In the present days, advances in genetic research have often occupied the headlines in the media publication (Parker, Williamson, & Savulescu, 2003). This trend indicates an increased focus towards genetic research. Because of the aforementioned reason, the appraisal of genetic research is increasingly getting more attention of the human research ethic committee (Parker, Williamson, & Savulescu, 2003). The objective of this paper is to enable readers to understand the ethical implications of human genetics research. Although genetic research can bring enormous benefits in regard of human health, it often may involve certain risks.
Psychosocial risk associate with this research may majorly present in the form of fear of stigmatization or segregation. The subjects may become apprehensive concerning the implications of the outcomes for prospect reproductive partner, relationship, and insurance. Also participation in research study may expose unexpected information that may significantly harm the subjects, especially, if the possibility of risk is not discussed in the initial step of consent acquisition (Parker, Williamson, & Savulescu, 2003)
Genetic research versus the public
The major objective of human genetic research involves the innovation of better treatments including gene, drug, or cell therapies.
On the other hand, the direct consequence of gene breakthrough associated with human disorders depends on the identification of carriers of the mutant gene associated with a disease through application of advanced diagnosis and genetic testing. One major source for obtaining genetic information is a family medical history. Genetic data also, can be obtained from clinical assessment of DNA, RNA, proteins, or metabolites which reflects gene function (Koepsell, 2007).
Recruitment of subjects
A major role of the human research ethic committee (HREC) involves a review of the prerequisite for sustaining availability of a valid consent from participants before recruitment into a research study project. The HREC must ensure that the prospect participants are sufficiently informed concerning the objective of the study, their role in the participation, and the risks and benefits of participation.
They should also know the precautions implemented to ensure protection of their privacy and confidentiality, and the fate of any genetic matter or data acquired as an element of study. Especially, they are entitled to know whether the genetic data produced would prejudice their access to insurance and employment (Parker, Williamson, & Savulescu, 2003) The HREC, in this respect, should give top priority to the method of approach of family members and via whom should a member be contacted. Basically, it appropriate for aforementioned role to be performed by someone they are familiar with and could trust, who often would be a part of the family (Parker, Williamson, & Savulescu, 2003)
Confidential, privacy and safety
Safety, confidentiality, and privacy as an important concern in ethical review of human genetic research project, are an attribute of the familial characteristics of the research (Koepsell, 2007). Koepsell further argues that the severity of the outcomes of the research differs across the conditions and individual. Human genetic research may occasionally expose private information to a single person concerning other members of his or her family. A research participant may access information given by other members of the family (Parker, Williamson, & Savulescu, 2003) Because of the familial and the intergenerational characteristics of the genetic data, avoidance of exposure is occasionally impossible.
This data should be handled with sensitivity and chances that the information may be exposed must be considered in the initial procedure of obtaining informed consent of participation in the research study. Also serious precaution should be implemented to ensure that the researchers are conscious and receptive to such likelihood (Parker, Williamson, & Savulescu, 2003)
After going through this paper the reader will be knowledgeable about the current trend in genetic. The ethical concern in human genetic research is similar to those which arise from other types of research.
(2007). The ethics of genetic engineering. A position paper for inquiry office of public policy.
Centre for inquiry. Retrieved January 28, 2011, from http://www.centerforinquiry.net/uploads/attachments/genetic-engineering-ethics_2.pdf Parker, M., Williamson, R.
& Savulescu, J. (2003). Ethical issue in genetic research: an introduction for members of Australian Human Research Ethic Committee. Parkville, Australia; CRC for discovery of genes for common human disease 2003.
Retrieved January 28, 2011, from http://www.uq.edu.au/oppe/PDFS/IEC_Manual.pdf