Chapter

Genetic Information and Knowing When You will Die

Margaret Pabst Battin

in Ending Life

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780195140279
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850280 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195140279.003.0013
Genetic Information and Knowing When You will Die

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Genetic analysis, coupled with clinical and epidemiological data, makes possible both population-wide and individual prognostication. As it becomes increasingly informative to trace an individual's genetic legacy and thus to identify inherited disorders and diseases, physiological characteristics, and disease susceptibilities, it will become increasingly possible to make more and more accurate predictions about how long a person is likely to live, in what condition and with what degree of function, and when and how that individual is likely to die. While human awareness of eventual illness and death will involve gradual change, barely perceptible to most individuals, this is a process of change already well underway. What lies at the center of this change is the increasingly informative possibility of genetic prognostication about the size — the length, health characteristics, and cause of demise — of an individual's life. This chapter explores future scenarios in which many factors, but especially developments in genetics and related subfields, make it possible to prognosticate far more accurately about the cause and timing of an individual's death.

Keywords: genetics; diseases; death; genetic prognostication; genetic analysis; illness; life

Chapter.  9564 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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