Susceptibility Testing Apolipoprotein E

Susceptibility testing is another area that raises possible ethical issues for patients and clinicians. Recall that susceptibility implies that the genetic test does not provide the final answer regarding disease, but rather that additional factors are involved. For example, cardiovascular disease is a major source of morbidity and mortality. Polymorphic variants in the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) have been found to be associated with variations in blood levels of lipids, lipoproteins, and...

Mendelian Inheritance Intelligence Testing and American Eugenics

Galton's eugenic ideas found fertile ground in America after 1900, when scientists rediscovered Mendel's findings regarding the inheritance of physical traits in pea plants. Mendel's notions of dominant and recessive genetic traits, easily identified in lower organisms such as plants and animals, convinced people that human eugenic improvement was possible. Scientists assumed that even complex human traits such as intelligence and behavior behaved as simple genetic unit characters, such as...

The Future of Medicine

The idea of preventive medicine is not new, but until the completion of the Human Genome Project medicine did not have a way of accomplishing it for common medical problems. For example, for years almost every baby born in the United States has had its urine or blood screened early in life for phenylketonuria PKU , a rare genetic disease in which affected individuals cannot metabolize the amino acid phenyalanine, a common amino acid in our food. Untreated, PKU patients develop severe mental and...