Roberts and Foulkes, ‘Genetic Duties’

Our genes don’t change but the results of our genetic tests might. The first is basic biology. The second, a product of the reality that we are still learning about the human genome. A person who took a genetic test in 2010 could take the same test with the same lab in 2020 and get a different result. The law, however, does not reflect this difference. At present, no legal duty requires laboratories or physicians to inform patients when a laboratory reclassifies a genetic variant, even if the reclassification communicates clinically actionable information. This Article considers the need for such duties and their potential challenges. In so doing, we hope to offer much needed guidance to the physicians and the laboratories that may face liability and to the courts that will inevitably hear these cases.

Roberts, Jessica L and Foulkes, Alexandra, Genetic Duties (February 21, 2020). William and Mary Law Review, forthcoming.

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