Iscuss the psychosocial implications of having an increased genetic risk for Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

Assignment Guidelines

You will be expected to demonstrate the following learning outcomes in this assignment:

2. Describe the genetic and phenotypic consequences of mutation and genetic variation

3. Explain the principles of monogenic and polygenic inheritance in humans

7. Understand the psychosocial implications of being at genetic risk

8. Discuss the ethical and public health considerations surrounding genetic risk screening as a tool in predictive medicine

9. Evaluate the role of genetic counselling in health care

It is anticipated that you will start your answer by explaining the potential role of genes in the condition you have chosen. You will need to consider carefully how genes and the environment interact to influence the phenotypic response. In this way you will address learning outcomes 2 & 3.

The question specifically asks you to consider the implications of being at risk of disease, rather than the implications of having a disease. This addresses a real dilemma for our society as we start to recognise that certain individuals have at genetic risk of developing chronic conditions at some point in the future. Some potential psychosocial implications might be: uncertainty, raised anxiety, prejudice and/or discrimination, stigma, risk perception and decision making. By discussing the way being at risk impacts on individuals you will meet learning outcome 7.

Learning outcomes 8 and 9 ask you to consider the way society and health professionals respond increased understanding of genetic risks for chronic conditions. To address these issues you may wish to discuss whether genetic screening should be offered, when available, and if so to whom. There are ethical, psychological and financial implications that need to be considered when evaluating the value of genetic screening for polygenetic conditions.

Assessment criteria.

A pass will:

Present an accurate explanation of the role of genetics in the condition of choice.

Recognise the inter-dependence between genes and the environment.

Utilise relevant literature.

Recognise and discuss the issues that are specifically pertinent to the condition of choice.

Accurately reference all sources of information

Further marks will be awarded for:

Coherent explanations of the role of genetics in the condition of choice.

An ability to discuss the complexities of the interplay between multiple genes and the environment

Critical analysis of current literature

Critical evaluation how psychosocial research can inform professional practice

A fail will:

Demonstrate mis-understanding of the role of genetics in the condition of choice

Fail to acknowledge or discuss the relationship between the genotype and the environment

Fail to acknowledge sources of information

Demonstrate little or no appropriate reading

Poorly reference or fail to reference sources of information