This is an updated repost of a blog I posted last year about a man with Huntington’s disease. The audio feed can be found on The Current (Part II). After a few comments in another blog entry on the biological evidence of homosexual behavior vs the silly notion of it being a ‘lifestyle choice’, I thought about this entry. Not all genetic testing is bad, but I agree we are starting to wade into a moral quagmire.
Huntington’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder with profound cognitive and motor disturbances, and typically kills its victim about 10 to 15 years after symptoms become manifest. Onset occurs in midlife, typically after victims have started their own families and possibly passed the gene on to the next generation. The chances of one parent with the gene passing it on to any one child is 50%.
The Human Genome Project has provided some hope, at least potential hope, of a cure for this terrible disorder. Certainly, it has allowed genetic testing of embryos for the Huntington’s gene, and tests for some 200 genetic disorders exist at present. One Canadian researcher, Jeff Carroll, has a vested interest in finding a cure- he has the disease himself. The remainder of the embryos were made available for research into a cure for Huntington’s.