Intentions to receive individual results from whole-genome sequencing among participants in the ClinSeq study

Eur J Hum Genet. 2013 Mar;21(3):261-5. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2012.179. Epub 2012 Aug 15.


Genome sequencing has been rapidly integrated into clinical research and is currently marketed to health-care practitioners and consumers alike. The volume of sequencing data generated for a single individual and the wide range of findings from whole-genome sequencing raise critical questions about the return of results and their potential value for end-users. We conducted a mixed-methods study of 311 sequential participants in the NIH ClinSeq study to assess general preferences and specific attitudes toward learning results. We tested how these variables predicted intentions to receive results within four categories of findings ranging from medically actionable to variants of unknown significance. Two hundred and ninety-four participants indicated a preference to learn their genome sequencing results. Most often, participants cited disease prevention as their reason, including intention to change their lifestyle behaviors. Participants held positive attitudes, strongly perceived social norms and strong intentions to learn results, although there were significant mean differences among four categories of findings (P<0.01). Attitudes and social norms for medically actionable and carrier results were most similar and rated the highest. Participants distinguished among the types and quality of information they may receive, despite strong intentions to learn all results presented. These intentions were motivated by confidence in their ability to use the information to prevent future disease and a belief in the value of even uninterpretable information. It behooves investigators to facilitate participants' desire to learn a range of information from genomic sequencing while promoting realistic expectations for its clinical and personal utility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Female
  • Genome, Human*
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA*
  • United States