This is a qualified assessment of the implications of the Human Genome Project from a legal and ethical perspective. After presenting the key scientific concepts, it deals with questions such as the right to privacy and the impact of individual genetic knowledge for criminal responsibility, employment relations, insurance contracts, etc. The conference giving rise to reflections on these aspects was held in Vatican City in 1993. It was organized by the BBV Foundation and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and was attended by prestigious experts. This publication includes the presentations in their original languages. In the closing speech for the event, His Holiness Pope John Paul II stressed the duty of civil society to be involved in the debate on the bioethics of the genome.