The status of genetic material and genetic information in the Netherlands

Joke I. De Witte, Jos V. M. Welie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The moral status of genetic material and information, and the ethics of controlling and manipulating them, is a topic of hot debate in many European countries, including The Netherlands. That heat is due partly to the complexity of the topic, and partly to researchers' fear that their investigations will be hampered by restrictions on the use of personal data or body material. But there is little doubt that manifold diverging interpretations about the status of the human body, body materials, and personal information in Dutch law, written and unwritten, contribute to the intensity of the debates. This article intends to structure the debate by creating more clarity at the conceptual level. By carefully examining relevant articles of the Constitution and Civil Codes, as well as policy documents and authoritative publications, notably in reference to prominent legal concepts such as property, ownership and privacy, an answer should be provided to the following crucial question: is the status of genetic material and information in any sense special in comparison with other body parts and other kinds of information about a person? This paper first discusses the status of human body materials and personal information in general, and then continues with a more specific discussion about the status of genetic material and information. It concludes that the Dutch legislature had carefully avoided (or not felt the need to employ) the concept of ownership in regulating biomedical research; rather, privacy is found to be the prime regulatory concept.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-49
Number of pages5
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1997
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Human Body
Netherlands
Ownership
Privacy
Genes
Constitution and Bylaws
Ethics
ownership
Fear
privacy
Publications
Biomedical Research
Hot Temperature
Research Personnel
civil code
personal data
ethics
heat
genetic information
material

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Health(social science)

Cite this

The status of genetic material and genetic information in the Netherlands. / De Witte, Joke I.; Welie, Jos V. M.

In: Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 45, No. 1, 07.1997, p. 45-49.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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