As little as a decade ago, the concept of having your DNA (your genome) sequenced as a matter of routine probably seemed far-fetched. Yet fast-forward a few years and extraordinary advances in DNA sequencing technology, increasing its speed and precision, and a significant reduction in cost, has opened the floodgates for direct-to-consumer personal DNA testing from the comfort of the home.
Parents may choose to include their children in DNA assessment to trace family patterns; however, the ethical implications for unconsenting minors who have a ‘right-not-to-know’ is unwavering. Should an unexpected harmful mutation be identified, that child must bear that knowledge, which could affect not only their risk of a disease but also the possibility that their own children could inherit the faulty gene. Such considerations also extend to untested family members, such as siblings, who do not wish to obtain such information. This raises the ethical complication of whether a doctor has a clinical responsibility to inform that person or not.
Despite remarkable technological advances in our ability to examine our genes close-up, we are much further behind in regulating the use of this information and defusing the ethical minefield that self genomic testing introduces
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Genetic Testing in the Hands of the Consumer – The Genomics Revolution