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Mt Sinai J Med. 2008 May-Jun;75(3):287-96. doi: 10.1002/msj.20038.

Predictive genetic testing in minors for adult-onset genetic diseases.

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Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


This article analyses the ethical discussion of predictive genetic testing in minors for genetic conditions for which there is no phenotypic evidence for disease at the considered time of testing and for which there is currently no treatment available to prevent or forestall the development of the condition. After a presentation of the position of various professional guidelines, we discuss the position and arguments that have been advanced in a recent article that defends a position that is opposed to the professional recommendations. In the article, we discuss the position of voluntary choices and autonomous and informed decision-making in a context of open communication. Thereafter, we analyze the nonmedical benefits and harm related to this type of testing. Finally, we critically analyze 4 arguments: the potential provision of good news if a test is performed, the unbearability of knowing, identity and adjustment, and parental anxiety and uncertainty.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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