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Suffering and Bioethics$
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Ronald M. Green and Nathan J. Palpant

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199926176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199926176.001.0001

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Genomic Information and Suffering in the Genomic Era

Genomic Information and Suffering in the Genomic Era

Chapter:
(p.374) 19 Genomic Information and Suffering in the Genomic Era
Source:
Suffering and Bioethics
Author(s):

Roberta M. Berry

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199926176.003.0019

Genomic information and its applications promise to relieve suffering. However, the operation of the genomic enterprise may impose “iatrogenic suffering” by failures of first-generation cures and by failures of caring in the delivery of cures and may impose “systimagenic suffering” by invoking commercial motivations in the pursuit of cures. Genetic tests are key to the advance to cures but may introduce suffering in the halfway house to curing in which tests are available before cures. Third parties, including insurers, employers, and the criminal justice system, may use genomic information in ways that yield suffering. Uses of genomic information in procreation may cause suffering for parents, children, and others, and these uses raise challenging questions about the nature and meaning of suffering and our obligation to relieve it. The chapter concludes with a reflection on the implications of genomic information for competing visions of Francis Bacon’s call to relieve suffering.

Keywords:   genomic information, suffering, genomic enterprise, “iatrogenic suffering”, caring, “systimagenic suffering”, genetic tests, procreation, Francis Bacon

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