- The shared nature and ownership of genetic information. The doctor’s ethical responsibilities include balancing the privacy and confidentiality of the individual and prevention of harm to others (the duty of care). The individual tested also has family Responsibilities and obligations including dissemination of genetic test results within the family to enable informed decision- making by their at-risk relatives.
- Limitations of genetic testing. While in some cases, genetic tests provide reliable and accurate information on which people can make decisions, in other cases it may not be possible to obtain a definitive result. An individual is much more than the sum of their genes: the individual’s environment can modify the expression of genetic messages to the body and many factors are not genetic that make an individual who they are
- The discovery of a change in a particular gene may provide some information about the nature of the condition that the person has, will develop or for which they may be at increased risk, but can rarely predict the severity of the condition or the age at which symptoms will first onset and in prenatal testing, the potential for quality of life for the child or the severity of a particular condition
- Inappropriate applications of genetic testing such as for the sole purpose of family balancing (sexing of a fetus for this reason) or its use in paternity testing without the informed consent of all parties involved
- The potential for discrimination especially with the use of information generated by the use of predictive/presymptomatic testing results - generally for adult-onset conditions - in life insurance applications and employment
- Setting boundaries in applications of the genetics technology. This is one of the greatest challenges to find the way to Implement regulations internationally such as in the areas of reproductive cloning and genetic testing for enhancement. It is also important to recognize and respect the moral, religious and cultural beliefs that underpin the decision-making by Individuals, couples, families or communities
- Forensic DNA data banks. Ensuring that they are used for the purpose for which they were collected and protected from Misuse. Also, where the public has also assisted the police by volunteering genetic samples to assist in the investigations of unsolved crimes, ensure that special protections are put in place for the DNA samples and the information generated
- Patenting of genes. Ensuring that commercial interests do not limit equity and access
Overall, the DNA fingerprint does not give any direct information as to the nature of the genes coded for by the DNA, and it gives no information about the chemical sequence of the DNA. It does, however, give direct information about the identity of individual, including their relatedness. It is widely used by the police in forensic investigations, where the questions of identity alone is at issue. This kind of information relates to what might be called “forensic identity."