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2008 National DNA Day Online Chatroom Transcript

This is just one question from an archive of the National DNA Day Moderated Chat held in April 2008. The NHGRI Director and many genomics experts from across NHGRI took questions from students, teachers and the general public on topics ranging from basic genomic research, to the genetic basis of disease, to ethical questions about genetic privacy.

What are the pros and cons of getting genetic tests?
     Dale Lea, R.N., M.P.H., C.G.C., F.A.A.N.: Developing genetics, health education and community involvement programs and resources, and translating genetic and genomic information for the public. Deciding to have genetic testing is a personal decision. Genetic testing is offered for many reasons. Genetic testing can be used to diagnose a disorder such as Down syndrome. Genetic testing can help you learn if you are a carrier of a recessive gene mutation, such as cystic fibrosis. Genetic testing is offered during pregnancy to screen for disorders such as spina bifida and Down syndrome. Genetic testing is increasingly being used to find out if a certain medication and dose of medication is right for a patient. The pros of genetic testing include having information to make health and reproductive decisions. The cons of genetic testing include concerns about privacy of genetic information, and the potential for discrimination. Genetic professionals such as genetic counselors are available to talk with individuals and families in detail about the pros and cons of genetic testing so that they can decide if they want to pursue it.
Therizino (6th grade student)

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