Lots of buzz in clinical genomics circles recently about policies for dealing with incidental findings. For the non-genomically inclined, the term “incidental findings” refers to potentially risky genetic sequences detected secondarily in patients with tricky-to-diagnose conditions who’ve had their full genomes—or the protein-coding exome portion—sequenced in search of specific disease culprits.
While covering the annual American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics conference in Nashville for GenomeWeb last week, I attended a panel discussion about the ACMG’s 2013 guidelines for reporting incidental findings back to patients (more on that here).
The majority of audience respondents to an impromptu digital poll held during the panel expressed support for giving patients the choice to opt out of receiving incidental findings. That sentiment appears to be widespread, according to the ACMG. The organization updated its guidelines on Tuesday to allow for that opt out option, citing feedback from its members over the past year.