Genetics: Ethical and Legal Considerations in Genetic Testing

Identify the ethical and legal issues that may arise during the genetic counseling process and strategies to effectively address those issues.

: 1 hr

After completing this activity participants will be able to:

  • Describe the characteristics of genetic information that may complicate the associated ethical, legal, and psychosocial issues beyond those of routine medicine

  • Recognize applications of the 4 main biomedical ethical principles (autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice) in medical genetics

  • Demonstrate understanding of the role of federal, state, and tort law in managing the genetic counseling and testing process for patients

  • Identify potential common ethical and/or legal conflicts in managing the genetic testing process for patients and the strategies to avoid such conflicts

Professional Practice GapsIn an effort to define what healthcare providers need to know about medical genetics, several organizations developed core competencies (NCHPEG, 2000; ASHG, 2001). However, because clinical genetics is a relatively young and evolving field of medicine, many practitioners received insufficient formal genetics education. As a result, they express a lack of confidence in their clinical genetics knowledge and a lack of confidence in their ability to provide genetic counseling. References
Association of Professors of Human and Medical Genetics, American Society of Human Genetics. Medical school core curriculum in genetics. ASHG Website. December 2001. Available at: Accessed on: 2004-06-15.
Core competencies in genetics essential for all health-care professionals. National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics. 2000. Available at: Accessed on: 2004-09-21.