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Priya Nalluri Opinion Paper MolGenE 4500 Genetic testing has opened many doors to us today that we never

dreamed possible in the past. Genetic testing is the analysis of an individual’s DNA to assess the risk of that individual developing an inherited disease. It is particularly useful in diagnosing and treating illnesses as well as preventing them. It also allows prospective parents, who may carry a lethal gene, to make an informed decision on whether they want to have biological children of their own. Despite all the advantages that we have gained from genetic testing, there are also consequences. These consequences are so substantial that it begs the question of whether we should even continue genetic testing. One consequence of significance is discrimination as a result of genetic testing. Genetic discrimination is when an individual is treated differently or unfairly because of differences in their DNA sequences that may increase their chances for developing certain diseases. An example of this is an insurance company increasing the premium or refusing to accept a new customer because differences in their DNA may put them at a higher risk for heart disease. Another type of discrimination individuals can experience is discrimination from employers, who might use that type of information to base their decisions to fire or hire workers. This can be an issue in today’s world where privacy is increasingly becoming harder to have due to the Internet and how seamlessly connected and fast communication is. In fact several movies on the topic have been released. Gattaca, directed by Andrew Niccol, is a science fiction film where one’s DNA determines their social standing and opportunities in life and they are constantly having their DNA tested. It also explores the idea of eugenics, the concept of bettering the human race’s genetic make-up by promoting the reproduction of

meaning that they cannot deny coverage or set premiums based on this information. However to ban genetic testing completely is impractical and would disregard its countless practical and life-saving applications. its history has often been associated with genocide. Nor can they ask you or other family members to undergo genetic testing. . which is a major oversight. A well-known example of this was the holocaust during WWII. Another way GINA seeks to prevent genetic discrimination is through stopping employers or companies from using genetic information to hire or fire employees. Therefore the government has passed several laws attempting to safeguard an individual’s privacy and against discrimination they may face due to their genetic makeup. This protection of privacy has many positive implications. and they also cannot make requests to see genetic testing results or ask current or prospective employees to undergo genetic testing as a condition of employment. the Nazis attempted to rid Germany and much of Europe of what they considered “undesirables”. In the end the director of Gattaca attempted to draw attention to the fact that genetic testing is a slippery slope because there will always be traits that humankind values more over others and that will always pave the path to discrimination. This will remove many limitations on future and current experiments and may help uncover the origins of many diseases. Since individuals will be more confidant that their information will be private they may feel more at ease participating in studies that require genetic testing without fear that their genetic information will be used against them. However the law does not cover life insurance or disability insurance.those with “desired traits” and discouraging the reproduction of those with “undesirable traits”. GINA prohibits insurance companies from discriminating on a genetic basis. Although many defend the idea of eugenics. In 2008 The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was passed.

severely limiting quality of life. Even people who are healthy can be discriminated against if they simply have a risk of developing a disease. However since the benefits of genetic testing are so immense.Genetic testing is something to be carefully monitored. Otherwise although discrimination can start at the level health insurers and employers. . This would be an injustice that no one should have to face. it can spread to other daily aspects of life. the negative consequences can be stemmed if there is a tight regulation of an individual’s privacy. As shown in Gattaca it is something that can quickly get out of hand and lead to discrimination.

2013 <http://www. 1997. Gattaca.Works cited "Genetic Discrimination.gov/10002077>." Genetic Discrimination. . Dir.genome. By Andrew Niccol. Andrew Niccol. Nov.