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Genetic Testing for Diseases There is more than enough ethical mud in genetics of 1998 to keep physicians lawyers scientists and bioethicists on guard A majority is unaware of the progress made in routine and exotic genetics and most are caught off guard by each new technology At the same time in the United States most scientists receive no more than a few hours training in ethics most physicians take no training in genetics and it was revealed in 1997 that less than 16 of those who received a prominent genetic tests for susceptibility to cancer were counseled about the choice The first time most families in the West learn about the practical issues in genetic testing is when a friend or relative needs a test urgently during pregnancy To make matters worse apart from bioethics conferences there is still virtually no common public or scientific international conversation about gene therapy reproductive rights or genetic patenting You might think it is a bad time to look ahead to the next century After all there is more than enough work to do now bioethics must be folded into the high school curriculum Genetics education must be required for every physician ethics training for every young scientist and reproductive issues training should be given to every minister and politician These are issues for today With our attention focused on the technology of the month in 1997 these included cloned sheep and monkeys babies from frozen eggs headless frog embryos a 63 year-old mother sperm from dead men and septuplets we seldom take the time to accomplish even these contemporary objectives Bioethics is growing quickly but it is unlikely to catch up with science In such a world it is difficult to spend time forecasting or critiquing future utopias However if the problems of today and the need to remember historical atrocities in genetics are important it is just as critical to plan ahead The next 100 years
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