MN House Dismisses Consideration of Ethics in Genetic Research

(St. Paul, Minnesota) - Minnesota legislators today displayed a glaring lack of concern for the myriad ethical issues swirling around genetic research, says Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC).

Rep. Phyllis Kahn (D-Mpls.) tried to amend the Higher Education Omnibus bill (HF1385) to allow a small amount of the $15 million in genomic research funds to be used to "address the ethical, legal and social issues associated with biotechnology and medical genomics." But Republican and DFL members of the Minnesota House rose to oppose it. Notably, Rep. Liebing (D-Rochester) initially supported the Kahn amendment until she stepped out of Chambers to talk with representatives of the Mayo Clinic. She came back in and informed House members that Mayo Clinic did not support the amendment, so she was going to oppose the amendment.

"Legislators and researchers are so gung-ho on genetic research that they don't want even the possibility of ethical issues to get in the way of their research agenda," says Twila Brase, president of CCHC.

She adds, "Without proper consideration and acknowledgement of patient privacy and consent rights, state-funded genetic research becomes state-funded genetic exploitation."

"This was permissive language. It required nothing," said Brase. "But for most Minnesota legislators, that was too much."

To schedule an interview with Twila Brase, contact her at 651.646.8935 or

Media Contact:

Twila Brase, President and Co-founder
Office: 651-646-8935