Advancing Global Precision Medicine: An Overview of Genomic Testing and Counseling Services in Malaysia

OMICS. 2017 Dec;21(12):733-740. doi: 10.1089/omi.2017.0136. Epub 2017 Nov 27.


Precision medicine, genomic and diagnostic services are no longer limited to developed countries. This broadening in geography of biomarker applications and omics diagnostics also demands empirical study of implementation, diagnostic testing, and counseling practices in the field. For example, the Malaysian population has large ethnic diversity and high prevalence of genetic disorders such as hemoglobinopathies and metabolic disorders. Increased morbidity and mortality from such diseases have a direct impact on society and health system sustainability and for this, decision-making becomes of outmost importance. We report here on our findings on the landscape of genomic testing and genetic counseling services in Malaysia. We first defined the framework of all Malaysian stakeholders that offer genomics services and next, we identified the related information gaps, as depicted through the service providers' online websites. Our research framework revealed that there is a very diverse spectrum of genomics services in Malaysia, in which wet- and dry-laboratory services integrate. Moreover, we identify the current gaps and possible remedies to improve the quality of genomic and predictive analytics, not to mention considerations to ensure robust ethics and responsible innovation. To our knowledge, this is the first such study to be performed for a Southeast Asian country. Our genomics and precision medicine services mapping strategy presented in this study may serve as a model for field assessment at regional, national, and international levels as precision medicine is expanding globally and new governance challenges and opportunities continue to emerge for smart implementation science.

Keywords: Malaysia; genetic counseling; genetic testing; precision medicine; public health genomics.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Counseling / statistics & numerical data
  • Genetic Testing / statistics & numerical data
  • Genomics / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Malaysia
  • Precision Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Public Health / statistics & numerical data