Tuesday, March 28, 2006

DNA Testing?

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.04/start.html?pg=10

The tech world is fairly slow today, so I'm posting something new. I want replies to this, if you feel so inclined.

The article linked to above discusses DNA Testing. Let me sum it up. You can now pay to have your DNA tested. The results will tell you, albeit inconclusively, whether you might be genetically predisposed to certain diseases.

This brings up the question...do you want to know? If you're at extreme genetic risk for cancer, say...do you really want to know that in advance? What can that knowledge give you?

And what about for people getting married? What if a DNA test reveals that your children are likely to have birth defects or diseases? Will that prevent you from having children at all? Again, do you really want to know?

So...a penny for your thoughts. To DNA test or not to DNA test?


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4 comments:

  1. Shelsy3:51 PM

    Oh yes, this comes up in every bioethical debate I'm in. I would be inclined to agree with the writer of the article--the results will be inconclusive and unreliable. A DNA test will usually only tell you that "it's possible for you to get (blank)." For most of us, it's POSSIBLE to get a lot of things. There would be the rare cases where the results could tell you, "Yes, you definitely have (blank) disease. It's in the early stages. Now that we've caught it, here's what you can do to treat it now." In those kinds of cases, it would be extremely helpful. But that's also extremely rare.

    The question comes up again with the ability to test the DNA of unborn children--bringing the question of abortion right along with it. If you can know that your child will have Down Syndrome or Progeria or a disease that won't allow it to live more than a few painful months. Do you then have the right to decide whether it's inhumane to have the child, or even if it's just an inconvenience?

    This question expands into genetic selection. A couple only wants the baby if it's a girl, or if it has blue eyes...

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  2. Aaron4:31 PM

    I'd just as soon not know. The test woulden't tell me anything diffinate, and I don't think my desitions would change with knowing. And like Shelsy said, just because you could possibly get something doesn't mean you will, the human body is far more resiliant than most people give it credit for.

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  3. Ok, this genetic testing is lame, but I'm sure there are people rushing to get tested and have it change their lives. Let's hope they're all optimists. Can you imagine a pesimistic person going to get tested only to find that they are at risk for some awful disease? What would your days be like then? I, for one, would get a total case of the Eeyore's, walking around going, "The sun's shining, the birds are singing, but I don't care, because my DNA sucks." No thank you.

    And on another point, just because you don't have the DNA that makes something more likely to happen doesn't mean that it won't happen. My mom's DNA probably didn't say anything about her getting cancer, since no one in her side of the family had gotten it before. But guess what...she got cancer anyway! Save your money; it's not worth it.

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  4. Mindy8:33 AM

    I would like to agree with ya'll on the fact that knowing you're pre-disposed for certain diseases is bull crap. Nobody really needs to know that. Most of the things that could be determined by your DNA are non-preventable and regardless of what your DNA says you should still watch your diet, exercise, take vitamins, etc. Especially if there's heart disease in your family history, but even if there isn't you could end up being the first. I say there's no sense.
    However, I would like to say that knowing your unborn child has some sort of birth defect could better prepare you to raise that child. You would have extra time during the pregnancy to prepare for the extra needs of that child and to prepare your home to better accomodate them. I think it would prevent alot of heart-ache when your child is born. Everyone wants a healthy baby, and regardless of how excited you are that your baby is alive, if it has some sort of birth defect you're going to be upset just knowing how hard their life is going to be. I personally would like to be prepared.
    Oh, and genetic selection is completely un-necessary ... anyone who only wants a child that has certain features doesn't deserve to be a parent.

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