Professor Heather Skirton (Professor of Applied Health Genetics and Deputy Head (for Research) of the School of Nursing and Community Studies University of Plymouth)
Organised byESRC Genomics Forum
ESRC Genomics Policy and Research ForumThe University of EdinburghCollege of Humanities and Social ScienceSt John's LandHolyrood RoadEdinburgh EH8 8AQ
Event detailsThere are multiple definitions of what constitutes a genetic test. Even prior to the genomics era the definition was debated, but with the added possibilities of testing for predisposition to a common disease and pharmacogenomic testing, the topic is even more complex. However, informed consent is a pre-requisite for any test, with the central pillars of consent being voluntariness, relevant disclosure of information and competence to both understand the information and weigh up the consequences. In this seminar, we will examine the various definitions for so-called ‘genetic tests’ and discuss the issue of informed consent in each. Empirical work with prospective parents, older adults and other cohorts has indicated that in many cases members of the population do not perceive material differences in genetic tests, when compared with other types of clinical investigations. However, health professionals and others may be concerned to emphasise the genetic nature of the test, in some cases creating inappropriate concerns. This indicates that there may well be differences between the biological definition of a genetic test and the social interpretation of that test. The aim of the seminar will be to provoke discussion about the nature of genetic testing,and the necessary conditions for informed consent in the post-genomic era.