WG Analysis

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Over a decade since the human genome was sequenced, extension of genomics into healthcare is still somewhat in its infancy. Integration of whole genome sequencing (WGS) into current newborn screening is surrounded with a mass of both ethical implications and medical innovations with a conflicting balance of interests between scientific possibility and personal autonomy. The American Presidents Council of Bioethics reports however that ‘the underlying interests of scientific research are so great that WGS of newborns will be difficult to prevent’[1].
WGS offers the possibility of an age of personalised medicine. Following WGS analysis, current knowledge of variants could be used in creating a personal genomic database, providing clinicians
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Findings of serious consequence later in life may be found with no impact upon immediate health. A burdening knowledge of disease could harm the child’s psychological development[7]- potential risk cannot be unlearnt, violating what Feinberg calls ‘The Childs Right to an Open Future’[1]- the moral right not to have important life decisions set by others before the ability to do so exists[8]. However, conversely, some argue the interests of the child here are construed too narrowly and it is in the their best interest to grow up able to adapt to fating genetic knowledge[9].In ‘the language of life’ Francis Collins states ‘learning your DNA secrets is the best strategy to protecting your health and your life’[10]. Is the rarity of certain cancers in children for example, reason to wait until adulthood to reveal susceptibility, when countering lifestyle changes could be used from an early …show more content…
The benefits to society could be colossal with millions identified as carrying predispositions for preventable disease[12]. Also, in the broader spectrum, risks identified in newborns could reflect upon relatives and aid in reproductive choices, increasing utility[11]. Public beneficence is one of five ethical principles associated with human research. It supports research set to advance common good through economic opportunities- a factor that WGS somewhat indirectly satisfies and in extension WGS of newborns could satisfy- the US government invested $3.8 billion in the Human Genome Project and estimates generation of $796 billion in overall economic