The reckoning: The return of genomic results to 1444 participants across the eMERGE3 Network

Genet Med. 2022 May;24(5):1130-1138. doi: 10.1016/j.gim.2022.01.015. Epub 2022 Feb 23.


Purpose: The goal of Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) Phase III Network was to return actionable sequence variants to 25,084 consenting participants from 10 different health care institutions across the United States. The purpose of this study was to evaluate system-based issues relating to the return of results (RoR) disclosure process for clinical grade research genomic tests to eMERGE3 participants.

Methods: RoR processes were developed and approved by each eMERGE institution's internal review board. Investigators at each eMERGE3 site were surveyed for RoR processes related to the participant's disclosure of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants and engagement with genetic counseling. Standard statistical analysis was performed.

Results: Of the 25,084 eMERGE participants, 1444 had a pathogenic or likely pathogenic variant identified on the eMERGEseq panel of 67 genes and 14 single nucleotide variants. Of these, 1077 (74.6%) participants had results disclosed, with 562 (38.9%) participants provided with variant-specific genetic counseling. Site-specific processes that either offered or required genetic counseling in their RoR process had an effect on whether a participant ultimately engaged with genetic counseling (P = .0052).

Conclusion: The real-life experience of the multiarm eMERGE3 RoR study for returning actionable genomic results to consented research participants showed the impact of consent, method of disclosure, and genetic counseling on RoR.

Keywords: Consent; Genetic counseling; Genomic medicine; Return of results; eMERGE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Disclosure
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Genome*
  • Genomics*
  • Humans
  • Population Groups