It’s been impossible to ignore the rise in direct-to-consumer and medical genetic testing over the past few years. And as the cost of whole genome sequencing falls – and the potential personal, health and financial value of genomic data rises – this trend is only likely to continue.
But do people really realise what they’re signing up for when they spit into a tube or squirt out a blood sample?
As we head into the next decade, ethical issues like informed consent and privacy for genomic testing and research are becoming impossible to ignore – especially as your genetic information doesn’t just belong to you but is also shared with your blood relatives.
When Jack Nunn started doing a PhD at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, looking at how to involve people in genomics research, the most obvious place to start was with his own family. But he could never have predicted the secret that would be revealed once they started looking into their genes.
We also speak with ethics research and genetic counsellor Anna Middleton, to find out more about the ethical issues around the fast-changing field of consumer and medical genomics.
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