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The genetic conception of health: is it as radical as claimed?

[journal article]

Petersen, Alan

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Abstract The so-called new genetics is widely predicted to radically transform medicine and public health and deliver considerable benefits in the future. This article argues that, although it is doubtful that many of the promised benefits of genetic research will be delivered, an increasingly pervasive genetic worldview and expectations about future genetic innovations are profoundly shaping conceptions of health and illness and priorities in healthcare. Further, it suggests that debates about the normative and justice implications of new genetic technologies thus far have been constrained by bioethics discourse, which has tended to frame questions narrowly in terms of how best to ensure the protection and promotion of the rights and freedoms of the individual. Sociologists and other social scientists can help broaden debate in this field by exposing the assumptions underlying the genetic conception of health and exploring the implications of associated developments.
Keywords public health
Classification Medical Sociology
Free Keywords bioethics; conception of health; new genetics; personalized medicine
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Page/Pages p. 481-500
Journal Health, 10 (2006) 4
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)