Genetic tests for all

Genetic tests that can detect a raised risk of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer are being offered for the first time to people without family histories of the diseases, The Times has learnt.

The programme, run by University College London (UCL), paves the way for a new approach to preventive medicine involving widespread screening. It will also prompt greater demand for screening of embryos by parents who carry a defective gene and want to avoid passing it to their children.

Yes, an advance. However, desperate cynic that I am, what happens next? Well, of course, a genetic test is umm, sometimes called something else. A DNA test. And if the NHS is going to pay for these they\’ll want to store them all on a central database, won\’t they? You know, on the NHS Spine. And, err, do the police have access to The Spine?

I think they might you know. And thus, voila, a DNA database of the entire population.

But I am paranoid, aren\’t I?

10 thoughts on “Genetic tests for all”

  1. I bow to no-one in being paranoid, but this is different science, different technology. Unlikely that even the Gnomes of the Home Office have any ideas along these lines.

  2. Perhaps the paranoid might explain how enzymes designed to slice DNA around brca1 will magically slice DNA around the genes at the 9 different loci for the NDNAD?

    Do any of you have the faintest idea how DNA fingerprinting works? Or do you think that a complete DNA sequencing is done on every sample, in the style of the GATTACA movie?

  3. Is is possible that the costs associated with the genetic screening might be less than the expected savings to the NHS if people who know they have a raised genetic risk of certain diseases *might* modify their lifestyles to avoid exacerbating that risk, hence not need treatment for that disease from the NHS down the line?

    As for screening embryos – why on earth not? Unless one feels ‘you take what’s given’ in that genetic card game?

    The only problem I see is if the insurance companies get hold of the information – but that industry is due for an overhaul anyway.

  4. There should be a DNA database of everyone. It would be a fantastic research tool. However, names would need to be known in case defective genes were detected re a treatable disease or for potential embryo screening. Dammit, I was always a bit of a eugenecist at heart, since so many genetic diseases are very distressing. The problem as ever would by it being accessed by the ‘wrong’ people. Insurance companies spring to mind. This was a major argument against genetic screening. Not so sure about Plod though.

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