Monday, September 17, 2018

Is Genetic Testing a Good Thing?

The New York Times article, “Employees Jump at Genetic Testing. Is That a Good Thing?” explains that the Levi Strauss & Company began offering free genetic screening through Color Genomics to their employees. The company claimed to offer it to 1,100 of their employees, and about half of them agreed to the testing to find out if they had any genetic diseases. Doctors usually suggest genetic screening to high-risk patients, or patients whose family members have had diseases that can be detected. Now, however, they are arguing that that testing the public for genetic diseases could cause harm because people who doesn’t have a disease in their family could have some mutations that lead to diseases in other people but won’t in them. Screening the public for different mutations could cause false alarms more often and could lead to drastic outcomes and unnecessary medical procedures for the patient. Experts also warn against these screenings based on fear that people will use these tests to substitute visiting a physician for their concerns.
I agree with the physicians and other experts. If people don’t have a reason to be genetically tested, then the tests will either show that they are healthy or will cause anxiety and cause them to stress about what was found. Genetic screening could obviously prove successful for high risk patients, but those regarded as low risk patients, or patients without a family history of the disease, could have multiple mutations that will not actually cause harm. There are many mutations that occur in our DNA that don’t affect anything in our bodies, but the genetic screening will still detect them and could cause people to freak out for no reason. In my opinion, I think people should be able to use the genetic screening if they choose to but should also see a physician to go over their results. This way they can find out if they are at risk, and then can also discuss what the next step should be with a professional.



  1. I found this article extremely interesting because I knew that there were some advancements in genetic screening for those who were high risk, but I didn't know those who had little to no risk could just as easily get tested too. On the one hand I agree that there really is no reason to give these low risk patients a reason to get worked up over something that has very little probability to amount to anything, but on the other hand I agree to your point that if these people really want to get screened that is there personal decision. They should be able to do so, and then follow up with their physician like you suggested to take the next steps if necessary.

  2. While I agree that there is a potential for people to overreact to results, I think its a great opportunity for people to gain a more intimate knowledge of themselves. I do agree that a follow up with a doctor for a sort of "debriefing" would be wise. I am a bit concerned that employers may end up forcing employees to be tested in the future. After all, they can force us to get drug screenings and general medical exams. If they did have the right to demand genetic testing, its very possible that people could be discriminated against due to a possible increased risk for an illness they may never get.

  3. Many great points as to why people should or should not get genetically tested were pointed out in the article. I one hundred percent agree that only patients who are at high risk for diseases should be tested because you don't want to add unwanted stress to your life if it is not necessary. If someone does choose to get tested I agree that a follow up with a doctor is needed to receive extra care if needed. The follow up with give patients some ease because the doctors will be able to do extra testing and follow ups to make everything go smoother.

  4. Excellent information on your blog, Thanks for sharing this great article. Great information thanks a lot for the detailed article. That is very interesting I love reading and I am always searching for informative information like this.
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