Genetic Screening Used for Medical or Business Purposes?

Microbiology Techs diagnos samples

“Now, a study published Wednesday by the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine has verified that one of the tests can identify likely cases of Down syndrome and other genetic disorders caused by extra chromosomes in low-risk women with greater reliability than traditional noninvasive screening methods.”


When it comes to genetic screening, the responses are very much split; I was able to bear witness to this fact when a debate was conducted in my class yesterday and the matters of ethics, finances, and advantageous selection were flung forth in our discussion of DNA testing.

Upon reading this article however, it made me recollect one of the concerns I had during our debate. This piece focuses on certain genetic disorders (specifically types of trisomies and Down Syndrome), but if technology and acceptance behind screenings progresses, then we should consider the following: Privacy is becoming a luxury.

What I mean by this, in regards to genetic screening, is the current act we have “protecting” rights does not safeguard as much as most people think. GINA (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act) was enacted in 2008 and protects individuals from discrimination in the workforce as well as makes illegal for health insurance to raise rates or deny coverage in response to a disability. The big however though is that there is a loophole for companies to avoid covering peoples with disabilities.

The terms and conditions to prevent discrimination I talked about in GINA do not apply to life insurance, disability, long-term care insurance as well as military.

Now if genetic screening became mandatory, would we become more selective in our choices and parental decisions? What measures would people take to hide a genetic mutation that hinders certain capabilities?

I think science is fascinating and the speed at which discoveries are made is astounding. But legal measures need to be taken and widespread laws need to be implemented regarding discrimination to act as a more comprehensive effort than federal law regarding privacy.

To read the article that inspired this post, click here.

Post submitted by Kelly

Added Note: If you have not heard yet about the tragedy in South Korea, please read this and this. At last count, 150 individuals, an overwhelming majority being high school students, were lost in a (preventable) ferry accident. My heart goes out to a country that has been shaken and left in despair.


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