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To Know or Not to Know? The Gene Testing Question

Two opposing views come to a head with genetic testing, the Economist writes: the right to know about risk of developing a genetic disease and the right to not know about that risk.

Exemplifying these views are two cases, one in the UK and one in Germany, both involving Huntington's disease. In the UK, a woman is suing a hospital for not telling her, while she was pregnant, that her father had Huntington's disease, the Economist adds, noting that the woman later learned she tested positive for the Huntington's mutation. While in Germany, it says a woman is suing a doctor who informed her that her ex-husband tested positive for Huntington's disease (telling her with her ex's permission) and that her children might have inherited it. "Both cases, then, test a legal grey area and their outcomes will be examined with interest by lawyers in other jurisdictions," the Economist notes.

"When the law falls behind technology, somebody often pays the price, and currently that somebody is doctors," it adds. "As these two cases demonstrate, they find themselves in an impossible predicament — damned if they do, damned if they don't."