News & AnalysisGenome Sequencing

Return of Unexpected DNA Results Urged

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Science  29 Mar 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6127, pp. 1507-1508
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6127.1507

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Summary

Geneticists, ethicists, and physicians reacted with shock to recommendations released last week by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics: that patients undergoing genomic sequencing should be informed whether 57 of their genes put them at risk of serious disease in the future, even if they don't want that information now. The recommendations also apply to children, whose parents would be told even if illness wouldn't strike until adulthood. The advice runs counter to the long-standing belief that patients and parents have the right to refuse DNA results. This is the first time that a professional society has advised labs and doctors what to do when unanticipated genetic results turn up in the course of sequencing a patient's genome for an unrelated medical condition.