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September 2000

Ethical Issues in Genetic Testing of Children

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine and the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill (Dr Ross); and the Ethics and Clinical Programs, Doctors Community Healthcare Corp, Scottsdale, Ariz (Dr Moon).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000;154(9):873-879. doi:10.1001/archpedi.154.9.873

Clinical genetics is an integral part of pediatrics. Genetic diseases are common in childhood: as many as 53 per 1000 children and young adults can be expected to have diseases with an important genetic component.1 This rate increases to 79 per 1000 if congenital anomalies are included.1 In addition, 12% to 40% of all pediatric hospitalizations are for genetic diseases and birth defects.24 Despite its importance in primary care pediatrics, genetics has maintained its subspecialty status. Newborn screening for genetic diseases is the only aspect of genetics that has been incorporated as routine pediatric practice.5

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