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Genomics in general practice
Last revised: 30 Nov 2018
The ethical principles that guide all medical care apply in genomics.
However, ethical dilemmas arise when there is tension or conflict between the rights of different family members. Key ethical principles include:1
Genetic counselling emphasises that an autonomous choice be made; that is, a choice that is informed and reflective of the individual’s own values, and made freely (without coercion). However, ethical dilemmas may arise. For example:
In any of these situations, it is important to explore with the patient the potential harms and benefits, and the reasons for their request. Referral to genetic services for counselling is strongly recommended.
Centre for Genetics Education, Fact sheet 19: Ethical issues in human genetics and genomics
Financial Services Council, FSC Standard no. 16: Family medical history policy
National Health and Medical Research Council, Genetic discrimination
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