Genetic Testing and Its Social Implications

3353 words 14 pages
Probably, applied genetics' most impacts on society are as a result of genetic tests. In general, genetic tests seek to detect some feature of a person's genetic constitution. This feature can be a disease causing mutation or a marker DNA sequence used to detect presence of another gene. Obviously these procedures used for testing the status of DNA, RNA or chromosomes are included in genetic tests. What is more it is possible to include some protein based tests and classical medical examinations when they aim to detect inheritance of a trait. Genetic tests have been divided into four categories in this text, and they will be examined in greater detail later. These categories are:
<br><li>Prenatal tests that are applied on fetuses during
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<br><b>A. Prenatal Testing</b>
<br>Prenatal testing is the process of testing the genetic status of an embryo when there is a risk of a serious monogenic disease or when there is a proliferated risk of gross chromosomal disorder such as Down's syndrome. Prenatal testing should only be done if the parents are determined to terminate the pregnancy in the event of an unfavorable outcome. It is a very beneficial technology as it encourages couples, who had one genetically defective baby and do not want to have another child because of high risk, to attempt pregnancy by assuring them that in an adverse result pregnancy can be terminated. Positive aspects of such tests are easily distinguishable. However, there also are a number of controversial points.
<br>Prenatal tests are not totally free of risk. During prenatal tests, a sample from the embryo's cells should be taken out by a procedure known as amniocentesis. It involves insertion of an injection to mother's uterus and sucking some fluid from chorionic villus of the embryo. It can disturb the embryo. Amniocentesis carries a 1% risk of miscarriage. So, prenatal tests should only be applied when the risk of having a defective baby is much higher.
<br>Prenatal tests should only be made with an idea of termination of the pregnancy in mind. Genetic counselors should explain what it means thoroughly to the couple.


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