Ownership of genetic information

Genetic conditions are relevant to the health of the entire family. A diagnosis or a finding of hereditary predisposition in a family member has implications for others in the family. Individuals undergoing genetic testing should therefore consider what impact possible information may have on their relatives.

On the other hand, responsibilities and obligations must be balanced with the right of an individual to choose to know or not know their personal genetic information. The emphasis needs to be on the right of the individual to choose. Genetic counselling is an essential component of genome testing and should be offered both before and after genetic testing so that all the implications of undertaking testing are clear.