Prenatal screening and genetics

P. Alderson, A.R. Aro, T. Dragonas, E. Ettorre, E. Hemminki, P. Jalinoja, P. Santalahti, T. Tijmstra

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Although the term 'genetic screening' has been used for decades, this paper discusses how, in its most precise meaning, genetic screening has not yet been widely introduced. 'Prenatal screening' is often confused with 'genetic screening'. As we show, these terms have different meanings, and we examine definitions of the relevant concepts in order to illustrate this point. The concepts are i) prenatal, ii) genetic screening, iii) screening, scanning and testing, iv) maternal and foetal tests, v) test techniques and vi) genetic conditions, So far, prenatal screening has little connection with precisely defined genetics. There are benefits but also disadvantages in overstating current links between them in the term genetic screening. Policy making and professional and public understandings about screening could be clarified if the distinct meanings of prenatal screening and genetic screening were more precisely observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-233
Number of pages3
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2001


  • genetic screening
  • maternal and foetal tests
  • prenatal screening
  • scanning

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