October 11, 2016
(The Atlantic) – Mayo Clinic doctor Michael Ackerman pioneered the so-called molecular autopsy in 1999, using a DNA test to explain the sudden death of a 19-year-old woman with a previously-undiagnosed inherited heart condition. Since then, sequencing DNA has become orders of magnitude cheaper and more sophisticated. With medical examiners considering DNA tests as part of autopsy reports, the molecular autopsy has raised new ethical concerns. Family members, in looking for an explanation for their grief, might end up finding unsettling things about themselves.