Genetic testing is one of the most groundbreaking technologies of the modern age. The advent of human genome sequencing has expanded medical research and enabled services such as 23andMe to offer affordable and accessible snapshots of an individual’s genetic risks. Despite the newfound ease of testing, concerns about privacy and fears of discrimination have stopped many people from getting tested or participating in medical research. The laws currently in place to guard against genomic discrimination have glaring loopholes, and out of their own financial interest, health insurance providers and employers have argued for scaling back those protections. However, genetic testing’s potentially revolutionary effects on modern medicine and individual health are too great for the fear of genetic discrimination to stand in its way. The government, rather than scaling back protections, should work to expand genetic privacy rights to encourage the testing necessary to achieve the promises of personalized medicine.
Predictive genetic testing was first offered to the population on a broad scale in the 1990s, when breast cancer was found to correlate with a mutated BRCA1/2 gene. This specific discovery... see more