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Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) of Genome Research: Home

This guide provides resources that will help the user understand the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of genome research--research into the genomes of humans, plants, and other organisms. Among other topics, this guide covers gene patenting.

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General Description

This guide provides links to resources related to the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of genetics/genomics/genome research. It explains what genomics is. It also provides a brief overview of genomics law and policy, with emphasis on gene patenting. Lastly, it provides a list of selected resources on these topics.

Other topics covered briefly include:

  • The Human Genome Project (HGP)
  • Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS)
  • Genes and Cancer
  • Economic Impact of the HGP


This guide focuses primarily on gene/genetic/genome ethics, which is just one area of the larger field known as bioethics. For more information on the entire range of bioethics issues, see the resources listed below.