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Human Genome Project / genetic discrimination based on testing for harmful genes - Essay Example

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Genetic discrimination is a form of discrimination especially by employers or insurance companies based on possession of perceived harmful genes that exposes a person to the risk of developing a chronic condition. Records of genetic tests are included in medical records…
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Human Genome Project / genetic discrimination based on testing for harmful genes
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Download file to see previous pages the Human Genome Project has recognized possibility of genetic discrimination and has suggested that results of genetic tests should not be used to make decisions on eligibility for insurance cover or employment. They have also suggested that third parties should not have access to that information except through written permission of the person who owns the test records.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 protect people against genetic discrimination. However, where employer and insurers have access to the records, there is no guarantee that people will not be discriminated against. For example, although discrimination based on gender and race is illegal, evidence shows that people or color face barriers to accessing employment and women face obstacles that prevent them from leadership positions. The same applies to people with disability. This means that making genetic discrimination illegal does not guarantee that employers and insurers will always comply (Schoonmaker and Williams 23). Genetic testing is likely to contribute to increased cases of discrimination for those in possession of the wrong gene.
Genetic testing is useful in some cases. For example, some people who carry the gene HLA-DPB1 have beryllium sensitivity and chronic beryllium disease. Genetic test can reveal this occupation hazard for the people with this gene in the workplace. However, in circumstances where the company wants to lay off workers, people with the gene may be the first to be laid off as their condition may be considered by the company as a liability. This suggests that genetic discrimination even where advantages of genetic test are obvious could still be used to victimize people (Maheu 12).
Another danger of genetic tests stems from American experience with eugenics. Eugenic movement was strong in America in the 19th century. It was even widely accepted in the academic community. The early proponents of eugenics were prominent scientists and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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