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Ethical Issues In Genetic Testing Essay

1317 words - 5 pages

Genetically, individuals are 99.9% similar to each other and the other .1% is what makes us unique and different from one another. Humans carry proteins needed for survival and are used for metabolization, fighting infections, and behavior factors. Our cells have 46 strands of DNA which encompasses millions of particles known as a nucleotides ( A,C,T, G). A gene is an important sequence of nucleotides that encodes proteins. The order of these four nucleotides are essential for our life survival. A small change in one letter can cause critical damage to a individual. As technology has evolved, scientists are now able to crack genetic code and have been able to discover the complete set of human genes. Genetic testing is a medical test that reads out the genetic material contained within the cell which can be used to identify any alterations of chromosomes, genes or proteins. RNA is also included for the search of certain conditions by using this technique. The purpose for such testing is for detection of genetic disorders in unborn babies and determining if a patient is susceptible of being a carrier of a condition or disease. It's also a handy tool for physcians, allowing them to better diagnose and treat patients. Another use is for screening newborn infants for abnormalities that can cause a condition or severe life-threatening. Some people have used this technique to determine parenting and ancestral lineage. Samples of DNA or RNA are taken from blood, saliva, tissue, skin, or amniotic fluid depending on the type of test being performed. Performing this test can help to identified any changes such as a missing gene, or an additional gene within the DNA strand. In some cases, the gene is turned off, lost completely, or has too many copies.

One type of genetic test used for adults it is pharmacogenetic testing. This technique evaluates a person's gene to understand if a drug treatment will work on a patient. One example of pharmacogenetic testing is the case of Tom Gaspestad, a 50-year-old building contractor who was diagnosed with melanoma. By the time he was diagnosed, the cancer had spread all over his body. Doctors determined he only had a couple of months of life left. Normally, a patient with metastatic melanoma has a life expectancy of nine months, but Gaspestad's case was different. On Gaspestad's case, he used the genetic technique to look specially for a gene that could inhibit the melanoma. Luckily for Gaspestad he had the required gene which in turn, gave him more time to live. Although the cancer has returned in other places, he was grateful to still be alive. Genetic treatment worked for Gaspestad, but not all cases of melanoma will be the same.
Preimplantation testing is another genetic test used for screening before implanting a fertilized egg into the uterus. In-vitro fertilization is a technique used to procreated by removing the egg cells from a women, and fertilizing with sperm in the laboratory. Newborn...

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