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Direct to consumer genetic testing and the libertarian right to test
  1. Michele Loi
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michele Loi, ETH Zürich, Department of Biology, Institute of Molecular Systems Biology; loi{at}imsb.biol.ethz.ch

Abstract

I sketch a libertarian argument for the right to test in the context of ‘direct to consumer’ (DTC) genetic testing. A libertarian right to genetic tests, as defined here, relies on the idea of a moral right to self-ownership. I show how a libertarian right to test can be inferred from this general libertarian premise, at least as a prima facie right, shifting the burden of justification on regulators. I distinguish this distinctively libertarian position from some arguments based on considerations of utility or autonomy, which are sometimes labelled ‘libertarian’ because they oppose a tight regulation of the direct to consumer genetic testing sector. If one takes the libertarian right to test as a starting point, the whole discussion concerning autonomy and personal utility may be sidestepped. Finally, I briefly consider some considerations that justify the regulation of the DTC genetic testing market, compatible with the recognition of a prima facie right to test.

  • Predictive Genetic Testing
  • Ownership
  • Political Philosophy
  • Genetic Screening/Testing
  • Rights

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