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Molecular genetic testing allows us, for instance, to determine the genetic causes of, or predispositions to, diseases long before their actual onset. Here a distinction is made between genetic testing (to diagnose a specific disease) and predictive testing (to prognosticate a risk of disease).  Genetic testing is currently the most important application of genetic engineering in medicine. There are two main reasons for this: firstly, there is scarcely any disease in which genes are not involved; secondly, genetic testing is developing at breathtaking speed. At the same time, many people are already worried about the, as yet, unforeseeable diagnostic opportunities, as shown by the debate on prenatal diagnosis.

The Working Group documents the scientific and technical development of genetic testing, its possible applications and its legal implications. Additional aspects include: the forensic application of molecular genetics, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), the health-economic perspective and the possibility of preventive coercion.

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