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Cesar Duenas

Melissa Schaefer
Anthropology 1020
Oct. 12, 2014
Genetic Testing
A question many people will soon start to
ask themselves is whether Genetic Testing
Ethically correct or not. The test can be used to
determine what illnesses a child is likely to have
and it could be determined before reproduction
even occurred. It can also be used to determine
what illnesses a person might have or is likely to get in the future. Possibly the biggest ethical
controversy behind it is whether or not specialists should be able to use it to alter the DNA
(Chapman 1). Genetic testing is getting to be a big controversy because it deals with new ideas
that humankind has never had to worry about before. The study also raises many conflicts like
whether it is ethically correct to do tests and if it is, where the line be drawn between what the
information is used for and how much the.
Genetic testing could be very relevant to biological anthropology if it became a common
practice because it could make a big change in present day society, culture and human lifestyle.
It would be a big factor to evolution because it could be used to control specific DNA. This
means people could use it to practically design their kids as they wanted. Technology is not
quite that far, but that is what some professionals in the field hope to achieve. If it becomes a
common practice it could change ethics and values that past and present societies have. It would
be a dramatic change to how society once looked at human life.

This topic being very important to human life and a possible source to many medical
breakthroughs has two very contradicting viewpoints. One being that Genetic Testing should be
used because it can be a vital source to saving lives. Two being that Genetic testing is ethically
wrong and even if it wasnt illnesses arent only passed on genetically so many of the diseases
people suffer from today would still be around. Most people that know about the topic seem to
have very strong opinions for or against Genetic Testing. The definition of ethics varies from
person to person. The challenge isnt only to figure out what is ethically correct or wrong with
it, but also to keep in mind how society could effect from it. Would it be positive or a negative
effect on society? Answering this question is the key factor to determining what our society
should use the new technology for.
Before doing any research on Genetic testing I knew very little about the issue. I
believed that it should be illegal because if it wasnt our society would emphasize perfection. It
is hard to know how people would react, but I imagine that physical characteristics could cause
even more discrimination than we deal with today. Another question I asked myself was how
kids with illnesses like Down syndrome would be looked at in the new culture. I can only
assume, but I would bet that many people would look down upon them and harshly criticize
them and their parents. It is hard to know exactly how people would react to it, but it is
something we should talk about before it turns into something we cant back out from.
Looking at viewpoint one and how people how people came to their opinions and beliefs
on the issue is important for understanding how they arrived with their conclusions. They
believe that it can be a vital source to saving lives. Once the genome is completely understood
by specialists it could tell exactly what illnesses and characteristics they will have. The test will
have the capability to tell a person what illnesses they are likely to have (chapman 1). The best

news a person could get is that their tests came back with no major illnesses to worry about in
their future. Not everyone will be that fortunate, but the goal is to give people peace of mind.
People with genomes that show possible illnesses will have more options and can possibly
prevent the illnesses beforehand. Breast Cancer is an example that cant be treated before it
shows up, but seeing that a woman has high possibilities of getting it would give her doctors a
heads up to look for it in regular checkups (Nelson 1).
Genetic Testing would primarily effect the people taking the test and it would be helpful
to either give them peace or to lead them to making important decisions. Other people that
would be effected would be close friends and relatives. They could be supportive and be helpful
to the person taking the test if illnesses showed up positive. They could also simply be relieved
if they tests came back showing no illnesses.
There are many illnesses that can be treated early and if done properly and it can prevent
a child from having the illness the rest of their life. One of these examples is autism. There are
few cases of children with autism that have been treated and resulted successful, but it is
necessary to diagnose them early. If it isnt diagnosed before 24 months it is not likely to be
curable (Wang 1). Cancer is another illness that isnt always preventable, but if the genome
shows high risk of cancer than it can help people be prepared. It would help them ovoid things
that cause cancer like smoking and tanning, but cancer is not always preventable. A person that
might show high risks of cancer can have regular visits with doctors to keep a close eye on it so
that when it did show up it could be treated early when its most easily cured (Moyer 1).
Without these tests it is hard to know whether someone is likely to have an illness and
determining them can help doctors make medicine and regular checkups more individualized.

