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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
DNA mapping for new-borns debated
Test tubes
DNA mapping for new-borns is a controversial issue
Controversial plans to collect DNA samples from every newborn baby in the UK are being discussed in Bristol.

The Human Genetics Commission has been asked by the government to consider the case for storing everyone's genetic profile for future use.

The two-day conference at the Bristol Marriott Hotel will be closely watched by the Smith family from Yate.

The man who killed their daughter Louise, was caught with the use of vital DNA evidence.

Her father Robert said: "We were surprised - astonished really - to find the law did not allow the profiles to be kept, except for a person who was convicted.

Ethical issues

"So that's when we started campaigning to have those profiles retained on a database, providing they gave permission for it to be done."

The commission will also hear evidence from academics working on the ongoing Children Of The 90s project at Bristol University.

Four professors will address the practical and ethical issues involved.

Speaking ahead of the conference, project leader Professor Jean Golding said: "The idea of collecting DNA from every child as they are born needs to be thought through carefully to make sure the information can't be misused."

She said DNA profiles could help doctors reduce the risk of genetically-related illnesses like heart attacks or diabetes.

Concern over genetic test revolution
24 Oct 02  |  Science/Nature

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