HC Deb 16 July 1997 vol 298 c230W
Mr. Lansley

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will make an assessment of the potential for misuse through biological warfare of the Human Genome Project; if she will assess the national and international legislative framework for the output of this project; and if she will make a statement. [7210]

Mr. Battle

[holding answer 8 July 1997]: There is no potential misuse, through biological or other warfare, directly from the Human Genome Mapping Project (HGMP) whose purpose is strictly the mapping and sequencing of the entire complement of human genes.

However, the British Medical Association have recently announced that they have commissioned an investigation into whether there could be any threat of genetic weapons being developed capable of biological ethnic cleansing. These forms of weapons do not exist but the BMA fears that developments in genetic therapy to cure disease could in principle, in future, be turned to attack certain body sites. The report is expected in 12 months.

There is no legislative framework, national or international, specifically relating to this project.