Issues/Genetic Testing term paper 5352

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At the start of the 20th century, genetic research was in its youth. Today, our society is in center stage of a genetic revolution. Rarely does a week go by without the media reporting the discovery of a gene that is believed to be accountable for some disease or some aspect of human behavior.

"Genetic tests use a variety of laboratory techniques to determine if a person has a genetic condition or disease or is likely to get the disease. Individuals may wish to be tested if there is a family history of one specific disease; they show symptoms of a genetic disorder; or if they are concerned about passing on a genetic problem to their children. Genetic tests include techniques to examine genes or markers near the genes. A technique called linkage analysis, or indirect testing, is used when the gene cannot be directly identified but can be located within a specific region of a chromosome" (ELSI).

Genetic testing is an elaborate procedure, and the results rely heavily on laboratory measures and precise rendition of results. Rendering test results is often complicated, even for qualified physicians. One must be aware of the probability of a false positive or false negative test result when interpreting the results of any genetic test. "Both types of errors can occur in tests. If a genetic test fails to detect the specific form of gene when it is actually present, the test result is called a "˜false negative'. On the other hand, test results that indicate a person has or will become affected by the disease when they do not have it are called "˜false positives'" (ELSI).

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