From Social Movement to Clinical Medicine — The Role of Law and the Medical Profession in Regulating Applied Human Genetics

  • James R. Sorenson


The role of law and medicine in controlling applied human genetics has been and continues to be complex in our society. It is not the intention of this discussion to analyze the multifaceted nature of the relationships among law, medicine, and genetics, but rather to select for purposes of discussion a limited facet of this large topic. Since the early 1900’s the institutional base of applied human genetics has changed significantly. With these changes the role of law and medicine has varied in terms of controlling the uses of, or limiting access to human genetics in the solution of a large number of problems. It is the intent of this discussion to examine some of the major changes in the institutional base of applied human genetics, comparing the period from 1900 to 1930 with the period from the late 1950’s up to the present. Our specific interest will be to analyze the manner in which law and medicine have acted as regulatory vehicles over applied human genetics during these two periods. It should be noted that in the following discussion attention is given primarily to control of the application of genetic knowledge and technologies. We are not concerned with the role of law and medicine as regulatory vehicles encouraging or imposing constraints on the discovery of genetic knowledge.


Genetic Counseling Prenatal Diagnosis Social Movement Genetic Knowledge Applied Genetic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • James R. Sorenson
    • 1
  1. 1.Boston University School of MedicineUSA

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