Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the baseline interest of the public in whole-genome sequencing (WGS) for oneself, parents' interest in WGS for their youngest children, and factors associated with such interest.
Methods: A random sample of adults from a probability-based nationally representative online panel was surveyed. All participants were provided basic information about WGS and then asked about their interest in WGS for themselves. Those participants who were parents were additionally asked about their interest in WGS for their children. The order in which parents were asked about their interest in WGS for themselves and for their child was randomized. The relationship between parent/child characteristics and interest in WGS was examined.
Results: The overall response rate was 62% (55% among parents). 58.6% of the total population (parents and nonparents) was interested in WGS for themselves. Similarly, 61.8% of the parents were interested in WGS for themselves and 57.8% were interested in WGS for their youngest children. Of note, 84.7% of the parents showed an identical interest level in WGS for themselves and their youngest children. Mothers as a group and parents whose youngest children had ≥2 health conditions had significantly more interest in WGS for themselves and their youngest children, while those with conservative political ideologies had considerably less.
Conclusions: While US adults have varying interest levels in WGS, parents appear to have similar interests in genome testing for themselves and their youngest children. As WGS technology becomes available in the clinic and private market, clinicians should be prepared to discuss WGS risks and benefits with their patients.
© 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.