Labor Party Statement on Human Genome Project
30 Jun 8:30
Labor Party Statement on the Human Genome Project
To: National Desk
Contact: Tony Mazzocchi of the Labor Party, 202-234-5190
WASHINGTON, June 30 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a statement
by Tony Mazzocchi of the Labor Party on the Human Genome Project:
We in the Labor Party applaud the scientific advances being made
through the National Institutes of Health and the National Science
Foundation and other public research programs. After all it was the
taxes of our members and other working people who paid for the U.S.
portion of this research since federal funding for biomedical
research was launched after World War II. It's just too bad that we
don't have federally funded health care so that all our citizens can
receive the benefit of these advances.
But the Labor Party is particularly concerned over the use of this
genetic data to misdirect biomedical research and health care. We
know that damage to our genes causes cancer and other nasty
conditions. It's not our genes that make us sick -- our genes keep us
functioning -- it's damage to our genes that causes the problem.
We in the labor movement see this as an effort to blame the
victim -- we have cancer because we have "oncogenes" rather than
because our genes have been damaged because they have "cancerous
The determination of human gene sequences advances our ability to
identify the damage that can be done to our genes from carcinogens
and mutagens, and the need to protect our genes from environmental
and occupational hazards. We know that most human ill health is not
inherited but is due to external insult including pollution,
infection, inadequate or inappropriate diet, physical accident or
excess stress or social disruption such as wars. Preventing damage to
human genes from carcinogens is a far more effective public health
strategy than allowing the disease to develop and then attempting
expensive and dangerous gene therapy or other heroic measures.
We are also disturbed when we see corporations like Celera
applying for and being granted patents on human genes. They didn't
invent our genes and they shouldn't be able to profit by selling our
gene sequences to the highest bidder. Patents on human genes
represent a theft not just from the American people but from people
all over the world.