Welcome to Illinois

Genetic complications

Posted in Genetics, Screening by Matt at WelcometoIllinois on November 10, 2008

There’s an excellent editorial in the Ottawa Citizen about the complications involved in dealing with the results of a pre-natal screening test.

I’m tempted to include the entire report as it is not long and should probably be read in its entirety but I’ll settle for a link and an excerpt:

“Knowledge is usually an asset, though it can at times be a burden. And in some cases, as expectant parents with access to new prenatal tests have discovered, it can be both.

Doctors can now screen fetuses for up to 200 genetic abnormalities, but the test results can be ambiguous. Sometimes they reveal that a fetus has a genetic glitch. How serious is the glitch?
Unfortunately, the tests can’t always say with any specificity.

A test may uncover a genetic variation that is associated with a disease. What are the odds that the child will have the disease? How severe will it be if the child does? Will it cause physical problems, intellectual problems or both? Will it affect the child’s lifespan? All good questions, but the answers are unknown.”

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