US lawmakers on Thursday adopted a law banning employers and insurance companies from discriminating against people on the basis of their genetic information.
"Under this legislation, employers will not be allowed to consider genetic information when making decisions about hiring, firing, promotions and job assignments," said Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
"Nor will insurers be allowed to consider genetic information when making decisions about eligibility, premium levels, and applying pre-existing condition exclusions to policies," he said.
"In other words, insurers cannot raise premiums or deny coverage based on genetic information."
The resolution, which now goes to President George W. Bush to be signed into law, was adopted by 414 votes to one by the House of Representatives.
Hoyer said the text would not just help fight discrimination, but would also aid research by encouraging people concerned they may have inherited genes which can trigger serious diseases to be tested without fear of reprisals.