Wednesday, February 6, 2013



There are various controversies involved with genetic testing.  Although there are many positive aspects like aiding and extending the human lifespan, there are issues involving social living, discrimination, confidentiality, consent, and equity.  Such issues involve conflict between personal families due to individuals or their immediate relatives being tested. Not only that but it can lead to legal problems.  As members of society, we must ask were do we draw the line on the spectrum and decide where the benefit outweighs the risk?

Genetic testing is a type of screening to see if someone could develop a disease based on his or her genetic makeup or has a genetic disorder or condition.  One may want to have genetic testing done for various reasons: If a family has a history of one specific disease, if one shows symptoms of a genetic disorder and could thus benefit from early diagnosis, or if parents are worried about the possibility of their offspring inheriting a genetic trait from them.  By gaining this information from genetic testing, questions concerning who can find out this information, whether or not other family members should know this information, and whose responsibility it is to reveal this information to family members, if needed, can cause problems.

Having the power of genetic technology to gain knowledge about, test for and make changes in human genetic traits poses a few issues. For example, would it be wrong to choose the preferred traits for your unborn offspring? Also, would knowing and revealing the information about having or being predisposed to a genetic disorder prevent someone from being refused life insurance or healthcare? The fact that information about someone or their family becomes known to the genetic researchers means that other people can learn about this information from the research team, and thus confidentiality is not secured. Although insurance companies require health records, should people be exempt from showing their genetic history? Finally, would genetic testing be available to all classes?

Yes, there are many different scenarios on this matter in terms of whether you are affected directly or indirectly with a disorder.  In addition, with how our society is run in terms of insurance, healthcare, relationships, fairness, and the separation of what should be personal and what should not can cause a lot of tension and stress.  We must be able to have some way of judging when it is ok or not ok to undergo genetic testing based on the situation.

Posted by Marshall Moini (1) (1)


  1. It's interesting to think about the future of gene testing and how beneficial it can be for disease diagnosis. Although new gene technologies are being developed with great potential for diagnosing disease, it is scary to think about how genetic engineering could allow us to be able to turn genes in developing fetuses on or off. As a biology major, I love science but sometimes we need to remember that some things should just be kept natural.

    Posted by Poya Jafari

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  3. Indeed genetic testing is becoming beneficial for disease diagnosis. To some degree I agree with you that some things should be kept natural, but if we can work on the safety of technologies involved with turning genes on or off in developing fetuses, we could prevent some of the devastating diseases and suffering caused by them. Besides the controversy from the ethical perspective, our society is becoming so interdependent that using genetic testing can cause controversy in other areas: healthcare eligibility, privacy, and accountability. Yes, there are many benefits and downfalls with genetic testing but so we must decide when it is and when it isn't acceptable to employ such technology.

    Posted by Marshall Moini