University of Bristol
Wellcome Trust
Recommended by:
Society of Biology
PEEP for Physics & Ethics at GCSE

Use of human genetic information

Genetic Discrimination

As more is learned about how the genome determines patterns of disease, so the social and ethical issues of how this information may affect peoples lives must be discussed.

Already, people have been refused life insurance policies on the results of genetic testing. The argument of the insurance company is that it is not fair on those free of the genetic condition to have to support people who know that they will suffer from a condition, such as for example Huntingdon’s disease later in their lives.

Watch this student created
on the issues of storing
and comparing genetic
information stored in databases.

If you know from testing that you are at risk from a serious disease, do you have an equal right to life insurance as someone who does not carry this genetic condition?

In employment, some people might be denied a job because of their susceptibility to certain conditions that might necessitate absence. More worryingly, some people might be genetically more able to resist, for example, carcinogens in the workplace. It might be cheaper to employ these people, rather than install expensive health and safety measures designed to prevent them coming into contact with the substances.

Question: You run a small company that relies on all its staff working full time to survive. You have to make a key appointment to the managerial staff. The best candidate suffers from a genetic condition that will require her to have regular hospital treatment, needing time off. The second best candidate does not have this condition, and your colleagues think he would be a safe bet. Does this affect who you appoint?

  Burden of knowledge

What's your opinion?

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NOT RATED Jordan Ducklesworth 24-04-12 10:40
What a waste of 17 minutes.
27-04-15 10:56
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