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J Genet Couns. 2009 Apr;18(2):114-8. doi: 10.1007/s10897-008-9209-5. Epub 2009 Feb 21.

Can population-based carrier screening be left to the community?

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Dept of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel.


As more genes and mutations are identified in diseases for which particular populations are at increased risk, it is becoming more important to address the social interface between communities and carrier screening. While disproportionately targeted in genetic research, the Orthodox Jewish community often shies away, due to social and religious constraints, from genetic testing and counseling offered by the public health system. The solution is provided by Dor Yeshorim--a program which has become for many a prototype for the successful merging of modern reprogenetic screening and traditional communities. My commentary focuses on the gaps between the rationale and practice of Dor Yeshorim, and the implications of these gaps regarding the trade-off involved in leaving carrier screening to the community. I conclude with a set of questions raised by the implications of the unintended consequences of community genetics.

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