Ethical Issues Arising in Molecular Genetics in Developing Countries

  • I. C. Verma
Conference paper


Let us consider the current status of genetics in developing countries, taking India as an example. Admittedly, genetic disorders are not, at present, significant causes of morbidity and mortality in India or in other developing countries. This is in sharp contrast to the situation in the developed countries. The difference in the pattern of disease is reflected in the difference between their population structures (Scriver 1976). The demographic profile in a developed country resembles a cylinder, while in a developing country it is like a pyramid (Fig. 1). In developing countries, the large number of births give rise to a broad base, while the tip is formed by very few people in the older age groups. The pyramidal shape arises from mortality in each age group resulting from infectious and parasitic disorders (Verma 1986a). The cylindrical shape in a developed country is due to a very low mortality in childhood, resulting in the predominance of genetic, degenerative, and malignant disorders in older age groups.


Genetic Counselling Down Syndrome Prenatal Diagnosis Iodine Deficiency Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Appaji Rao N, Rama Devi AR, Savithri HS, Rao SV, Bittles AH (1988) Neonatal screening for aminoacidemias in Karnataka, South India. Clin Genet 34: 60–63Google Scholar
  2. Indian Council of Medical Research (1989) ICMR Task Force on Human Genetics (1985–1987): report on “genetic counselling.” Indian Council of Medical ResearchGoogle Scholar
  3. Isaac MK (1988) Severe mental morbidity. ICMR Bull 18(12): 126–137Google Scholar
  4. Kochupillai N, Pandav CV (1987) Neonatal chemical hypothyroidism in iodine deficient environments. In: Hetzel BS, Dunn JT, Stanbury JB (eds) Prevention and control of iodine deficiency disorders. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 85–93Google Scholar
  5. Maharashtra Regulation (1988) of Use of Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act. Government of Maharashtra, Bombay (Maharashtra Act no XV)Google Scholar
  6. Modell B (1985) In: Report of WHO Advisory Committee on hereditary diseases. WHO, Geneva (WHO document AMG/AG/85.10)Google Scholar
  7. National Mental Health Programme for India (1989) Progress report 1982–1988. National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, BangaloreGoogle Scholar
  8. Pellegrino ED (1987) The anatomy of clinical-ethical judgements in perinatology and neonatology: a substantive and procedural framework. Semin Perinatol 11: 202–209PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Scriver C (1976) Genetics, voyage of discovery for every man. Pediatr Res 10: 865–872PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Sethi BB, Manchanda RM (1979) Socio-cultural attitudes and psychiatric illness in India. In: Ahuja MMS (ed) Progress in clinical medicine, 3rd series. Heinemann, Delhi, pp 532–550Google Scholar
  11. Verma IC (1986a) Medical genetics in India. Indian J Pediatr 53: 437–440PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Verma IC (1986b) Genetic disorders need more attention in developing countries. World Health Forum 6: 69–70Google Scholar
  13. Verma VK, Wig NN, Srinivasa Murthy R, Misra AK (1980) Socio-demographic correlates of schizophrenia, affective psychosis and neurosis in a clinic in India. Acta Psychiatr Scand 61: 404–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. C. Verma

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations