NHS genetic tests reveal up to one in ten do not have the father they think.



NHS genetic tests reveal that one in ten do not have the father they think.

A health chief has warned that genetic tests raised some difficult questions for the NHS.

At this moment in time, a patient is not told if genetic tests in families show a case of paternal discrepancy. Because it was simply an incidental finding of the procedure.

But within 10 years whole genome sequencing is set to become available to the whole population. Ian Cummings the Head of Health Education in England believes it is an ethical quandary that needs solving. If the whole population is genome sequenced should we tell people that is not your dad or should the information be kept within the health service?

Doctors would also be able to warn patients if they have a genetically increased risk of developing illnesses such as breast cancer. And that also raises the ethical question about when and whether to inform a patient. Would you tell their parents when a baby is born or do you tell them at 12, 14, 16, 18? Would people want to know?

There is a lot of complexity around the ethics of this.

Would you want to be informed if you were genetically at increased risk of developing a serious illness in the future?



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