Ethical implications of genetic analysis of individual susceptibility to diseases

Mutat Res. 2001 Oct 1;482(1-2):105-10. doi: 10.1016/s0027-5107(01)00215-9.


Ethics can be regarded as a reflection or reconsideration of existing moral codes in the search of good and goes beyond moral conduct. This means that ethics is a never-ending process, which in science must develop with the development of science itself. Thus, the process of seeking better ethics is as integral within science as the development of new methods. Along these lines of thought it can be argued that (1) poor science cannot be ethically sound, (2) every scientist has a personal responsibility to develop ethics in his area of expertise, (3) the development of solid ethical background in science requires education in ethics as well as in methodology and scientific thinking and (4) research ethics cannot develop in solitude, but needs input from other scientists, other fields (including philosophy) and society. Several burning questions can be identified within genetic analysis for individual susceptibility. These ethical aspects can be viewed from three different perspectives: practice of research, patient/research subject personally and long-term implications in society. This paper tries more to awaken thoughts than give clear answers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Science Disciplines / education
  • Confidentiality*
  • Ethics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genetics, Medical / economics
  • Genetics, Medical / trends*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Prejudice*
  • Tissue Banks