and society. In addition, it is also interested in identifying what new technologies and clinical applications may result from this research and their subsequent ethical, legal and societal impact.

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