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It is now possible to undertake gene sequencing on DNA obtained from stored tissue removed from a person now deceased or from stored tissue from a living person. The sequencing may assist close blood relatives who are at risk of having a mutation that predisposes them to cancer to find out their own genetic risk. If the test had been done previously Australian law would permit the test results to be provided to close blood relatives of the "originator" without consent, even if other relatives object, although good practice is to inform all family members about proposed genetic tests. However, it is less clear whether a pathology laboratory can lawfully, and should ethically provide stored tissue for genetic testing, without the originator's consent. This article argues that the law and ethics need to be clarified so pathology laboratories can confidently make stored tissue available for testing to assist blood relatives.

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Law Med

Publication Date

06/2015

Volume

22

Pages

864 - 870

Keywords

Adult, Biological Specimen Banks, Family, Female, Genetic Testing, Humans, Male, Mutation, Pedigree, Risk Assessment