The moral aspects of genetic counselling are explored in situations where the outcome of a DNA test does not lead to certain knowledge. The most frequent type of interaction between counsellor and counsellee is when factual information is given, but sometimes "factual" information is difficult to obtain. How do counsellors deal with "uncertain" knowledge in genetics? Arguments and assumptions are presented and the finding of a 27 CAG repeat in the Huntington gene is used as an example. However, the questions "how far does the duty to inform reach?" and "to what extent is the doctor responsible?" are important in the whole field of genetics, and will be even more important in the future. The aims of science and clinical practice are discussed; we conclude that counsellors run the risk of taking on an infinite responsibility.

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Journal of Medical Genetics
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van den Boer-van den Berg, H. M., & Maat-Kievit, A. (2001). The whole truth and nothing but the truth, but what is the truth?. Journal of Medical Genetics. Retrieved from