In the recent few years, the field of genetic testing has risen both in popularity and prominence. Because of advances in research, medical technology and science now offer full genetic screenings to their patients. Using these screenings, we can achieve a variety of things, especially helping patients regarding any risk and also assist mothers in taking care of the health of their babies. As these kinds of screening tests have gained popularity, it is very important to understand some of the broad conversations that surround them. In this article, we will have a closer look at the pros and cons of genetic testing.
What Is Meant By Genetic Testing?
Before discussing the pros and cons of genetic testing, it may be helpful to know what is meant by it and how it is applied. All of the human beings around us have unique sequences of DNA; it also refers to chemical substances that provide instructions for the proper functioning of the body. On the other hand, genetic testing involves the analysis of the DNA, which can reveal mutations that can bring a higher cause of illness, deformity, or disease.
How to Gather Material for Genetic Testing?
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Material for testing can be typically achieved through
-Testing of blood
-Amniocentesis for women
-Swab of cheek
These days most of the genetic testing is conducted either in hospitals or any other kind of medical practice which allows them to collect their cheek swabs for testing purposes.
Pros of Genetic Testing
It has been observed that genetic testing is a powerful tool to gauge a patient’s risk for disease.
The rise in genetic testing is easy to understand for us now. It is a field that offers us numerous benefits to doctors as well as patients. From the perspective of personal health, it helps us to facilitate the early detection of diseases and other medical risks, allowing for prompt and proactive treatment. It has also been noticed that genetic ancestry tests also reveal underlying health risks that doctors are not able to detect as in cases of women for breast cancer. Some of the diseases that can be identified with genetic testing include celiac disease, obesity, and bipolar disease.
Genetic testing does not necessarily identify a specific disease but also find out the risk factors associated with it. Moreover, genetic testing can serve as a life-saving method for patients, and even it also empowers medical providers to pay heed to their treatment efforts. For example, it reveals the patient to have inherited risk of obesity and nutrition suggests preemptive recommendations related to diet and eating habits.
Therefore by detecting high-risk categories in babies, it can serve as prenatal providers to better plan for the pediatric care then a child will need at birth. So, sometimes life-saving techniques work best with the baby even when it is in the womb.
Genetic Testing Connects Relatives
It is seen that the process of genetic testing is involved in tracing the connection of individuals with their family lines. It does not just help to learn more about their heritage and ancestry; rather, it also provides a guide in forging new relations with relatives.
Recent studies by the American Psychological Association describe instances of people connecting with relatives. In other words, it is actively involved in cases including sperm donation or learning the identity of their biological fathers.
Promotes Selective Breeding in Animals and Plants
The process of genetic testing also helps the agricultural practice of selective breeding by pairing different types of seeds or mating various kinds of animals by keeping in mind the general characteristics. This entire process can result in higher yields and greater quality products. Some examples of selective breeding in plants and animals are as follows:
-Corn yields larger kernels and larger ears.
-Breeding turkeys grow faster and larger.
Cons of Genetic Testing
While there are some clear advantages to genetic testing, there exist several reasons for caution. It generally includes ethical concerns, health concerns, and even legal concerns regarding genetic tests.
Ethical Concerns Related to Genetic Testing
Ethical concerns related to the process of genetic testing fall along several lines. One of the major concerns is that it may impede on the individual freedom of the person. WHO also reports that some of the communities these days require couples to undergo certain kinds of genetic tests before marriage or before having children together.
If I talk about this process conversely, genetic testing also compels a mother to terminate the pregnancy even cause tension within the community or a family.
There exist complicated issues for physicians also. For example, if the process of genetic testing reveals that a person is at acute medical risk and needs medical treatment, then the individual does not have insurance or available funds to pay for the treatment. In this way, the providers may find themselves stuck between advocating for the physical well being of their patients or even for acknowledging disparate access to medical resources.
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Health Concerns Related to Genetic Testing:
The process of genetic testing comes up with few physical risks also. Blood tests and cheek swabs have no virtual risk until now at all. An exception comes up with amniocentesis that can probably increase the risk factors associated with miscarriage. This risk is potentially higher for testing that is done in earlier phases of pregnancy; after 15 weeks, this risk is slightly less than about 15 per cent.
No doubt, there are also many emotional and psychological concerns connected with genetic testing. Genetic testing also leads you to increased anxiety after the birth of children in complication cases.
Legal Concerns With Genetic Testing
Many legal concerns also come up with genetic testing that focuses on the potential for discrimination. It can also risk the prediction of illness or disease. It is further suggested that genetic testing should be done with confidentiality as a top priority.
These are the pros and cons of genetic testing, which means that you must consider all ethical, legal, and health concerns linked with it. It helps to save people’s lives and identify the illness and a way to treat them also. One needs to carefully study the pros and cons of genetic testing.