Genetics: changing health care in the 21st century.

S L Jones


Advances in human genetics are rapidly changing the scope of information and care that can be provided to health care consumers. By the year 2005 it is expected that the entire human genome will be mapped and all 70,000-100,000 genes will be identified. Currently, there are more than 5,000 known single-gene disorders. With the movement of specialized health services into the primary care setting, nurses increasingly will need to be knowledgeable about genetic disorders, screening/diagnostic tests, and implications for health care. In addition, the management of genetic information raises issues of informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, truth telling and disclosure, and nondiscrimination.