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Genetics Research International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 786930, 4 pages
Research Article

Genetic Testing for Minors: Comparison between Italian and British Guidelines

Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Legal Medicine Unit, University of Padua, Via Falloppio 50, 35121 Padua, Italy

Received 12 August 2011; Revised 21 November 2011; Accepted 13 December 2011

Academic Editor: Andrea Vicini

Copyright © 2012 Pamela Tozzo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Genetic testing in children raises many important ethical, legal, and social issues. One of the main concerns is the ethically inappropriate genetic testing of minors. Various European countries established professional guidelines which reflect the different countries perspectives regarding the main ethical issues involved. In this paper, we analyze the Italian and the British guidelines by highlighting differences and similarities. We discuss presymptomatic, predictive, and carrier testing because we consider them to be the more ethically problematic types of genetic testing in minors. In our opinion, national guidelines should take into account the different needs in clinical practice. At the same time, in the case of genetic testing the national and supranational protection of minors could be strengthened by approving guidelines based on a common framework of principles and values. We suggest that the Oviedo Convention could represent an example of such a common framework or, at least, it could lead to articulate it.