Promise and Peril: Genetic Technologies; Their Use Today and Potential Consequences Tomorrow
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Knowledge is power. Through tireless research in the lab, new genetic technologies utilized for human treatments are coming to the American marketplace. Of these new technologies, those involved in genetic screening and testing are of particular interest to this thesis because of the subtle tensions that exist within these new tools of medicine. These technologies have great potential in identifying diseases so that they can be properly addressed through medical treatment. They reveal the genetic predispositions and history of individuals found in their very genetic code. However, these screening and testing technologies also present potential challenges to the American healthcare system. Questions concerning the implementation of such technology through traditional healthcare channels and access to these technologies remain unanswered. Such powerful pieces of technology, like those used in genetic screening, may also exacerbate societal divisions among the population. The potential, and unequal, use of these technologies coming to market is a crucial aspect to consider as those with more resources may become the sole, and repetitive, benefactors at the expense of those with less resources. Thus, this thesis serves as a vehicle to consider such key questions and hopefully inspire the necessary deliberation required to use these new technologies in a way beneficial to all.