Attitudes of non-African American focus group participants toward return of results from exome and whole genome sequencing

Am J Med Genet A. 2014 Sep;164A(9):2153-60. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.36610. Epub 2014 May 20.

Abstract

Exome sequencing and whole genome sequencing (ES/WGS) present individuals with the opportunity to benefit from a broad scope of genetic results of clinical and personal utility. Yet, it is unclear which genetic results people want to receive (i.e., what type of genetic information they want to learn about themselves) or conversely not receive, and how they want to receive or manage results over time. Very little is known about whether and how attitudes toward receiving individual results from ES/WGS vary among racial/ethnic populations. We conducted 13 focus groups with a racially and ethnically diverse parent population (n = 76) to investigate attitudes toward return of individual results from WGS. We report on our findings for non-African American (non-AA) participants. Non-AA participants were primarily interested in genetic results on which they could act or "do something about." They defined "actionability" broadly to include individual medical treatment and disease prevention. The ability to plan for the future was both a motivation for and an expected benefit of receiving results. Their concerns focused on the meaning of results, specifically the potential inaccuracy and uncertainty of results. Non-AA participants expected healthcare providers to be involved in results management by helping them interpret results in the context of their own health and by providing counseling support. We compare and contrast these themes with those we previously reported from our analysis of African American (AA) perspectives to highlight the importance of varying preferences for results, characterize the central role of temporal orientation in framing expectations about the possibility of receiving ES/WGS results, and identify potential avenues by which genomic healthcare disparities may be inadvertently perpetuated.

Keywords: exome sequencing; return of results; whole genome sequencing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Exome / genetics*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods*