David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Modern medicine emphasizes treatment of the sick. It is often said that the widespread genetic testing soon to follow the completion of the Human Genome Project will usher in a new era of preventive medicine. Such changes require new ways of thinking, however. For example, there may be nothing clinically wrong with a healthy patient who requests genetic testing, even if the tests reveal disease genes. Since all individuals have genetic skeletons in their closets, it is important to be careful not to confuse having disease genes with having the diseases that they cause. Unfortunately, many in the public have adopted a kind of genetic determinism that sees genes as destiny: for example, having the gene associated with colon cancer means they will develop colon cancer. Physicians tend to be more careful, yet even they are not immune to subtle versions of genetic determinism. One example of this is the uncritical categorization of certain diseases as “genetic”. In fact, an adequate concept of genetic disease is extremely difficult to come by. The simplest notion would require a 1:1 correspondence between a disease and its genes, but this is the exception rather than the rule. For example, cystic fibrosis (CF) is often put forward as a good example of a genetic disease, since it seems to result from mutations in a single gene, CFTR. Even in this case, however, the exact relationship between CFTR mutations and disease is not clear, as virtually every possible combination of sweat chloride test results, genetic test results, and symptoms has been observed. If a patient presents with the classic symptoms of CF and is found to have a mutation in the CFTR gene, the physician might understandably infer that the mutation caused the disease. But if an asymptomatic patient is tested and it is discovered that he or she has a CFTR mutation, it is unclear what this means. The doctor might tell the patient the gene is abnormal and that he or she is likely to develop pulmonary problems, etc., but it’s not really known whether even this qualified prognosis is true..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Ainsley Newson (2004). The Nature and Significance of Behavioural Genetic Information. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 25 (2):89-111.
Knut Borch-Johnsen, Jørgen H. Olsen & Thorkild I. A. Sørensen (1994). Genes and Family Environment in Familial Clustering of Cancer. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 15 (4).
Walter Glannon (2001). Genes and Future People: Philosophical Issues in Human Genetics. Westview Press.
Frances M. Alexakos (2003). Attitudes of Rhode Island Primary Care Physicians Toward the Use of Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer. Dissertation, Salve Regina University
Frances M. Alexakos, Attitudes of Rhode Island Primary Care Physicians Toward the Use of Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer.
Sean A. Valles (2010). The Mystery of the Mystery of Common Genetic Diseases. Biology and Philosophy 25 (2):183-201.
Barabara Biesecker (1998). Future Directions in Genetic Counseling: Practical and Ethical Considerations. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 8 (2):145-160.
Paula Boddington & Susan Hogben (2006). Working Up Policy: The Use of Specific Disease Exemplars in Formulating General Principles Governing Childhood Genetic Testing. [REVIEW] Health Care Analysis 14 (1):1-13.
Susan Lindee & Rebecca Mueller (2011). Is Cystic Fibrosis Genetic Medicine's Canary? Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 54 (3):316-331.
Robert Samuel Wachbroit (1998). The Question Not Asked: The Challenge of Pleiotropic Genetic Tests. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 8 (2):131-144.
Added to index2009-11-04
Total downloads34 ( #54,951 of 1,102,036 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #306,606 of 1,102,036 )
How can I increase my downloads?