After explaining the origin, nature, and goals of genetic counseling, we consider the impact of the Human Genome Project on its practice. In light of the availability of presymptomatic tests for late-onset disorders and the possibility of preventive behavior or treatment, we examine the apparent conflict between nondirectiveness and directiveness in genetic counseling. We discuss views of genetic counselors, medical geneticists, and counselees on specific issues, and document gender differences in attitudes toward genetic ties to offspring. Because genetic discrimination and unequal access to genetic services are likely to increase with advances in genetics, we conclude that efforts of genetic counselors to adhere to the principle of justice or equity in their practice cannot be successful without governmental and public support, as well as support from researchers and colleagues in health care.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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