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Ethical issues in predictive genetic testing: a public health perspective


As a result of the increase in genetic testing and the fear of discrimination by insurance companies, employers, and society as a result of genetic testing, the disciplines of ethics, public health, and genetics have converged. Whether relatives of someone with a positive predictive genetic test should be notified of the results and risks is a matter urgently in need of debate. Such a debate must encompass the moral and ethical obligations of the diagnosing physician and the patient. The decision to inform or not will vary depending on what moral theory is used. Utilising the utilitarian and libertarian theories produces different outcomes. The principles of justice and non-maleficence will also play an important role in the decision.

  • ADPKD, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease
  • HIPAA, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
  • NTD, neural tube defects
  • genetics
  • public health
  • primary care

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