The project ‘Ethical and Legal Aspects of Whole Genome Sequencing’ (EURAT) began at Heidelberg University in March 2011. Twelve scholars from the University, the Heidelberg University Hospital, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law and the Center for Health Economics Research Hannover (CHERH) at Hannover University have come together to address the normative ethical and legal issues as well as the economic aspects of whole genome sequencing. Their goal is to create in Heidelberg, already a centre of genome and tumour research, a platform for the discussion of the normative dimensions of genetic research.
EURAT will pursue the following three objectives:
- to formulate a position statement that can be applied to the political policy discussions and the legislative procedure in Germany as well as to the international discussion on standards and regulations
- to stimulate and contribute to informed public discussion of the opportunities and risks of this research
- to establish a nationally and internationally visible platform in Heidelberg for the continuous and interdisciplinary work by relevant fields on normative questions raised by this research
EURAT will thereby create in Heidelberg a permanent platform for the discussion of normative issues related to genome analysis. This will function as a forum for discussion that will guide the formulation of a position statement and its potential legislative implementation. With the help of this body, researchers working in Heidelberg will be able to consider and discuss new problems and issues that arise promptly and in international exchange with other experts.