Monday, December 08, 2014

It's in the Genes (A Moral Dilemma)

It's been a while since we've addressed the issue of genetic screening; last time out we discussed the ethical issues of a young woman who elected a double-mastectomy on the basis of a genetic predisposition towards breast cancer.

This time out, the subject promises a far broader impact:

"If you agree to participate in a genome research study, what happens if the researchers find a risky gene in your sequence? Do they have an obligation to tell you? What if you don't want to know? And what about your family members, who might share that problematic gene with you? Do they have a right to know?"

Whew, a lot of questions, and each one potentially fraught with peril. We've previously addressed the first three, but the last two - do family members who may share the trait have a right to know? - is unexplored territory here. On the one hand, it's family. On the other, they didn't pay for the testing and, besides, this is very personal information indeed.

I'd be interested in learning what IB readers think of this possible conflict of familial interest:

Do family members have a right to know the results of your genetic testing? free polls
And feel free to leave additional thoughts in the comments here.

[Hat Tip: FoIB Holly R]
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