Ethical/ legal/ social issues

Ethical/ legal/ social issues

Permission to do genetic testing in the form of informed consent must be obtained.

The patient should be made to understand the implications of genetic tests and should be provided information regarding the benefits, the effectiveness, the risks and the alternatives.

Information from genetic testing has the potential to change the lives of individuals and their families. In addition, in some countries, these tests may have a say in employment and insurance companies. Therefore the right of individual to maintain privacy with regard to the genetic test results must be respected.

Access to genetic information should be limited due to its sensitive nature and a high level of confidentiality should be maintained.

The possibility of searching for specific genes will eventually lead to people asking for designer babies, including those with higher intelligence and selected sexual orientation. The ethicality of such a move is no doubt debatable.

Genetic testing is also making it possible to study a person’s potential to indulge in substance abuse or have anti- social personality disorder. The repercussions of these tests are again a topic of discussion.

Certain potential future ethical problems related to genetic testing were considered in the science fiction film ‘Gattaca’ and also in the science fiction series ‘Gundam Seed’.