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The Pros and Cons of Genetic Testing

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In 2003, the Human Genome Project was completed. The project was an international research effort whose ultimate goal was to sequence the human genome and identify its genes. Upon completion, the Human Genome Project provided a complete sequence of the nearly 3 billion base pairs in the human genome. By essentially creating a blueprint of what makes a healthy human, we know what a normal, un-mutated genome looks like. That being said, genetic testing is now available to essentially anyone. While genetic testing may put us a great advantage scientifically, it could also be a set-back. Genetic testing is really helpful in medical circumstances but in situations where a person just wants to know what their genes say about them, it can cause unnecessary stress on a family and give families information they are not able to accept or interpret. A new and growing trend in the medical field right now is genetic testing. Testing began in the 1960’s when doctors realized they could test babies for diseases just hours after they were born. Back then that was all testing was used for. In 1984, DNA identification came into play and in 1987 testing was allowed in court as proof in trials. Only twenty years later in 2006, the FDA approved the use of home test kits and now in 2013 a person can have their whole genome sequenced for just $100. The person receiving the results simply sends out a swab sample from the inside of their cheek and in 6 weeks, they get an e-mail sent with all the information they ever need to know about their medical history. According to Gale Resources, “a genetic test examines the genetic information inside a person’s cells to determine if that person has or will develop a certain disease or could pass a disease on to... ... middle of paper ... ... Institute. National Institutes of Health, n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2013. Komen Foundation, Susan G. "Testing for BRCA1 & BRCA2 Mutations." Susan G. Komen®. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2013. Lea, Dale, MPH, Janet Williams, PhD, and Patricia Donahue, PhD. "Ethical Issues in Genetic Testing." MedScape. Web MD, 2005. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. Narins, Brigham. "Genetic Testing." The Gale Encyclopedia of Genetic Disorders. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2005. 526-35. Gale Resources. Web. 24 Oct. 2013. Rochman, Bonnie. "The DNA Dilemma: A Test That Could Change Your Life." Time. Time, 24 Dec. 2012. Web. 23 Oct. 2013. Tharu, Reeja. "Genetic Testing of Diseases." Health News RSS. Ed. Sunil Shroff. Med India, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. Welch, H. Gilbert., Lisa Schwartz, and Steve Woloshin. Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health. Boston, MA: Beacon, 2011. Print.