In Japan, a company specialising in genetics, namely Genesis Healthcare Co. based in Tokyo, will offer a new “service” to future parents within the next 12 months – a test based on DNA analysis to check their “compatibility” and establish the extent to which their future children may or may not have genetic disorders. The disorders tested for include certain types of muscular dystrophy or Parkinson’s disease, for instance, i.e. disorders that develop due to recessive genes inherited from the mother and father. 1,050 rare diseases will be investigated based on the parents’ saliva. The company believes that the information will enable people to “plan their lives more efficiently”.
Genesis Healthcare is linked to an American company that markets this test in the United States and has checked its reliability vis-à-vis the Japanese genome. The price has yet to be confirmed.
This announcement has kindled the interest of academic societies and experts alike who believe that it is “worrying to promote a new form of discrimination”. They are considering publishing a declaration along these lines because, unlike other countries, there are currently no legal restrictions on the use of genetic data in Japan.
The Japan News (21/05/2017)