Nav: Home

New Kuwaiti law on the collection of human DNA threatens scientific collaboration

September 08, 2016

The law requiring compulsory DNA testing of all Kuwaiti residents, as well as of all those visiting the country for whatever purpose, is a serious assault on the right to privacy of individuals, and is also likely to lead to the isolation of Kuwaiti scientific research and researchers, the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) said today [Thursday 8 September]. In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers of the State of Kuwait, the Society calls upon the government to amend the law.

According to the Kuwaiti government, the new measure has been introduced to try to tackle the problem of terrorism in the country. It provides for the imposition of a one-year prison term and a fine on those who refuse to provide samples. "Not only does this law constitute a disproportionate response to the problem, but the very existence of such a comprehensive database of human DNA could be dangerous in the future, in the event of hacking or a regime change, for example," said Professor Olaf Horst Rieß, ESHG President.

Another concern for the Society is the potential effect of the compulsory testing of all visitors, including scientists. "We believe that this is likely to lead to the isolation of Kuwaiti research institutions, as visiting scientists may refuse to give samples and therefore will not attend valuable scientific conferences in the country", said Professor Rieß. "The current global challenges in human health and demography must be addressed by all industrialised countries in a collaborative effort."

"We see this new law as a major threat to joint actions in the field of genomic health that involve national European genetic societies, and therefore we request the Kuwait government to reconsider and to amend this law so that human DNA is collected for legal purposes only from individuals suspected of having committed serious crimes," said Professor Martina Cornel, Chair of the ESHG Public and Professional Policy Committee.
-end-


European Society of Human Genetics

Related Human Genetics Articles:

It's in our genome: Uncovering clues to longevity from human genetics
Researchers from Osaka University found that high blood pressure and obesity are the strongest factors reducing lifespan based on genetic and clinical information of 700,000 patients in the UK, Finland and Japan.
Genetics of schizophrenia in South African Xhosa informs understanding for all human populations
In the first genetic analysis of schizophrenia in an ancestral African population, the South African Xhosa, researchers report that individuals with schizophrenia are more likely to carry rare damaging genetic mutations than those who are well.
ASHG survey finds Americans strongly support human genetics research and potential
Americans are excited and optimistic about genetics and its emerging health applications, per a new survey by ASHG and Research!America.
'Substantially human,' a good starting point for determining boundaries of what's human
Recent and rapid developments in the biosciences continually blur the lines between human beings and other living organisms, while straining the legal definitions of what is or is not human.
Using genetics of human fat cells to predict response to anti-diabetes drugs
In a new study published in Cell Stem Cell, a team of researchers from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, have demonstrated--using fat cells derived from human stem cells -- that individual genetic variation can be used to predict whether the TZD rosiglitazone will produce the unwanted side effect of increasing cholesterol levels in certain individuals.
UK Biobank genetics of brain structure and description of largest human genetic study
Two papers in Nature, one describing UK Biobank genetics and other using it.
How Neanderthals influenced human genetics at the crossroads of Asia and Europe
A new study explores the genetic legacy of ancient trysts between Neanderthals and the ancestors of modern humans, with a focus on Western Asia, the region where the first relations may have occurred.
New Neandertal and archaic human genomes advance our understanding of human evolution
Two new studies on ancient genomes provide valuable insights into the lives of our ancestors and their cousins, the Neandertals.
In fruit fly and human genetics, timing is everything
Using fruit flies, UNC-Chapel Hill researchers discovered a cascade of molecular signals that program gene activity to drive the fly from one stage of maturation to the next, like a baby turning into an adult.
Identifying genes key to human memory: Insights from genetics and cognitive neuroscience
Researchers have identified more than 100 genes important for memory in people.
More Human Genetics News and Human Genetics Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.