Ethical and Moral Considerations in Personal Genetic Information Ethical and Moral Considerations in Personal Genetic Information Genome research has always been accompanied by ethical, moral and legal issues and a great deal of debate concerning its various aspects. Among the societal concerns raised include fairness of use, privacy and maintenance of confidential information, stigmatization, reproductive issues, clinical safety and feasibility, individual and environmental health concerns, commodification and the uncertainties accompanying genome technology. Such issues have divided opinion right through the middle and it is therefore imperative that critique and healthy discussion be encouraged alongside generation of more information.
Amongst these issues, personal genetic information seems to have received less attention in comparison to other aspects such as safety while a closer look reveals that it is equally important due to its potential implications if not addressed properly. This justifies a detailed inquiry into it with relation to its access, utilization, and impacts on individual and societal perceptions on revealed personal genetic information, potential differences in implications to minority communities and how this would take course and finally the emerging trends in personal genetic information issues.
A conclusion based on a personal opinion will then be arrived at. The guiding idea to this inquiry is that personal genetic information should be private and confidential to the individual. Personal Genetic Information Personal genetic information has been defined as the entire realm of genotype (molecular), phenotype (physical characteristics which are outcomes of genetic makeup) and family information (phenotypic inheritance). The general avenues of collection of personal genetic information follow these classifications whereby genetic information is obtained through analyses of DNA and proteins, phenotypic information is obtained through tissue tastes, imaging techniques and observation and lastly family information obtained through health practitioners collecting family clinical histories.
Genetic mapping and sequencing is a main source of this information. The most critical issues of personal genetic information arise due the present information age where such information is stored in genetic databases or biobanks from which concerns about access arise (Glasner and Rotham, 2004). Issues of Access and Use of Personal Genetic Information Elston, Olson and Palmer (2002) reckon that one of the central issues in the functionality of the physician-patient relationship is that the patient is assured that the information shared between the two parties is confidential and that the fact that genetic makeup is unique to each individual makes personal genetic information perhaps the most private information about that individual.
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