Is genetic testing useful?

Is genetic testing useful?

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted August 31, 2008 in DNA Around the World, DNA Testing, DNA and the Law

In The Malaysia Star today, Dr. Teo Soo Hwang explores genetic testing as it applies to the BRCA gene for breast and ovarian cancer – Can genetic testing be useful? The paper is printing “a series of four articles by the Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (CARIF) that explores how genes are linked to diseases, the relationship between genes and cancer, and what is genetic testing and counselling.”

By the way, Malaysia’s government is currently considering a DNA Identification Bill that would require people charged with a crime to submit DNA samples. While this type of law is nothing new in other countries, such as the UK, the introduction of this bill in Malaysia at this time is part of a political brouhaha involving opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim who has been accused of sexual misconduct. His supporters fear that if he were forced to give a DNA sample, it would be tampered with and falsely incriminating results would be submitted to the courts.

Om Prakash says at

The onus must be on those who want to freely give their DNA sample to prove their innocence. Let us not be threatened with another draconian law like the ISA for political and law- enforcement expediency.

We are not ready to just trust anybody yet.

Conclusion: Genetic testing is useful to some and not so useful for others.

Other DNA articles of interest in The Malaysia Star:

Photo credit: Eye on Malaysia, Lukman Kusuma



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Comment by jhay

Again it’s not the tool itself that is evil. It’s how technological advances like DNA testing are used is what becomes evil.

Hence, we must always be diligent when it comes to justice and to the rule of law.

Totally agree, jhay. Human error, deliberate or not, is always a consideration.

Comment by boon kheng

Hey I’m delighted that you feature Malaysia in your blog!

To tell all of you, the DNA Identification Bill has been rushed through the Malaysian Parliament into the stage of second reading to fulfil political purposes – most Malaysians believe that Anwar is innocent. The sodomy allegation is deemed as a conspiracy. AS far as I know the Bill has not been officially passed.

Nevertheless, a two party system has just been born in the recent Malaysian general elections so the government coalition (National Front) cannot act as they like anymore. The Opposition is a faction called People’s Alliance.

Oh well, people are looking forward for People’s Alliance to have control of legislature in Malaysian Parliament =)


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