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Concern for families and individuals in clinical genetics
  1. M Parker1,
  2. A Lucassen2
  1. 1Ethox Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
  2. 2Clinical Genetics Department, The Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M Parker, The Ethox Centre, Institute of Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7LF UK;


Clinical geneticists are increasingly confronted with ethical tensions between their responsibilities to individual patients and to other family members. This paper considers the ethical implications of a “familial” conception of the clinical genetics role. It argues that dogmatic adherence to either the familial or to the individualistic conception of clinical genetics has the potential to lead to significant harms and to fail to take important obligations seriously.

Geneticists are likely to continue to be required to make moral judgments in the resolution of such tensions and may find it useful to have access to ethics training and support.

  • clinical genetics
  • genetic counselling
  • genetic information

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  • * Also the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust, Oxford, UK

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