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Clinical genome and exome sequencing is currently used in only a small fraction of patients, yet large scale genomic initiatives are becoming more embedded in clinical services. This paper examines the ethical principles that should guide regulatory processes regarding consent and data sharing in this context. We argue that a genomic dataset administered by the health system carries substantial societal benefits, and that the collective nature of this initiative means that at least those patients who benefit from genome sequencing have an ethical obligation to share their health information. This obligation is grounded in considerations of fairness. Furthermore, we argue that the use of genomic data for the advancement of medical knowledge should be permitted without explicit consent and that international and other bodies should be granted access to these data, provided certain conditions are satisfied.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Hum Genet

Publication Date





147 - 154