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Clinical geneticists are increasingly confronted with ethical tensions between their responsibilities to individual patients and to other family members. This paper considers the ethical implications of a "familial" conception of the clinical genetics role. It argues that dogmatic adherence to either the familial or to the individualistic conception of clinical genetics has the potential to lead to significant harms and to fail to take important obligations seriously. Geneticists are likely to continue to be required to make moral judgments in the resolution of such tensions and may find it useful to have access to ethics training and support.

Original publication




Journal article


J Med Ethics

Publication Date





70 - 73


Genetics and Reproduction, Confidentiality, Family, Female, Genetic Services, Genetics, Medical, Heterozygote, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Moral Obligations, Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne, Professional-Family Relations