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January 1976

Ethical, Social and Legal Dimensions of Screening for Human Genetic Disease

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Rochester, NY 14627

Am J Dis Child. 1976;130(1):108-109. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1976.02120020110025

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This fine book of readings is composed of 12 articles, by authors from many academic disciplines, in which different aspects of the medical, legal, social, and philosophical problems of genetic screening are examined. It is the outgrowth of two years of study by members of the Genetics Group of the Institute of Society, Ethics and the Life Sciences, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY.

There appears to be substantial agreement on many key issues. First, similar criteria are offered by Lappé and Roblin, Ehrman and Lappé, Powledge, Erbe and Murry concerning the justifiability of a decision to screen for a genetic disease in a therapeutic program (either Mendelian or polygenetic disorders). These criteria may be summarized as follows: (1) the disease is an important health problem as judged by its frequency, severity, and consequences, if undetected and untreated; (2) simple and inexpensive tests are available to identify carriers or those with the genetic disease,

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