Social And Ethical Issues

A number of general social, ethical, and legal problems are raised by the use of genetic testing in research, development, and clinical practice. These include the need to ensure informed consent for the use of DNA and genetic information (20), issues of confidentiality and privacy (15,21), the storage and use of personal genetic information by third parties, and the potential for discrimination and stigmatization (20,21). These have been extensively discussed by many authors and will not be covered in detail here. However, it must be stressed that they are of great public concern and have been a major focus of policy discussion in recent years, as shown by the reports of National Institutes of Health (NIH) Task Force on Genetic Testing in the United States (22) and the Human Genetics Commission in the United Kingdom (23).

In addition to these wider concerns about genetic testing, a number of social and ethical issues are raised by the applications described previously, which are specific to pharmacogenetics.

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