The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues is seeking public comments “on the ethical issues raised by the ready availability of large-scale human genome sequence data, with regard to privacy and data access and the balancing of individual and societal interests.” The commission, which plans to spend the next six months soliciting input from scientific, ethics and health-care patient groups, requests comments by May 25, 2012.  

“As a result of the tremendous technological advances that have dramatically reduced the cost of sequencing, the science is at a point where relatively inexpensive, rapid sequencing of whole human genomes appears not only likely, but imminent,” the commission noted. “This prospect raises many questions for the scientific, medical, ethics, and patient communities related to how this information can and ought be collected, used, and governed.” The commission is particularly interested in protecting the privacy of research subjects, patients and their families. See Federal Register, March 27, 2012.