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Predictive genetic diagnostics as an instrument of disease prevention

The best prerequisite for effective disease prevention is early detection. Science is aware of a growing number of genetic variants tied to our predisposition to disease. Prevention or early detection is a possibility for some. Genetic diagnostics is constantly improving while costs are sinking. At the same time the number of questionable tests that are sold over the Internet is rising. They are directed at the consumer, however often they are not accompanied by qualified genetic advice. A working group, established by the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina together with the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Science and Humanities and the German Academy of Science and Engineering acatech, presented an expert report on the opportunities and limits of predictive genetic diagnostics in healthy people in autumn 2010.

The expert report helps answer the following questions:

  • When does predictive genetic diagnostics make sense in terms of preventing disease and when not?
  • How can questionable offers over the Internet be dealt with sensibly?
  • What demands do improved technological capabilities make on diagnostics?
  • How can current laws in Germany, particularly the Gene Diagnostics Law, be developed further? 


  • National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBAW) (for the Union of German Academies of Sciences)
  • German Academy of Science and Engineering acatech

Spokesperson of the Working Group

  • Prof. Dr. Peter Propping ML
    Institut für Humangenetik, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

Members of the Working Group

  • Prof. Dr. Claus Bartram ML
    Humangenetik, Heidelberg
  • Prof. Dr. Matthias Brandis ML
    Pädiatrie, Freiburg
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Cremer ML
    Humangenetik, München
  • Prof. Dr. Detlev Ganten ML
    Pharmakologie und molekulare Medizin, Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Reiner Leidl
    Gesundheitsökonomie, München
  • Prof. Dr. Markus Löffler
    Medizinische Informatik, Leipzig
  • Prof. Dr. André Reis ML
    Humangenetik, Erlangen
  • Prof. Dr. Hans-Hilger Ropers
    Humangenetik, Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Jörg Schmidtke
    Humangenetik, Hannover
  • Prof. Dr. Ludger Schöls
    Neurologie, Tübingen
  • Prof. Dr. Karl Sperling ML
    Humangenetik, Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Jochen Taupitz ML
    Medizinrecht, Mannheim
  • Prof. Dr. Gerd Utermann ML
    Humangenetik, Innsbruck
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Walter ML
    Klinische Biochemie und Pathobiochemie, Würzburg
  • Prof. Dr. Karl Werdan ML
    Innere Medizin / Kardiologie, Halle (Saale)
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Urban Wiesing
    Medizinethik, Tübingen

ML = Member of the Leopoldina



Dr. Kathrin Happe

Scientific officer, Deputy Head of Department

Phone 0345 - 47 239 - 862
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 839
E-Mail kathrin.happe @leopoldina.org