The vast majority of us reportedly are concerned that if we consent to genetic testing, it will come back to bite us at work, where employers could use certain data against us. It's dangerous to our health, however, if those fears get in the way of consent. From the International Herald Tribune:
Without genetic testing, researchers say it will be more difficult to find early, lifesaving therapy for a wide range of diseases with hereditary links such as breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Parkinson's disease....
Each person probably has six or more genetic mutations that place them at risk for some disease, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute. That does not means that a disease will develop, researchers said, just that the person is more likely to get it than someone without the genetic mutation.
To that end, the U.S. House today passed a bill banning genetic discrimination by insurers or employers. The bill was earlier passed by the Senate, so now it sails to the president's desk. Congressional Quarterly reports:
The measure would prohibit insurers from basing enrollment or premium decisions on the results of genetic tests, and would bar employers from using such data in hiring, assignment, promotion or firing decisions....
"Studies show that 85 percent of Americans fear that employers will use genetic information to discriminate," said Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., who along with [New York Democratic Rep. Louise] Slaughter has been the leading House proponent for the bill. "The dean of a prominent university in Massachusetts told me that fear of genetic discrimination is hindering clinical trials, slowing the development of lifesaving techniques."
Note, however, that now that the information can't be used against us, more people may get to see the details, according to the Chicago Tribune.