As we get to 2018 and look back atthe previous years, we see that science and technology has improveddramatically.
Phones, apps, etc. are becoming more advanced every year with newtouch-ups or add-ons at every release; while scientists and doctors are findingnew methods to treat diseases or using DNA test kits to find relatives that onenever knew that had. The main focus of this report is to explain DNA testing,the pros and cons of DNA testing, and the ethical issues that come along withit. Although DNA testing has been aroundfor some time, most of the company’s methods were not approved by the FDA untilroughly the last four to five years. In this modern time, with the mostadvanced technologies being used for science, products like 23andMe, Ancestry,etc. are able to give you results of your ancestry with certainty, close to100% (“History of DNA Testing”). People can pay a certain amount of money($80-$400) to get different tests done and to know the results of specifictests that they ask for. This allows people to be able to find missingrelatives or to learn more about their background.
There are also severalcompanies that do a “direct-to-consumer” genetic testing that are not approvedby the FDA and should be regulated. If they are regulated then they will haveto follow safety methods and procedures to ensure the protection of theirconsumers. Unless stated in a contract, third parties who assist people forgenetic sequence do not have a role or right on the consumer’s informationresults. This will be further discussed in ethical issues. In regards to DNA testing, there aresome pros in conducting these tests and knowing the results. One of the largestcompanies is AncestryDNA, in which they have conducted tests on at least 4million people (TheDNAGeek).
Inside the article of TheDNAGeek, they discussedone of the pros of DNA testing since it gives us “the ability to link our DNAresults to a family tree” (TheDNAGeek). Though this is mainly useful for thosewho do not know their biological parents or they want to find out more detailsabout their past relatives, this is the most common reason for DNA testing. Tocontinue, Ancestry mainly focuses and “seeks to help connect people to theirancestors by conducting… family history research (Clancy). One of thecustomers of Ancestry.
com wrote a review, Ryan Brown discussed the pros of DNAtesting and with the DNA testing, he was happy since he was able to findhistorical communities in his background (Brown). Lastly, conducting thesetests can give a sense of relief to families or become a catalyst in findingearly symptoms of certain diseases (Smith). Some family members have a historicalgene of cancer, and conducting these tests can allow those families to see ifthey are showing any symptoms or the possibility of their kids getting thegenetic condition. Finding out these symptoms early on, can prevent the diseaseor cancer to spread and for the people to be treated in time. Though these arenot the only pros of DNA testing, they are one of the main outcomes regardingthis topic.
On the other side of DNA testing, we havethe cons that come along with the tests. With DNA testing, it can give a falsesense of security to consumers since a “normal test result” does not directlymean that you have healthy genes (Smith). Even though technology keepsimproving, it cannot determine everything that may happen in the future with100% accuracy. These tests cannot provide everything and does have certainlimitations to what information it can find (Smith).
Even though the DNAtesting may determine that you have a disease or cancer, unless you get moreinformation from a professional and a check-up, it does not mean that it istrue. Also, depending on these DNA tests, they may indicate that one has anairborne disease, or something serious that may stay on your medical history. Ifthat is the case, there is a chance that companies or future employers mayobtain your medical history information and you could be denied employmentbased on the test results (Smith). Theconsumers could have emotional and psychological stress if they find out that theymay have a certain disease, the costs of these tests are high, and lastly theinformation given can be very limited (“12Pros and Cons …”). To continue, before conducting these tests, peoplemay have thought that they were healthy and would live long, but it is possiblethat these tests results change the way the consumer thinks. They can feelstressed about having cancer or a disease that may transmit to their offspring.
They would have to change their views of creating a family and their decisionmakings. As we finish the pros and cons of DNA tests, we go to the ethnicissues in the U.S.As DNA testing becomes more known in theU.S. there are some ethical issues regarding it.
Is it right to conduct theseDNA tests on humans without knowing possible side effects? These side effectsinclude but are not limited to knowing possible diseases or changing yourlifestyle based on these results. Unfortunately with these tests, they cannottest an animals since humans may react differently. Even though it may be acotton swab that has your saliva, it may be possible that one person messeswith the DNA swab to change results of someone who is perfectly healthy. Alsois it ethical for children under 18 to undergo this DNA test because of theirparents’ forcing them to or giving their consent for their children? Sincechildren do not get a decision in what they want to do because they are underaged (minors) so most of their parents or guardians would make the decisionsfor them. If a company wanted to conduct a survey on DNA tests for kids youngerthan 18 in which those who participate can get paid; parents may force theirkids to do it in order to get “free money” even though the kids do not want to. They have survey websites for kids toearn cash and encourage parents to sign their kids up, websites like:mysurvey123.com/kids-teens-paid-surveys-list/.
Another rising question iswhether they should provide tests for prenatal babies. This conveys a big issuethat connects to abortion, when a parent finds out that their kid is mentallyill through DNA testing. They may not want the child to suffer and believe thatabortion would be the best decision. But one main issue about that, is how manymonths would the baby have to be in order to conduct these tests? Likementioned before, this connects to abortion but it will not be elaborated on asit is not the main point of this paper. In addition to ethical issue, if theFDA ensures that these methods are safe and gives their approval, I believethat they do not have a right to control our DNA and the information regardingthese analyses unless it was clearly statedin a contract. It should be clearly stated and verbally mentioned to theconsumer if they want to give consent to the FDA, or the company selling theDNA kits, to use their information for research. With or without a contract, Ibelieve that consumers should have a choice to decide if they want to giveconsent to the FDA or the company.
Companies like Ancestry and 23andMe do askfor permission but other companies do not, and therefore it would be better ifthe FDA made it a requirement for companies ask for consent to use theirconsumer’s information anonymously. DNAtesting is still relatively new and therefore many of the technologies usedcannot be expressed or understood well, here we discussed DNA testing, listedout some pros and cons, and mentioned the ethical issues behind it. Overall,DNA can lead to mysterious discoveries, but those discoveries may affect ourpersonal lives and the decisions we make for the future.
Works Cited”12 Pros and Cons of Genetic Testing.” BioExplorer, 21 Oct. 2017, www.bioexplorer.
net/pros-and-cons-genetic-testing.html/.Brown, Ryan. “AncestryDNA Genetic Test Review.” TopTenReviews,Purch, 4 Oct. 2017,www.
toptenreviews.com/services/home/best-dna-testing-kits/ancestry-com-review/.Clancy, Kirsten. “Ancestry.com DNA Analysis DrawsPraise and Criticism.
” The Daily Universe, 18 May 2015,universe.byu.edu/2015/05/18/ancestry-com-draws-both-praise-and-criticism-for-new-products1/.”Historyof DNA Testing.
” DNA Diagnostics Center, DDC,dnacenter.com/history-dna-testing/.Smith, Claudia. “News.” DNA Testing Choice, 19Feb.
2016,dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/news/2016-02-19-what-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-genetic-screening.TheDNAGeek. “The Pros and Cons of the Main AutosomalDNA Testing Companies.” The DNA Geek, 5 June 2017, thednageek.