Policy ForumPoint-Counterpoint

Ethics and Genomic Incidental Findings

Science  31 May 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6136, pp. 1047-1048
DOI: 10.1126/science.1240156

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The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) recently issued a statement (1) recommending that all laboratories conducting clinical sequencing seek and report pathogenic and expected pathogenic mutations for a short list of carefully chosen genes and conditions. The recommendations establish a baseline for reporting clinically relevant incidental findings and articulate ethical principles relevant to their disclosure. The ACMG acknowledged that the list will evolve over time and is developing a mechanism for community input (2). This paper focuses on the ethical framework for the recommendations, rather than on the choice of which genes to include on the list.

  • Although some of us (A.L.M., R.C.G.) were members of the ACMG Working Group that wrote the recommendations, this paper does not represent the official views of the Working Group or the ACMG.