Introduction

The prospect of an increasing range of genetic screening tests, with ever improving accuracy, raises numerous concerns. Whilst the scientific optimist may point to numerous advantages in terms of enhancing quality of life, reducing the incidence of serious genetic illnesses and the like, numerous writers (Post,1992, Terrenoire, 1992, Chadwick, 1993, Boss, 1994, Hepburn, 1996) have pointed to a number of difficulties associated with such technologies. A key concern relates to the control of genetic information pertaining to a particular individual following such screening. Clearly it is not possible to deal with this concern in any complete sense in a paper of this size, nonetheless, by focusing on one particular issue—the use of genetic information by insurance companies—this paper aims to sketch the general territory in which discussion may prove most fruitful. It will be argued that by exploring the metaethical foundations of our concerns, we may go some way towards addressing the problems.

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