Presidential Bioethics Commission: Need More Gene Privacy Laws

Legal to grab a DNA specimen off someone unwittingly and have it tested in half of states


It sounds like a scene from a TV show: Someone sends a discarded coffee cup to a laboratory, where the unwitting drinker's DNA is decoded, predicting what diseases lurk in his or her future.

A presidential commission found that's legally possible in about half the states — and says new protections to ensure the privacy of people's genetic information are critical if the nation is to realize the enormous medical potential of gene-mapping.