There are potential advantages and disadvantages of predictive genetic testing. How would one analyze and discuss these with supporting evidence to how one would react to this situation. Give...

There are potential advantages and disadvantages of predictive genetic testing. How would one analyze and discuss these with supporting evidence to how one would react to this situation. Give detailed reasons, and examples.

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justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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Predictive genetic testing is a procedure that analyzes the genetic makeup of a person to identify the possibility of the person acquiring a particular ailment. The genetic profile of each person is created by half the genes inherited from the father and the other half inherited from the mother. Genetic traits are also of two types, recessive and dominant. The former may or may not be passed on by the parent to the child while the latter are surely passed on.

Scientists have been able to determine a genetic cause for the occurrence of many ailments. In several cases, the presence of specific genes increases the probability of the person acquiring a particular ailment, one instance of which is breast cancer. In a smaller number of cases the presence of a particular gene ensures that the person will acquire a particular illness, an example of which is Huntington's Disease.

There are many genetic conditions that can be cured medically, others can be avoided by incorporating a lifestyle change or with the help of medication. A small group of genetic illnesses can neither be prevented nor is there a cure for the same once a person has acquired it.

It is these large number of variables that makes genetic testing a subject of debate. If a person were to use predictive genetic testing and find out that they are going to be afflicted by an ailment that has no cure, the psychological impact of the same could be devastating. Similarly, in many cases genetic testing can only provide information that the person is at a higher risk of acquiring an ailment. In these cases there does not seem to be a reason to actually undergo the test. Predictive testing is of use only where a person can use the results to reduce the chances or eliminate the possibility of acquiring the ailment.

A person with knowledge that they may acquire an ailment could find it very difficult to enter into social relationships or start a family. They could also face discrimination at employment and have to pay a higher price medical insurance. This makes it essential for anyone to closely analyze the result of the outcome of the predictive test before actually taking part in it.

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CaitlynnReeves's profile pic

CaitlynnReeves | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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The first thing that comes to mind when I think of genetic testing is the potential consequences for unborn children. 

There are many hypothetical advantages to having a child genetically tested. For instance, if a parent discovered it was likely they may have an autistic child they may be able to better prepare for the necissary lifestyle changes to come. As mentioned above, there are some genetic illnesses that can be treated. With genetic testing it could be possible for a mother to begin treatment on her unborn child if it was discovered that the child had one such illness. 

On the other hand, the emotional and phsychological effects of any of the above diagnoses could be devistating. If a mother discovers that there is a high chance of her child being severely debilitated by a genetic illness she may opt to have an abortion rather than deal with the complications of the disease. Because no test is 100% accurate, some of these abortions could be completely unwarranted. 

In either senario, counseling should be an essential part of the diagnosis/treatment. 

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