Commercial Gene Testing: The Need for Professional and Public Debate
British Journal of Nursing. 1997 Oct 9-22; 6(18): 1043-1047.
Commercial gene tests are currently available in the UK and the range of tests offered is likely to increase. While knowing their genetic status may bring benefits to individuals and their families, genetic testing also brings its own unique problems. Commercial ventures may do little to resolve these and adequate safeguards are needed to ensure that clients undergoing testing are not disadvantaged. The availability of gene tests can only serve to heighten public awareness of the relevance of genetics to health care, and there is likely to be an increased demand for information and advice from healthcare professionals before, and following, testing. Nurses should be prepared to acquire adequate knowledge to maintain their role as health educators, and to participate in public and professional debate on the issues that commercial testing highlights.
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