Background: Variants of the APOL1 gene increase risk for kidney failure 10-fold, and are nearly exclusively found in people with African ancestry. To translate genomic discoveries into practice, we gathered information about effects and challenges incorporating genetic risk in clinical care.
Methods: An academic-community-clinical team tested 26 adults with self-reported African ancestry for APOL1 variants, conducting in-depth interviews about patients' beliefs and attitudes toward genetic testing- before, immediately, and 30 days after receiving test results. We used constant comparative analysis of interview transcripts to identify themes.
Results: Themes included: Knowledge of genetic risk for kidney failure may motivate providers and patients to take hypertension more seriously, rather than inspiring fatalism or anxiety. Having genetic risk for a disease may counter stereotypes of Blacks as non-adherent or low-literate, rather than exacerbate stereotypes.
Conclusion: Populations most likely to benefit from genomic research can inform strategies for genetic testing and future research.