The Benefits and Burdens of Genetic Testing
Our guest in the Science Forum is geneticist and genetic counselor Mayana Zatz. She directs the Human Genome Research Center at the University of Sao Paolo.
Zatz has been working with patients with inherited disorders for nearly two decades. When it comes to genetic testing, Zatz advocates caution. Tests for some inherited disorders have helped people decide whether or not to have children. But in most cases, Zatz says genetic testing raises complex psychological and ethical issues.
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- Should children be tested for late-onset disorders like Huntington’s disease and cerebellar ataxia? Doing so could lead to a life of dread, as they wait for a disease for which there is no cure.
- Interpreting the results from a genetic test can be difficult, especially for complex diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s which are triggered by multiple factors, not just genetics.
Come join the conversation with Mayana Zatz. She’s taking your comments and questions through July 13th.
- Have you had your genes read? How did the results change your life?
- Should companies offering such tests be regulated?
- What kinds of medical benefits can we expect from genomics research in the coming years?
- Mayana Zatz was featured in a series on Global Voices of Science by Science magazine. Learn more about her work in Brazil from her essay, When Science is Not Enough: Fighting Genetic Disease in Brazil.
- If you speak/read Portugese, check out Mayana Zatz’s column in the Brazilian newspaper Veja.The U.S National Institutes of Health’s page on genetic testing.
- Why the F.D.A is cracking down on do-it-yourself genetic tests, from Newsweek.