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Assessing Genetic Risks: Implications for Health and Social Policy
TABLE 6-6 Basic Science Prerequisites in Genetics for a Clerkship in Obstetrics and Gynecology
I. Define the following basic genetic terms and mechanisms
A. The structure of the nucleic acids
B. Cell division
C. Chromosomal abnormalities
D. Molecular genetics
E. Linkage, crossing over, and chromosome mapping
F. Diagnostic techniques
II. Describe the manifestations and mechanisms for detection of abnormal inheritance
A. Single-gene inheritance
B. Sex chromosomal anomalies (risk, characteristics)
C. Autosomal anomalies
III. Describe laboratory and special studies
A. Tissue culture techniques
B. Karyotype construction and interpretation
C. DNA testing
SOURCE: Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 1992.
cine, among other subjects. This home-study program can also provide continuing medical education credits for participating physicians.
In addition to continuing medical education, informal learning occurs in contacts between genetics specialists and referring physicians. This is particularly true for physicians frequently exposed to genetic conditions, such as obstetricians and pediatricians, who tend to score higher on tests of genetic knowledge than do physicians with little clinical exposure (Hofman et al., 1993). The clinical ''need to know" may be the best motivator for genetics education. As more genetic tests are available, the need to know will inevitably grow.
Professional Statements, Guidance, and Proficiencies
Many medical and scientific organizations issue standards and guidelines for practice regarding drugs and procedures, including genetic tests and procedures that might serve an educational purpose. For some physicians, these guidelines and directives might be influential in their decision making regarding incorporation of new tests and procedures. Concerns about protection from professional liability may play an important role in the development of professional standards and guidelines, and may influence the speed with which genetic tests are adopted into clinical practice.
The American Society of Human Genetics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have issued several statements in the past