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Genetic Testing

In this worksheet, students discover what genetic testing is, the advantages and disadvantages and consider the ethical implications.

'Genetic Testing' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Curriculum topic:  Biology: Evolution, Inheritance and Variation

Curriculum subtopic:  Genomics and Medicine

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Picture of test tubes

Genetic testing is when a persons DNA is analysed and screened to see if they may inherit genetic disorders. Genetic testing can be done on adults, children, foetuses and embryos. If a person has a version of a gene (also called an allele) that is faulty, then that person may develop a disorder. Testing a persons DNA will tell you if the individual has a genetic disorder or will develop one later on in life.

There are different types of genetic tests. Some genetic tests are done on embryos when a woman is pregnant to see if they will develop disorders like Cystic Fibrosis. Here cells are taken from the embryo and the DNA is screened for different disorders. Genetic testing may also occur during fertility treatment, for example during in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Here a number of embryo's can be screened for faulty alleles. Only the healthy embryo's are implanted into the mothers uterus. 

Sometimes genetic tests are done prior to having children. A couple may get genetic testing done if they have a history of genetic disorders in the family and want to know if they are a carrier of a faulty allele. This might help them decide if they want to proceed with having children.  

Genetic tests can also be used to see which medications will work best for patients. This is called personalised medicine. Some patients may have conditions that do not allow certain medicines to work.

There are many advantages to genetic testing:

• inform decisions about family planning. If individuals are carriers of faulty alleles they may not wish to have children. 

• abortion. Pregnancy may be terminated if the embryo has genes that may lead to crippling disorders.

• prepare for treatment. Families may be able to prepare themselves practically for a child with certain disorders or can start treatment early to prevent symptoms of the disease from developing 

• personalised treatment. Patients will be given treatment to suit their specific condition based on their DNA

There are also disadvantages and ethical implications:

• not all genetic disorders can be screened for.

• false positives. A genetic test may pick up a faulty allele incorrectly. This can lead to the individual or couple thinking their child has a genetic disorder when it does not. The couple may decide not to start a family or choose an abortion to avoid having a baby with a disorder.

• false negatives are when a genetic test does not detect any faulty alleles. Individuals and families are wrongly reassured and may continue to plan for children or carry on with a pregnancy.

• insurance companies may refuse insurance to those who have a genetic condition.

• employers might not promote you or may even sack you if they think you will get sick often.

Ethical implications are decisions that may go against peoples beliefs and values. Some of the ethical implications could be:

• families may not wish to know the fate of their child. 

• couples may feel pressured into terminating a pregnancy if they know the child will develop a disorder.

• some religions may not allow abortions or genetic testing.

Have a look at the clip below to see how genetic testing is affecting peoples lives:

 

Couple Dave and Anna want to start a family

Dave and Anna want to start a family. They decide they want to undergo genetic screening before having children. Why might they decide this?

Choose one answer.

They are curious about their genes

They want to know if they are carriers of faulty alleles

So their baby will be completely healthy

If you are a carrier for a faulty allele it means:

Choose two answers.

 

You may pass this allele onto your offspring

You should not have children

You can still be healthy and have a faulty allele

You are a mutant

Medicine

Why might doctors want patients genetic test results before prescribing medicine?

Choose one answer.

Because doctors are nosy

To check if they have faulty alleles

To make sure medication works best for the patient's DNA

Complete the following sentences using the key words from the grid below. 

If a genetic test shows the foetus has a genetic fault then the parents will have a number of …(1)….
a) They can have an …(2)… (termination).
b) They can have the …(3)… and look after it.
c) They could have the baby then have it …(4)….
These difficult decisions or choices are called  …(5)… decisions and different people will make …(6)… choices which may depend on their individual opinions and  …(7)… beliefs.

 1234567
Ethical
Different
Religious
Choices
Abortion
Adopted
Baby

Picture of Sarah

Sarah is 23 years old. She has a family history of Cystic Fibrosis. She has never been genetically screened for this disorder. Why has she never been screened? Select two answers.

Sarah's parents didn't want to get her tested for religious reasons

Sarah wanted to plan for treatment as a precaution

Genetic tests can give wrong results

Sarah wants to be sure of her health

Students doing a science experiment

Lara and John are studying genetics at college. They believe all people should be genetically tested. Why might they think this?

Choose two answers.

They are biased

It will allow you to plan for the future

You can start treatment earlier to reduce the effects of the disease

They want insurance companies to have access to peoples genetic information

Picture of a human embryo

A couple have undergone genetic screening for their unborn child and have found out that it has a high chance of having Cystic Fibrosis. They have to decide on their next steps. There are many options. One option is to continue the pregnancy as normal another may be to terminate the pregnancy. These decisions carry what type of implications?

Answer using one word.

Picture of Petri dish where IVF occurs

In-vitro fertilisation is a technique that allows people with fertility problems to have a child. Genetic testing can be done on embryo's before they are implanted into the woman's uterus. What ethical implications may arise from testing on embryo's?

Select one answer.

Unhealthy embryo's are discarded of

It may lead to increase chance of miscarriage

Genetic test results are shared with the mother

Picture of a doctor

Genetic screening can be useful for doctors when choosing what drugs will work best for their patients. What is the name of this type of treatment?

