A genome is a complete haploid set of chromosomes with its associated genes, or, more generally, an organism's complete genetic make up. The Human Genome Project (HGP) was a thirteen-year, $3 billion American government project to catalog all human genes. Scientists completed the mapping in 2003 and the results are on the Internet.

Given the troubled history of medicine, science, and political power's treatment of women, people of color, disenfranchised groups, and the poor, mapping the human genome raises many concerns socially, politically, and legally. Our too-recent theories of and experiments with human eugenics conjure up cautions for many when contemplating how societies will use the information contained in the HGP. Some are concerned with the specter of grassroots eugenics—such as private individuals making genetic and ...

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