February 11, 2013 2:45 pm
A controversial procedure that lets would-be parents test embryos for certain genetic defects will soon be allowed in special cases in Germany. What does this mean for society? Do people have the right to a healthy child? “No,” says Tina Stark, “they don’t.”
December 12, 2012 2:23 pm
Henry Greely hails a study examining California’s experience of mandatory newborn genetic screening. Saving Babies? covers the history of newborn genetic testing, but the picture it paints is not one of unalloyed success.
October 18, 2012 4:11 pm
We are now reaching a critical juncture where scientific developments in both genetics and neuroscience may soon be able to identify children with a greatly increased risk of engaging in future violent activity. Perhaps the most critical question is, what do we do with such children when we identify them?
August 20, 2012 7:15 pm
For a few hundred dollars and a vial of spit, these companies will search your DNA for sequences that predict your physical traits, your response to certain drugs and your risk for any number of diseases. One such company, California-based 23andMe, is attempting to use the data to do something different: search for new genes linked to Parkinson’s disease. The company, which calls itself the world’s first genetics-based social network, has collected more than 125,000 DNA samples from customers. Criticism of direct-to-consumer genetics companies is nothing new. Many have questioned the ethics of delivering genetic information directly to the consumer, as well as the value and the accuracy of the genetic risks they report.
August 15, 2012 9:41 am
Of course the natural objection is that I’m discussing a problem which doesn’t exist. I wish this were so, but there’s a whole bioethics industry whose bread & butter is to trade in flimsy and specious reasoning, which might appeal to politicians who are will to purchase specious reasoning for purposes of their demagoguery. For example, As Prices for Prenatal Genome Sequencing Tests Fall, Researchers Worry About Consequences for Families in a Real-Life ‘Gattaca’.
August 12, 2012 6:39 pm
The Mercury News editorial page had a great column today from three experts on genetic testing that provides the medical perspective on why a physician should be involved in the direct-to-consumer genetic testing process. They argue that these are indeed medical tests, despite industry arguments otherwise. And the results are complex.
August 8, 2012 3:12 pm
Parents-to-be may be able to have their unborn child screened for homosexuality within a matter of a few years, according to a visiting American expert in bioethics. Professor Robert Klitzman of Columbia University’s Centre for Bioethics has told TV ONE’s Close Up that genetic tests are now being developed to look for autism, alzheimers and various types of cancers. “We may find tests with homosexuality for instance,” he said.
July 30, 2012 12:50 pm
“I think we’ve now entered an era where these direct-to-consumer offerings are beginning to have real medical relevance, and therefore I am in favor of them being done within some regulatory context,” said Evans, a professor of genetics and medicine at UNC’s Medical School.
June 8, 2012 11:30 am
Direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTCGT) has been freely available on the Internet for more than five years, despite concerns from the professional community. Companies marketing these tests (such as 23andMe and deCODEme) claim they are empowering people to make healthy lifestyle choices, and frequently draw on the principle of autonomy as a central argument. This position is confirmed elsewhere by those who view genomic knowledge as an individual right, including many of the bloggers at Genomes Unzipped. Other scientists and clinicians express skepticism about the clinical validity and utility of DTCGT, and raise concerns about the potential for anxiety and inappropriate testing. The UK, with its large state-run National Health Service and relative lack of private health insurance and providers, is likely to face unique challenges and situations as DTCGT becomes more common.
May 30, 2012 1:54 pm
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has issued new recommendations cautioning doctors and patients against using genetic tests to guide healthcare decisions before their safety, efficacy, and usefulness have been proven.