What is the importance of pro genetic testing? Genetic testing involves the diagnosis of any malfunction or diseases in the genes that may arise as a result of inheritance. Bio chemical tests are also conducted in the body to establish the possibility of having inherited disorders. Human being have with them some inherited genes from their parents, a genetic test can reveal any disorders carried forwards from the parents to the child.
Genetic testing is still stranded with controversy as it raises a number of ethical and legal issues that require some consideration but nevertheless its discovery has led to many positive changes that cannot be ignored. (Griffith AJ.2000) It draws a lot of questions that need to be addressed such as whether pregnant women should know of the status of their baby. This test would help them in detecting those with malformed body organs or not. Various researches conducted in the recent past and to be specific those that that have been done on Human Genome Project have added an insight on to the genetic processes, something that has led to effectiveness in the treatments of diseases.
I think people should be properly trained and educated so that they could be able to draw a line between perception and reality. Some people have a misconception that when they test a positive gene related to a specific diseases that it means that they will contract that kind of a disease but this is not the case, the truth is that there is high probability that a disease of that kind might develop at a later date. (Mobley N.A)
This prior knowledge of probability of a disease to develop later is a milestone in the fight against diseases. Women who are pregnant can decide whether to have or not to have children with defects and this is made possible by the invention of pro Genetic testing. Through pro genetic testing it is possible to identify those that might be mentally retarded and deal and other conditions that might result to certain diseases.
It is also easier to detect t the first stages of the Alzheimer disease something that is making people to shape their destinies they way they would like them to be as it could be treated before it would fully establish itself.
The decision to have a pregnancy be terminated lies with the mother but is not forced to make a decision against her will so pro-genetic testing should not be criticized at any cost. It is not done on individuals without their consent so it is ones right to have it done or not. Yes it hard to decide to terminate a pregnancy or not but in some circumstances it is just important to do so, figure out a case of mother giving birth to a completely disabled child knowingly and then taking care of it for the rest of its life; consider the care needed, finance needed for the upkeep and yet the child will never be of any benefit to the society.
In a poll that was conducted in America in 2006 regarding to the pre natal examinations, they assented that any woman who is aware that she is carrying a fetus with very serious defects should be allowed make her own decision concerning that baby without any political interference. (The National Health Museum)
To prevent women using this as an excuse to abort unwanted pregnancies, some states have properly laid rules that must be followed in order to determine between a genuine and fake case.
Genetic testing should not be seen as something that is not acceptable for it helps doctors to detect or to pinpoint some genes that might be defective and this makes it possible to know the kind of treatment that patient should receive after using various body fluids such as blood sample and Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA). Also other tissues from one’s skin bone or from other parts could be used. This testing when done to pregnant women can determine the sex the child before it is born and it also helps to establish whether the woman will encounter any difficulty while giving birth and if she will not have a natural birth, then she would be prepared in advance for a cesarean section birth.
Another good reason why pro genetic tests should be done is that it is helpful to couples that are planning to start a family. Through these tests it has established that some people are carriers of some hereditary diseases and yet they are not aware of that because some genetically related illnesses are recessive.
In other words it is only possible to know somebody is suffering from a particular diseases if they possess two or more problematic genes. People who have only one problem gene that combines with another normal gene then, they have no high probability of them becoming sick though their children will have fifty percent chances of becoming affected. Safe in this knowledge, no couple can go ahead and start a family especially if there is a possibility that their genes will produce something negative to their expectations or they themselves get sick.
This genetic inherited problem mostly affects members of the same family or relatives. So pro genetic testing helps to prevent some misfortunes that might arise later in life. It is better to be safe than sorry and a classic example of this case is of a farmer in Georgia who gave birth to a very beautiful son but five years later, this child who was very healthy developed some complications. His physical and mental growth became retarded; he became almost incapacitated and could hardly walk, ate practically nothing and spent about twenty-two hours in bed sleeping.
This problem could have been solved in advance because after a series of tests were done on this child that, it was diagnosed with what is referred to as the biotinidase deficiency a genetic disease that is both curable and treatable. Thus if pro genetic tests were done prior to this birth then the unexpected could not have resulted and this family could have remained as happy as it was before.
Now the questions arise, would you sit down and wait for a problem like this to happen knowing very well that there is something that could be done to prevent it? It is sad to hear that you have cancer but not as sad as being told that if your cancer was identified earlier, then it could have been avoided. From the standpoint of a sick patient, would you go for pro genetic tests or not? This is a question everybody who is concerned with his or her health should ask himself or herself. (Harmon A. 2008)
It is true that some of the cancers are hereditary but this does not mean that they are untreatable. They mostly arise if a person possesses a defective gene that might have been passed to them by their parents and since these genes multiply in the whole system then, they are capable of transmitting the same to their children. These cancers could be treated if they are detected at an earlier stage with the exception of cystic fibrosis.
“ For example women who carry BRCA1 gene… have as much as an 85 percent risk of developing breast cancer and a 65 percent for ovarian cancer they also have an increased risk of developing secondary cancers after they get breast or ovarian cancer and generally develop cancer at an earlier age than non others” (Zagorski N. 2005)
This problem is solved through mammography surveillance that should start at an age of 25 and this could only be made possible if pro genetic tests are done.
There are some shortcomings that are associated with these tests and one of them is that they are very costly. Mostly they range from hundred US dollars to two thousand US dollars and this is dependent on the complexity of the problem so, not everybody can afford it. Though it is possible to detect problematic genes, some of them are not treatable. It is impossible to detect the magnitude of the harm that would be caused by them, for example the cystic fibrosis. Some tests that are done on pregnant women to know the status of the unborn baby may result to miscarriage, these tests however good they might be, carry with them social, emotional and financial consequences.
In conclusion, we can say that pro genetic testing has a lot of advantages for example it can be used to detect problematic genes, organs that may be affected by cancer and the sex of unborn baby. It is also used to monitor the growth of unborn baby and how different organs are developing. Many of those tested later feel angry, depressed or could not just accept that those were results and this might even result to an earlier death. Pro genetic tests could also lead to family break ups as they expose some family weaknesses or secrets and this may even be extended to the working places where people get fired because of genetic problems and in return they are denied to purchase their health insurance.
Griffith AJ. Et al. An Introduction to Genetic Analysis. Freeman and Company, New York. 2000: 45-52.
February 2008. Retrieved on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/24/health/24dna.html?_r=2&scp=5&sq=Geneti c&st=nyt&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
Hartl D. and Jones E. Genetics: Analysis of Genes and Genomes. 6th ed. Jones and Bartlett. 2005: 112-117.
Harmon A. Insurance fears Lead Many To Shun DNA. The New York Times, 24Th
Mobley N.A. Caught in The Cradle: Call For Newborn Genetic Screening
The National Health Museum. Understanding Gene Testing: What are the Uses of Genetic Testing? Accessed at http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/AEPC/NIH/gene10.html
On March 26, 2008.
Weiling F. Historical study: American Journal of Medical Genetics. Johann Gregor Mendel 1822–1884″. 40 (1): 1–25
Zagorska N. Genetic Testing for Cancer: Pros and Cons. 2005
Accessed At http://www.cancer.gov/newscenter/benchmarks-vol5- issue1/page2