As In regards to DNA testing, there are some

            As we get to 2018 and look back at
the previous years, we see that science and technology has improved
dramatically. Phones, apps, etc. are becoming more advanced every year with new
touch-ups or add-ons at every release; while scientists and doctors are finding
new methods to treat diseases or using DNA test kits to find relatives that one
never knew that had. The main focus of this report is to explain DNA testing,
the pros and cons of DNA testing, and the ethical issues that come along with
it.

            Although DNA testing has been around
for some time, most of the company’s methods were not approved by the FDA until
roughly the last four to five years. In this modern time, with the most
advanced technologies being used for science, products like 23andMe, Ancestry,
etc. are able to give you results of your ancestry with certainty, close to
100% (“History of DNA Testing”). People can pay a certain amount of money
($80-$400) to get different tests done and to know the results of specific
tests that they ask for. This allows people to be able to find missing
relatives or to learn more about their background. There are also several
companies that do a “direct-to-consumer” genetic testing that are not approved
by the FDA and should be regulated. If they are regulated then they will have
to follow safety methods and procedures to ensure the protection of their
consumers. Unless stated in a contract, third parties who assist people for
genetic sequence do not have a role or right on the consumer’s information
results. This will be further discussed in ethical issues.

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            In regards to DNA testing, there are
some pros in conducting these tests and knowing the results. One of the largest
companies is AncestryDNA, in which they have conducted tests on at least 4
million people (TheDNAGeek). Inside the article of TheDNAGeek, they discussed
one of the pros of DNA testing since it gives us “the ability to link our DNA
results to a family tree” (TheDNAGeek). Though this is mainly useful for those
who do not know their biological parents or they want to find out more details
about their past relatives, this is the most common reason for DNA testing. To
continue, Ancestry mainly focuses and “seeks to help connect people to their
ancestors by conducting… family history research (Clancy). One of the
customers of Ancestry.com wrote a review, Ryan Brown discussed the pros of DNA
testing and with the DNA testing, he was happy since he was able to find
historical communities in his background (Brown). Lastly, conducting these
tests can give a sense of relief to families or become a catalyst in finding
early symptoms of certain diseases (Smith). Some family members have a historical
gene of cancer, and conducting these tests can allow those families to see if
they are showing any symptoms or the possibility of their kids getting the
genetic condition. Finding out these symptoms early on, can prevent the disease
or cancer to spread and for the people to be treated in time. Though these are
not the only pros of DNA testing, they are one of the main outcomes regarding
this topic.

On the other side of DNA testing, we have
the cons that come along with the tests. With DNA testing, it can give a false
sense of security to consumers since a “normal test result” does not directly
mean that you have healthy genes (Smith). Even though technology keeps
improving, it cannot determine everything that may happen in the future with
100% accuracy. These tests cannot provide everything and does have certain
limitations to what information it can find (Smith). Even though the DNA
testing may determine that you have a disease or cancer, unless you get more
information from a professional and a check-up, it does not mean that it is
true. Also, depending on these DNA tests, they may indicate that one has an
airborne disease, or something serious that may stay on your medical history. If
that is the case, there is a chance that companies or future employers may
obtain your medical history information and you could be denied employment
based on the test results (Smith).  The
consumers could have emotional and psychological stress if they find out that they
may have a certain disease, the costs of these tests are high, and lastly the
information given can be very limited (“12
Pros and Cons …”). To continue, before conducting these tests, people
may have thought that they were healthy and would live long, but it is possible
that these tests results change the way the consumer thinks. They can feel
stressed about having cancer or a disease that may transmit to their offspring.
They would have to change their views of creating a family and their decision
makings. As we finish the pros and cons of DNA tests, we go to the ethnic
issues in the U.S.

As DNA testing becomes more known in the
U.S. there are some ethical issues regarding it. Is it right to conduct these
DNA tests on humans without knowing possible side effects? These side effects
include but are not limited to knowing possible diseases or changing your
lifestyle based on these results. Unfortunately with these tests, they cannot
test an animals since humans may react differently. Even though it may be a
cotton swab that has your saliva, it may be possible that one person messes
with the DNA swab to change results of someone who is perfectly healthy. Also
is it ethical for children under 18 to undergo this DNA test because of their
parents’ forcing them to or giving their consent for their children? Since
children do not get a decision in what they want to do because they are under
aged (minors) so most of their parents or guardians would make the decisions
for them. If a company wanted to conduct a survey on DNA tests for kids younger
than 18 in which those who participate can get paid; parents may force their
kids to do it in order to get “free money” even though the kids do not want to.
 They have survey websites for kids to
earn cash and encourage parents to sign their kids up, websites like:
mysurvey123.com/kids-teens-paid-surveys-list/. Another rising question is
whether they should provide tests for prenatal babies. This conveys a big issue
that connects to abortion, when a parent finds out that their kid is mentally
ill through DNA testing. They may not want the child to suffer and believe that
abortion would be the best decision. But one main issue about that, is how many
months would the baby have to be in order to conduct these tests? Like
mentioned before, this connects to abortion but it will not be elaborated on as
it is not the main point of this paper. In addition to ethical issue, if the
FDA ensures that these methods are safe and gives their approval, I believe
that they do not have a right to control our DNA and the information regarding
these analyses unless it was clearly stated
in a contract. It should be clearly stated and verbally mentioned to the
consumer if they want to give consent to the FDA, or the company selling the
DNA kits, to use their information for research. With or without a contract, I
believe that consumers should have a choice to decide if they want to give
consent to the FDA or the company. Companies like Ancestry and 23andMe do ask
for permission but other companies do not, and therefore it would be better if
the FDA made it a requirement for companies ask for consent to use their
consumer’s information anonymously.

 DNA
testing is still relatively new and therefore many of the technologies used
cannot be expressed or understood well, here we discussed DNA testing, listed
out some pros and cons, and mentioned the ethical issues behind it. Overall,
DNA can lead to mysterious discoveries, but those discoveries may affect our
personal lives and the decisions we make for the future.

 

Works Cited

“12 Pros and Cons of Genetic Testing.” Bio
Explorer, 21 Oct. 2017, www.bioexplorer.net/pros-and-cons-genetic-testing.html/.

Brown, Ryan. “AncestryDNA Genetic Test Review.” TopTenReviews,
Purch, 4 Oct. 2017,
www.toptenreviews.com/services/home/best-dna-testing-kits/ancestry-com-review/.

Clancy, Kirsten. “Ancestry.com DNA Analysis Draws
Praise and Criticism.” The Daily Universe, 18 May 2015,
universe.byu.edu/2015/05/18/ancestry-com-draws-both-praise-and-criticism-for-new-products1/.

“History
of DNA Testing.” DNA Diagnostics Center, DDC,
dnacenter.com/history-dna-testing/.

Smith, Claudia. “News.” DNA Testing Choice, 19
Feb. 2016,
dnatestingchoice.com/en-us/news/2016-02-19-what-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-genetic-screening.

TheDNAGeek. “The Pros and Cons of the Main Autosomal
DNA Testing Companies.” The DNA Geek, 5 June 2017, thednageek.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-the-main-autosomal-dna-testing-companies/.