In recent years there have been initiatives throughout the world to map and analyze genetic information about broad populations. The aim of these initiatives is to make use of the potential of genomic information and to check it against clinical and behavioral information, to promote public health and medical research. In 2016 a similar initiative was undertaken in Israel, led by the Ministry of Health and other bodies: a national genetic and clinical initiative called Psifas (mosaic in Hebrew). The Psifas database is to include 100,000 volunteers from all parts of Israeli society. The aim is for the volunteers to be active participants in the initiative’s development so that it will be possible to contact them in the future and request additional data about them and even to ask them to participate in continued research and medical experiments, all this while promoting the principles of solidarity, transparency, and public sharing.
The research project that is providing support for the establishment of Psifas is conducted at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. It aims to map the regulatory and ethical challenges the initiative faces, compare existing models and possible alternative models, and refer to focus groups.