Insight: Genetic Testing

genThis week’s Insight rackles the question: Would you want to know if you were carrying a gene that could kill you?

Once again Jenny Brockie and a studio of guests will tackle a hot topic. Guests for this week include Chairman of Uehiro Practical Ethics at Oxford University, Professor Julian Savulescu, Bio-ethicist Dr Leslie Cannold and Chair of the NHMRC Human Genetics Advisory Committee, Professor Ron Trent.

In Australia, we can now be tested for more than 400 different diseases including hereditary breast and bowel cancer and some forms of Alzheimers.

But some conditions like early onset Alzheimers and Huntingtons disease, there is no cure. Many Australians who potentially carry these genes choose not to be tested, because they can’t bear to know what awaits them.

But would you want to pass these diseases on to your children?

With IVF advances in the screening of embryos, couples can make sure they don’t pass on these genes.

But where do we draw the line?

Should we screen out all known genetic diseases or just those that dramatically affect lifespan and quality of life?

Join us as we talk to genetic experts, ethicists and families who’ve had to face some difficult decisions about how they live their lives and whether they have kids.

It airs 7:30pm Tuesday on SBS ONE.

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