A scientist works with DNA samples in a New Orleans laboratory in 2011.
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
The rapid growth of genetic testing and data-gathering could revolutionize health and medicine if governments work to protect people against privacy and societal risks.
Is it in his genes?
New research offers insight into a thorny issue.
If we could test the genome of all Australians we could better target preventive health campaigns.
If you could take a test that would reveal the diseases you and your family might be more likely to get, would you want to do it?
Canadians are overwhelmingly opposed to insurance companies having access to their genetic test results. A new Canadian law prevents insurers from using genetic information to determine coverage or pricing.
Canadian insurance companies argue that a new law denying them access to genetic test results will raise the cost of insurance for everyone. That's doubtful.
Australia has a lack of regulation to prevent discrimination by life insurance companies based on genetic test results.
Life insurance applicants must disclose genetic test results if required by the insurer. While other countries have protected consumers from this, there is no such regulation in Australia.
Most people will be much better off putting the money spent on a genetic test towards a gym membership, or a pair of trainers.
Couples thinking about kids can be screened for genes that may cause disease in their offspring.
Redd Angelo, Unsplash
Most of us will be carriers of recessive genes that cause disease. If our partner carries the same gene we could pass it on to our kids. Testing exists, but what are the pros and cons?
If you were destined for dementia in your 60s, but there was nothing you could do about it, would you want to know?
A test of all your genes for disease risk is not yet the precision diagnostic and treatment tool we hope it will one day be.
Digitized strand of DNA.
Genetic testing is revealing important information about disease risks, and consumers can now pay for a test to know their risk. They might be better off if their doctors considered these risks, too.
Providing a sample for a genetic test might not actually give you the health answers you’re looking for.
Canadian Blood Services/flickr
Testing some genes for Alzheimer's disease, coeliac disease and folate conversion does not lead to improved health outcomes, and may create anxiety or false hope amongst patients.
There are some things we can’t protect our children from.
Dozens of factors are at play.
Not everyone’s choice of scarf.
Why can we choose some things and not others?
Personalised medicine allows treatment to be tailored to a patient’s unique genetic makeup.
The rise of personalised medicine, which is mainly based on genetic testing, needs adequate regulation so privacy rights aren't breached. That's only one of several issues that must be considered.
Who’s in charge once your biological material is out of your body?
Next-generation genomic research depends on study participants sharing their biological materials with scientists. But concerns over how that information is protected may hold some people back.
The cost-effectiveness and clinical utility of PGx tests is still uncertain.
Canadian Blood Services/Flickr
When you enter a Chemmart pharmacy, it's hard to miss the posters and brochures promoting its “revolutionary myDNA test”.
The most important lesson? Always read the small print.
Effects may vary.
Why does the same medication, at the same dose, work well for some people, but not for others? The answer is in our genes.
Tick tock, tick tock… You can’t hide from the molecular clock.
The molecular clock is helping us deepen our knowledge of evolution and completing the tree of life. But how does it actually work?
Australia’s Federal Court last year rejected Ms D'Arcy’s appeal and ruled companies could patent genes they isolated.
The High Court challenge is the last resort for Ms D'Arcy's test case against companies patenting human genes and has implications for patients, clinicians and researchers.
Finding the mutations.
Genomics is increasingly hailed by many as the turning point in modern medicine. Advances in technology now mean we’re able to make out the full DNA sequence of an organism and decipher its entire hereditary…