It is hard to make this idea believable because it is such a new field, and there isnt very
many people who have done it and benefitted from it. The first part is understanding that
everything has to start somewhere. In order to have start to understand the DNA it is necessary
that the test in reliable. Genetic testing specialists say that it is more than 98% reliable and that
percentage will only go up as more studies are made (Mckibbin 1). It is only logical that the
more we study human genomes the more we will learn and the more cures doctors will be able to
find. Medical visits will be much more personalized because tests will be different for each
person depending on what their genome says. This will also lead to the use of personalized
medicine instead of genetic medicines.
Now, looking at viewpoint two and why people find it ethically wrong. If it were used to
alter the DNA the religious society would consider it as playing God (Chapman 1). Altering the
DNA could cause a society to emphasize perfection and that could bring all sorts of problems to
society. New questions and problems we have never had to deal with would appear. It would
also destroy many of todays morals and values. If we could eventually control characteristics of
a human being than we would make a society to would be very judgmental. Todays society is
very judgmental as is and if this became a common practice it would happen more so. To avoid
this from happening we must make it clear that it isnt only ethically wrong, but it would hurt
society more than it would help it.
If genetic testing werent stopped it would affect all of society and would bring all sorts
of problems like harsher criticism and much more abortion. Getting the test done isnt hard, its
what to do after you get the results (Mckibbin 1). Genetic Testing would affect all of the close
friends and relatives of the person taking the test because it could make them worry. If the test
was to show new illnesses that the person didnt even know about it would concern other family

members because they would have a chance of having it as well. The major concern for it is how
society would change. Technology is changing too fast for us process it and determine whether
it is ethically correct or not. If we dont look at the possible ways it can be harmful before we
begin to use it, it could be too late, especially later when society is dependent on it.
Genetic Testing may seem like it will help prevent all illnesses, but there are illnesses that
can come up depending on the environment and lifestyle. For example people who used tanning
beds increase their chances of getting cancer by 59% (Fellingham 1). Another example is
smoking, 18% of Americans are regular smokers and that is another lifestyle choice that can
cause cancer (Esterl 1). No matter how hard we try to eliminate illnesses and diseases they will
always be present. It isnt worth trying to make humankind perfect if it means going against
morals and values. The fact that it can harm society much more than it would help it is why it
should be illegal.
If I had to choose viewpoint that I would say is more persuasive to me I would say that the one
against genetic testing is because there seems to be more cons than pros. Also because I dont
think society is ready to deal with the ethical controversy genetic testing has to offer. If genetic
testing does become a common practice it will change society and would separate and criticize
individuals more harshly depending on how perfect an individual is. Genetic Testing would
apply to other anthropology fields if it becomes a common practice because it will change
evolutionary patterns and the way lives and religion is lived today.
I would say every person should have the right to know the information their genetic code holds.
I also am for using the testing to help find medical illnesses that could be treated. What I am
against is using the tests to alter the DNA in order to form what might be the perfect baby.

My original opinion changed due to the little knowledge I had about genetic testing before I did
the research. Now that I know that it can be helpful to saving a living persons life I am for
using it to test living people. I realize it will be very controversial to determine what information
will be told to the patient, but it will be critical for doctors to know so regular checkups can be
more personalized and eliminate random testing. This new discovery can be very beneficial to
society, but it can also be looked at as ethically wrong. The key is to determine whether it would
be more beneficial than harmful to our society and the answer to that question should determine
whether we make use it or not.

Works Cited
Chapman, Audrey R. "Genetic Engineering and Theology: Exploring the Interconnections."
Theology Today. April 2002 Vol. 59 No. 1: 71-89. SIRS Renaissance. Web. 14 Oct. 2014.
Esterl, Mike, Karishma Mehrotra, and Valerie Bauerlein. "America's Smokers: Still 40 Million
Strong." Wall Street Journal. 16 Jul. 2014: B.1. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 14 Oct.
Fellingham, Christine. "Teens Are Turning to Tanning Beds Despite Cancer Risk." CourierJournal. 06 Jul. 2014: E.1. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 14 Oct. 2014.
McKibbin, Martin, et al. "Current Understanding Of Genetics And Genetic Testing And
Information Needs And Preferences Of Adults With Inherited Retinal Disease."
European Journal Of Human Genetics 22.9 (2014): 1058-1062. Academic Search
Premier. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Moyer, Virginia A. "Risk Assessment, Genetic Counseling, And Genetic Testing For BRCARelated Cancer In Women: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation
Statement." Annals Of Internal Medicine 160.4 (2014): 271-282. Academic Search
Premier. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Nelson, Heidi D., et al. "Risk Assessment, Genetic Counseling, And Genetic Testing For BRCARelated Cancer In Women: A Systematic Review To Update The U.S. Preventive
Services Task Force Recommendation." Annals Of Internal Medicine 160.4 (2014): 255273. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
Wang, Sam. "How to Think About the Risk of Autism." New York Times. 30 Mar. 2014: SR.6.
SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 14 Oct. 2014.