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Genetic Information

Genetic information is the information coded in the DNA or RNA sequence of nucleic acids. Information regarding the genetic status of an individual or a genetic disease that he or she has may derive from a variety of sources, including genetic diagnosis ; results of genetic tests; the manifestation of an illness or genetic disorder in the individual or any of his family members – that is, the “family medical history”; participation in genetic clinical research; and genetic information concerning a fetus.


Selected ethical issues:


  •  The method of obtaining the information and its potential harm to the individual – the source of the information.
  • What does the information reveal?
  • What is the received information’s level of certainty, and how may it be interpreted?
  • Disclosing information to third parties (family members, insurers, employers, and so on).
  • The obligation to disclose genetic information versus the individual’s right to privacy.
  • The right of an individual not to know genetic information about him/herself or descendants.
  • Genetic-based discrimination (due to exposure of an individual’s genetic information)