Genetic markers: Dilemmas of discovering destiny

IT IS being hailed as one of the biggest ever breakthroughs in the treatment of two diseases which claim tens of thousands of lives a year; by 2018, patients will be able to go to their GPs’ surgeries and take a simple saliva test which will reliably predict their chances of developing breast or prostate cancer.

The advantages of this technology are manifold; not only will it allow those identified as being high-risk to modify their lifestyles, tackling those behaviours such as drinking and smoking which would further elevate their chances of developing the diseases, and be closely monitored for early symptoms, it could also lead to the development of new drugs for hard-to-tackle cancers.

Yet, like every development in genetics, news of the saliva test brings with it a fresh wave of ethical, psychological and philosophical dilemmas centred on the potential impact of being able to glimpse one’s medical destiny.

Read the full article here: Genetic markers: The dilemmas of discovering destiny

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