Answer using two words only.

Summary activity

 

Match the key words on the left with the definitions on the right.

If you can't read the whole sentence hover your mouse over the box.

Column A

Column B

Allele
Decisions based on personal values or religious be...
Genetic testing
Unborn baby up to 8 weeks old
Personalised Medicine
Screening DNA for possible faults
Embryo
Treatment tailored to suit a patients DNA
Ethical implications
Different versions of a gene
Carrier
Someone who has faulty genes and could pass these ...
  • Question 1

Couple Dave and Anna want to start a family

Dave and Anna want to start a family. They decide they want to undergo genetic screening before having children. Why might they decide this?

Choose one answer.

CORRECT ANSWER
They want to know if they are carriers of faulty alleles
EDDIE SAYS
Checking for faulty alleles means that Dave and Anna can make an informed decision about having a baby and the risk of it having a genetic disorder.
  • Question 2

If you are a carrier for a faulty allele it means:

Choose two answers.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
You may pass this allele onto your offspring
You can still be healthy and have a faulty allele
EDDIE SAYS
Alleles are different versions of genes and can be passed onto your children. Having a faulty allele does not necessarily mean you will be unhealthy. Most faulty alleles have little effect on a persons health. Have a look at this animation for further revision on this topic.
  • Question 3

Medicine

Why might doctors want patients genetic test results before prescribing medicine?

Choose one answer.

CORRECT ANSWER
To make sure medication works best for the patient's DNA
EDDIE SAYS
Personalised medicine is when patients are given treatment to suit their specific condition based on their DNA ensuring it has a higher chance of working positively.
  • Question 4

Complete the following sentences using the key words from the grid below. 

If a genetic test shows the foetus has a genetic fault then the parents will have a number of …(1)….
a) They can have an …(2)… (termination).
b) They can have the …(3)… and look after it.
c) They could have the baby then have it …(4)….
These difficult decisions or choices are called  …(5)… decisions and different people will make …(6)… choices which may depend on their individual opinions and  …(7)… beliefs.

CORRECT ANSWER
 1234567
Ethical
Different
Religious
Choices
Abortion
Adopted
Baby
EDDIE SAYS
If a genetic test shows the foetus has a genetic fault then the parents will have a number of choices.
a) They can have an abortion (termination).
b) They can have the baby and look after it.
c) They could have the baby then have it adopted.
These difficult decisions or choices are called ethical decisions and different people will make different choices which may depend on their individual opinions and religious beliefs.
  • Question 5

Picture of Sarah

Sarah is 23 years old. She has a family history of Cystic Fibrosis. She has never been genetically screened for this disorder. Why has she never been screened? Select two answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
Sarah's parents didn't want to get her tested for religious reasons
Genetic tests can give wrong results
EDDIE SAYS
Genetic testing can never give 100% accurate results but may give an indication as to whether an individual may develop a disorder. Some people do not wish to know if they have a chance of developing a disorder or their beliefs may prohibit it. You can find out more about Cystic Fibrosis below.
  • Question 6

Students doing a science experiment

Lara and John are studying genetics at college. They believe all people should be genetically tested. Why might they think this?

Choose two answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
It will allow you to plan for the future
You can start treatment earlier to reduce the effects of the disease
EDDIE SAYS
Genetic testing will allow people to better prepare for their treatment practically. They are able to research what treatment would work for them and start it before symptoms arise.
  • Question 7

Picture of a human embryo

A couple have undergone genetic screening for their unborn child and have found out that it has a high chance of having Cystic Fibrosis. They have to decide on their next steps. There are many options. One option is to continue the pregnancy as normal another may be to terminate the pregnancy. These decisions carry what type of implications?

Answer using one word.

CORRECT ANSWER
Ethical
Ethic
Ethics
EDDIE SAYS
Difficult decisions based on your individual beliefs are regarded as ethical decisions.
  • Question 8

Picture of Petri dish where IVF occurs

In-vitro fertilisation is a technique that allows people with fertility problems to have a child. Genetic testing can be done on embryo's before they are implanted into the woman's uterus. What ethical implications may arise from testing on embryo's?

Select one answer.

CORRECT ANSWER
Unhealthy embryo's are discarded of
EDDIE SAYS
During IVF the embryos are screened for genetic faults before being inserted into the woman's uterus. Often only the healthy embryo's free of defects will be used as the unhealthy embryo's may have more of a chance of not surviving. You can learn more about IVF by watching the clip below.
  • Question 9

Picture of a doctor

Genetic screening can be useful for doctors when choosing what drugs will work best for their patients. What is the name of this type of treatment?

Answer using two words only.

CORRECT ANSWER
Personalised medicine
Personalised treatment
Personalised drugs
EDDIE SAYS
Personalised medicine allows treatment to be tailored to a patients DNA so that it works in the best way possible for a patient.
  • Question 10

Summary activity

 

Match the key words on the left with the definitions on the right.

If you can't read the whole sentence hover your mouse over the box.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Allele
Different versions of a gene
Genetic testing
Screening DNA for possible faults
Personalised Medicine
Treatment tailored to suit a pati...
Embryo
Unborn baby up to 8 weeks old
Ethical implications
Decisions based on personal value...
Carrier
Someone who has faulty genes and ...
---- OR ----

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