We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Viewpoint |

Why the Americans With Disabilities Act Matters for Genetics

Ellen Wright Clayton, MD, JD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennesse
JAMA. 2015;313(22):2225-2226. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.3419.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is arguably the most effective law in the United States protecting people from misuse of genetic information. Before discussing how this law works, it is necessary to understand why addressing concerns about genetics is important. The genome is frequently portrayed as particularly powerful in predicting health and disease, even going to the essence of what it means to be human. As a result, many people understandably fear that this type of information will be misused to deny them access to goods such as jobs and health insurance. Evidence, based largely on anecdotes and survey responses, suggests that these concerns lead some people to avoid useful genetic tests, raising concerns about whether the potential value of genomics research for human health will be fully realized. Yet in deciding what information should trigger protection, it is difficult to know where to differentiate between “genetic” and “nongenetic” because even though many genetic variants have little or no apparent effect on human characteristics, virtually every human trait has some genetic contribution.

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

First Page Preview

View Large
First page PDF preview




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

1 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Related Multimedia

Author Interview

audio player

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles