December 14, 2022: Dr. Nathan Tucker of the Masonic Medical Research Institute (MMRI), an expert on genomics, was quoted in Healthline magazine regarding the concerns and benefits for genetic testing.
Study Begins on Genetic Testing of Infants for Diseases: The Benefits and Concerns
By Tony Hicks
Fact checked by Jill Seladi-Schulman, Ph.D.
What experts think of genetic testing of infants
Nathan Tucker, Ph.D., an expert on genomics and an assistant professor at the Masonic Medical Research Institute in Utica, NY., told Healthline the research could be groundbreaking.
“For example, we might screen family members if there is a known heritable, and actionable, condition found in the parents,” Tucker said. “It’s truly testing the broad applicability of prospective genetic screening in a way that has not been done before.”
Tucker added that the results “from the small set of genes they will screen will yield clinically actionable results, meaning these children will have earlier interventions and hopefully better outcomes than if we waited to screen at a later time or after a clinical diagnosis.”
Concerns over genetic data
The U.K. researchers said information from the tests would remain confidential and be used only for the intentions stated in the study.
Tucker said this is important.
“There is always a risk of privacy concerns for all data used in clinical care, genetics included,” he said. “There are also vigorous debates in the genetics community about returning incidental findings. In this case, they hold onto other variant data with an option to examine them at a later time. For example, BRCA mutations for cancer.”
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