The Human Genome Project (HGP) was completed in the year 2003 and has provided results of identifying over 20,000 genes in the human DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), identifying the chemical base pairs in DNA, and providing new tests to help detect early diseases, such as cancer. (U.S. Department of Energy) In order to provide new tests to detect the early onset of genetic diseases, the mapping of entire genomes of individuals is a future possibility in the medical field. Given the opportunity, I would personally map my genetic make-up in order to find any genes in my DNA that are linked to genetic diseases for one major reason, early prevention.
Genetic research teams have been able to decode the entire genome of patients and locate the exact genetic cause of their problem. For instance, a new DNA-based test has the possibility of detecting colon cancer, which affects over 100,000 people a year in the United States alone. (Wade) This test can detect cancer at an early stage and help treat the patient. If given an opportunity to detect the early onset of cancer, I would take that opportunity. Cancer can be detrimental and painful for the individual and their family. Of course environmental reasons could trigger cancer and if a gene is found indicating that that person is a carrier for a genetic disease, it is possible that the person will never actually develop the disease; however, it is also possible that the person will. I would rather be prepared and detect a disease early in order to increase my survival chances and decrease the amount of care I would need, such as radiation or chemotherapy. However, there are some ethical issues that arise, such as legal issues. Mapping the genetic make-up of individuals could lead to health care insurance issues; therefore, there are legal and ethical issues that could arise from this type of knowledge. Patient confidentiality laws should be implemented if these tests become readily available.
Wade, N. New DNA Tests Aimed at Reducing Colon Cancer. October 28, 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/11/health/research/11gene.html
U.S. Department of Energy. Human Genome Project Information. (2012). Retrieved from: http://ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/home.shtml