American Parents Submit Kids To DNA Testing

A Single Nucleotide Polymorphism is a change of a nucleotide at a single base-pair location on DNA. Author: David Hall (CC)

A Single Nucleotide Polymorphism is a change of a nucleotide at a single base-pair location on DNA. Author: David Hall (CC)

Call me old-fashioned, but voluntarily submitting your children’s DNA for inclusion in a database seems foolhardy to me. Just how secure is that database? Is Gattica really so far in the future once this becomes the norm? From BBC News:

Parents believe the benefits of testing their children for the genetic risk of some diseases outweigh the negative consequences, according to US scientists.

In the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, parents who were offered a genetic test supported their children also being tested.

The authors say doctors and politicians need to be more aware of the issue. Genewatch UK said children should never be tested for adult conditions.

Genetic testing used to be confined to specialist clinics, but direct-to-consumer testing is now possible. People send a sample to a company in the post and are told if they have any genes which carry an increased risk of illness.

In this study, 219 parents were tested for 15 genetic variants linked to heart disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and colon, skin and lung cancer.

They were then asked a series of questions to compare benefits such as reassurance, knowledge and prevention, with risks such as invasion of privacy and psychological discomfort.

The report found that “parents offered the genetic susceptibility test for common preventable conditions tended to consider that the potential benefits of this test for their own child could outweigh its risks”…

[continues at BBC News]

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10 Responses to American Parents Submit Kids To DNA Testing

  1. VoxMagi April 18, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Hard to say where to draw the line…but if a family member has already manifested a serious illness with genetic ties…its probably a smart move to get a kids DNA tested early on. I’m sure I like the database concept…but as a purely voluntary choice for people with a future at risk from disease that can be treated and recognized early…who the hell am I to say that they should just fly blind, wing it and hope for the best?

  2. VoxMagi April 18, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    Hard to say where to draw the line…but if a family member has already manifested a serious illness with genetic ties…its probably a smart move to get a kids DNA tested early on. I’m sure I like the database concept…but as a purely voluntary choice for people with a future at risk from disease that can be treated and recognized early…who the hell am I to say that they should just fly blind, wing it and hope for the best?

    • Haystack April 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

      I’d be surprised if informing parents that their kid has a genetic predisposition to lung cancer or heart disease actually changes the outcome much. What can they really do about in, in practice, other than what they’re already supposed to be doing–raising them to be healthy? On the other hand, we know exactly what the insurance companies will do with that info.

      • VoxMagi April 18, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

        In no small number of diseases, even the incurable progressive ones, early treatment can prevent the onset of the most debilitating symptoms and adds years or even decades to a persons lifespan.

        I agree that a boot has to kept on the necks of insurers…they’re crooked, amoral, psychotic fucks in human shaped suits…but the benefits of early recognition and detection as well as advanced opportunities for treatment definitely weigh in as pretty heavy factors that can’t be brushed off as inconsequential…especially for people with diseases that may be more treatable in the earliest stages.

  3. Haystack April 18, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

    I’d be surprised if informing parents that their kid has a genetic predisposition to lung cancer or heart disease actually changes the outcome much. What can they really do about in, in practice, other than what they’re already supposed to be doing–raising them to be healthy? On the other hand, we know exactly what the insurance companies will do with that info.

  4. VoxMagi April 19, 2011 at 12:49 am #

    In no small number of diseases, even the incurable progressive ones, early treatment can prevent the onset of the most debilitating symptoms and adds years or even decades to a persons lifespan.

    I agree that a boot has to kept on the necks of insurers…they’re crooked, amoral, psychotic fucks in human shaped suits…but the benefits of early recognition and detection as well as advanced opportunities for treatment definitely weigh in as pretty heavy factors that can’t be brushed off as inconsequential…especially for people with diseases that may be more treatable in the earliest stages.

  5. Bud Bundy April 19, 2011 at 3:39 am #

    “Of course DNA testing should be made available to insurance companies! If we aren’t doing anything wrong, we have nothing to worry about!”

    Queue people with a higher risk for cancer being denied coverage.

    • Synapse April 20, 2011 at 10:15 am #

      With newer legislation like the obama healthcare, that actually won’t be an issue anymore.

  6. Bud Bundy April 19, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    “Of course DNA testing should be made available to insurance companies! If we aren’t doing anything wrong, we have nothing to worry about!”

    Queue people with a higher risk for cancer being denied coverage.

  7. Synapse April 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    With newer legislation like the obama healthcare, that actually won’t be an issue anymore.

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