Genetic testing

Genetic testing, now available and sold directly to consumers (bypassing the involvement of health-care providers), can provide information that is powerfully predictive regarding an individual’s future health status. The issues arising from such genetic/genomic information have been subject to intense scrutiny for several reasons. First, for certain heritable conditions, medical professionals (as well as society), have concerns about stigma/discrimination, and the impacts of such predictive power on the psychological well-being of those found to be at increased risk for such conditions. Second, the revelation of genetic information for one individual in a family provides presumptive information about other “blood” relatives. Such familial or kindred genetic information poses ethical, legal, and social challenges for the management of the information in clinical and research contexts as well as within family units. Third, genetic/genomic information is complex, and the health risks associated with the information are often probabilistic and require special care and expertise in interpreting such genetic tests. Finally, genetics and its misuse through eugenics (to the detriment of the most vulnerable members of society in the first half of the 20th century) compel careful thought and justify great caution in assessing the benefits and risks of these evolving technologies.
DISCUSSION PROMPTS
Is “direct-to-consumer’ genetic and ancestry testing wise given that it is unaccompanied by the involvement of a trained medical professional or genetic counselor? Should a genetically tested family member provide siblings, children, or other family members information regarding detrimental genetic information (carrier status, for example) and when? Might such testing be used as a prerequisite to marriage, adoption, or IVF embryo implantation?

READINGS
Do Your Family Members Have a Right to Your Genetic Code 2016.pdf Ethical Legal and Psychosocial Implications of Genetic Testing in Children and Adolescents.pdf My Identical Twin Sequenced our Genome 2017.pdf The Doyenne of DNA Says – Just Chillax With Your Ex 2017.pdf What to keep in mind about your privacy when taking genetics tests like 23andMe or AncestryDNA .pdf