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Is genetic screening right or wrong

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Contents Page Page 1 An introduction to the background of genetic testing Page 2 & 3 It is right because Page 4 & 5 It is wrong because Page 6 Conclusion Page 7 Bibliography An Introduction to the background of genetic testing Genetic testing is the use of a range of laboratory procedures to determine if a person has certain genetic conditions or diseases. These tests involve techniques to examine a person's DNA which would show up any irregularities. This DNA is taken from a cell in the blood or from other body fluids or tissues. This test would then show up any changes in chromosomes, genes or proteins. 'Genetic testing is the analysis of human DNA, RNA, chromosomes, proteins and certain metabolites in order to detect heritable disease-related genotypes, mutations, phenotypes or karyotypes for clinical purposes' - Holtzman & Watson 1997 Tests are carried out both before and after the appearance of disease symptoms. The following list gives examples of what testing is used to help with: * Screening for such conditions as Down's syndrome through prenatal and neonatal screening * Carrier testing where irregularities picked up may have implications for children or their relatives * Rare inherited disorders * The identification of a person highly at risk of developing certain types of cancer such as bowel and breast cancer * Characterising of tumours and leukaemia * Diagnosis of blood diseases including sickle cell disease Page 1 It is right because Genetic testing enables the diagnosis of symptoms and the ability to provide a prognosis. ...read more.


Often genetic screening takes a long time to do. For example it was reported in the Daily Mail that some women waited for up to two years for test results. Some felt unable to cope under the pressure and took the decision to have their breasts removed. Foster carer Tracy Meredith also took the drastic step to have both breasts removed, even though genetic tests proved 12 months later that she was unlikely to develop cancer and the surgery was unnecessary. (Test delays force women to have breasts removed by Emily Cook, Daily Mail) Genetic testing to find out the possibility of someone developing an inherited disorder can cause more problems than they solve. This is another possibility of a situation involving a false positive. The study of Parkinson's is believed to be one such possible false positive situation by the Parkinson's Disease Society. Kieran Breen, the director of research, at the Parkinson's Disease Society said: "There isn't currently a case for genetic testing to take place, even where a relative has the condition. "Screening to identify the gene may only cause unnecessary alarm or worry in people who may never go on to develop Parkinson's. "Research is ongoing on this subject in order to gain a greater understanding of the factors associated with Parkinson's." (BBC News Report - 18 June 2006) ...read more.


There is an HGC (Human Genetics Commission) which is responsible for overseeing things and this is very important. Most tests are only done in the presence of a doctor. However, some tests which claim to predict the genetic risk of conditions are available from alternative healthcare providers in the UK. Other types of tests are available over the internet. These need to be approached with care and warnings given. 'Probe into ethics of gene testing', BBC News Report 16 July 2004, which reported on the abortion of a child due to genetic testing having identified a child with a cleft palate is also an area to be approached with care. This type of defect does not, in my opinion as well as Joanna Jepson's (a curate at St Michaels Church in Chester) warrant such drastic action. Even such institutions as the Catholic Church keep an eye on what is going on in this field. They have their own Vatican scientists who advise the church on these issues. For me, the positives out way the negatives. I believe that at the end of the day the person affected should have the choice. They should be the one to make the decision, but with one very important condition being that they are given full and complete information together with counselling. The progress of the research into this form of testing is vast and can surely only be a good thing if its stops people suffering from debilitating diseases and the pain involved in these. ...read more.

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