Self-guided management of exome and whole-genome sequencing results: changing the results return model

Genet Med. 2013 Sep;15(9):684-90. doi: 10.1038/gim.2013.35. Epub 2013 Apr 25.


Researchers and clinicians face the practical and ethical challenge of if and how to offer for return the wide and varied scope of results available from individual exome sequencing and whole-genome sequencing. We argue that rather than viewing individual exome sequencing and whole-genome sequencing as a test for which results need to be "returned," that the technology should instead be framed as a dynamic resource of information from which results should be "managed" over the lifetime of an individual. We further suggest that individual exome sequencing and whole-genome sequencing results management is optimized using a self-guided approach that enables individuals to self-select among results offered for return in a convenient, confidential, personalized context that is responsive to their value system. This approach respects autonomy, allows individuals to maximize potential benefits of genomic information (beneficence) and minimize potential harms (nonmaleficence), and also preserves their right to an open future to the extent they desire or think is appropriate. We describe key challenges and advantages of such a self-guided management system and offer guidance on implementation using an information systems approach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Exome
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Privacy*
  • Genetic Research / ethics*
  • Genetic Testing*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Genomics / ethics*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / ethics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA*