Genome Testing

This discussion is prompted by two articles. The first article entitled “Genetic variation in chromosome Y regulates susceptibility to influenza A virus infection” by Krementsov et al. introduces the genetic components of human susceptibility to Influenza A virus. The second paper by Lindor et al discusses questions surrounding the increasing genome sequencing information available to healthy individuals.

Several issues arise from the availability of detailed health information including concerns about discrimination and stigmas, as well as the impact on the psychological well-being of those found to be at increased risk for infections, diseases, or conditions. Such sensitive health information also poses ethical, legal, and social challenges for the management of such information (who has access, who is allowed to view such information). The applications of personalized genome information require care and expertise in interpreting genetic data and implementing, for example, changes in lifestyle and behavior.

The background reading includes first, an article titled “Ethical Consequences of Full Human Genome Testing” which discusses privacy concerns over the handling of such genomic information (which may include the quality of individual responses to disease treatment, their health susceptibilities, predictions of their future disease likelihood, their carrier status for certain genetic disease alleles, etc.). Second, an issue brief regarding workplace wellness health screening programs and the rights of workers regarding this information titled “Changing Rules for Workplace Wellness Programs: Implications for Sensitive Health Conditions”.

DISCUSSION PROMPTS
1. After receiving personalized genomic information, how might you use such knowledge with respect to your own health?
2. Would a genetically tested family member providing children or other family members with information regarding genetic information (such as carrier status) be desirable?
3. Might such testing be used as a prerequisite for employment, spousal selection, marriage, adoption, or IVF embryo implantation?

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