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Your Health: Implications of the Human Genome Project
(CNN) -- As the international research project to decode the DNA within each human cell nears completion, there has been much talk of how the findings of the Human Genome Project will vastly change health care. But what in practical terms are the potential effects on the future of medical therapies and deadly disease?
Among other things, the findings could make it possible to screen children for hundreds of diseases before birth. Genes for an enormous range of traits such as eye and hair color, height, intelligence and longevity may also be known.
It is unlikely a patent will be issued on the gene for a particular eye color. President Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair made it clear in a statement this week that no one should own the information.
But if a couple wanted to change their child's eye color from green to brown, that process could be subject to patent.
While the gene for disease such cystic fibrosis could not be patented, the therapies developed to treat the disease could be.
CNN Medical Correspondent Rhonda Rowland looks at the implications of these findings, and how pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop therapies which can be patented.
U.S., Britain urge free access to human genome data
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
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