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AMA on Genetic Testing and Genomics in Medicine

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The AMA today released its Position Statement on Genetic Testing and Genomics in Medicine 2020, which is an update of the AMA Position Statement on Genetic Testing 2012.
 
The AMA has updated its policy on genetics, expanding it to incorporate not only genetics (the study of individual genes and associated inherited conditions and traits), but also genomics (the study of an individual’s genetic material and also the influences of environmental and other factors).
 
AMA President, Dr. Omar Khorshid, said today that the Position Statement highlights the capacity of genetics and genomics to rapidly transform health care, potentially providing less expensive treatments and improving patient outcomes.
 
The updated policy:
 
  • recognises the importance and role of genomics in health care,
  • makes clear that the AMA supports the present legislation prohibiting the patenting of human genes,
  • makes clear that the AMA condemns the practice of eugenics,
  • reaffirms the position that genetic selection mustn’t be undertaken on the idea of sex unless it’s to scale back the danger of transmission of a sex-dependent condition, but expands this to also include or a disease that may severely limit the person’s quality of life,
  • incorporates a replacement section on the emerging issue of genome editing, addressing both somatic and germline genome editing, recognising these technologies could also be acceptable for research purposes, provided they’re appropriately regulated, and
  • is clear that germline genome editing for the needs of reproduction should be prohibited now because it requires further scientific, ethical, and social considerations because the potential risks to the health of future generations are until now unclear.
“The AMA believes genetic and genomic technologies should be incorporated into everyday health care, which genetic discrimination should be prohibited,” Dr. Khorshid said.
 
“There should be equitable and efficient access to safe, evidence-based genetic, and genomics testing services throughout Australia.
 
“This requires appropriate infrastructure, workforce planning, and investment in training and development to make sure a genomic literate workforce, including an ongoing high-quality genetic pathology-related workforce.
 
“The ethical, economic, and social issues related to genetic and genomics testing must be addressed to get rid of any barriers and disincentives, and permit equitable access to those services.
 
“The AMA’s updated policy outlines ways to enhance access to those services throughout Australia.
 
“It also addresses issues like consent to genetic testing, and also the protection of non-public genetic information, genetic discrimination, direct-to-consumer genetic tests, access to testing services, research, gene and genetic patents, genetic selection, and genome editing.”
The AMA believes genetics and genomics will rapidly transform health care, potentially providing cheaper treatments, and improving patient outcomes. These technologies should be incorporated into everyday healthcare and there should be equitable and efficient access to safe, evidence-based genetic, and genomics testing services throughout Australia. this needs appropriate infrastructure, workforce planning, and investment in training and development to make sure a genomic literate workforce including an ongoing high-quality genetic pathology-related workforce. the moral, economic, and social issues related to genetic and genomics testing must be addressed to get rid of any barriers and disincentives and permit equitable access to those services.
 
 
This position statement outlines ways to boost access to those services throughout Australia and addresses issues like consent to genetic testing and therefore the protection of non-public genetic information, genetic discrimination, direct-to-consumer genetic tests, access to testing services, research, gene and genetic patents, genetic selection, and genome editing.
A version of this article was originally published on https://ama.com.au/position-statement/genetic-testing-and-genomics-medicine-2020
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