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Genetic Privacy

Genetic Privacy
Genetic information is unique. It tells not only about an individual, but also about an individual’s family. Unlike medical information, genetic information does not change over time. Genetic information is more than health information; it also reveals our heritage and connections to relatives and communities. Where does genetic information belong in our scale of respect for and protection of personal privacy? What level of privacy restrictions, if any, should be put on genetic information? Some genetic information, such as the color of our hair and skin, is obvious and cannot be kept secret. But what about that genetic information which is less apparent to others, such as our risk for developing a health disorder late in life? Who should be able to have access to this information? Privacy rules set limits on who can access genetic information, and how they may do so. The concept of genetic privacy is split into three primary elements: genetic information as private, confidentiality of genetic information, and the possible use of genetic information to discriminate against individuals or groups. The reason why I am dividing genetic privacy into these three elements is because they are the key essentials that can be debated for or against privacy. In this paper, I will discuss the debates for and against genetic privacy. I will present my position on these debates providing my argument against genetic privacy, respond with how someone may reply to the position advocated, and finally conclude with my belief that setting restrictions on genetic privacy is very difficult and impossible with the issue of discrimination while still taking into consideration of the other side of the argument.
Genetic information being kept private can be seen as possible or impossible. Without federal laws to protect the privacy of patients and the confidentiality of medical records, efforts to reform the nation’s health care s…

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