Should NASA Collect Astronauts' Genetic Information for Occupational Surveillance and Research?
AMA Journal of Ethics, September 2018
Humans exploring beyond low-Earth orbit face environmental challenges coupled with isolation, remote operations, and extreme resource limitations in which personalized medicine, enabled by genetic research, might be necessary for mission success. With little opportunity to test personalized countermeasures broadly, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will likely need to rely instead on collection of significant amounts of genomic and environmental exposure data from individuals. This need appears at first to be in conflict with the statutes and regulations governing the collection and use of genetic data. In fact, under certain conditions, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008 allows for the use of genetic information in both occupational surveillance and research and in the development of countermeasures such as personalized pharmaceuticals.
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