UK's National Health Service Announces Ambition to Map 5 Million Genomes

Reflection…At the 2019 Festival of Genomics, I heard several presentations on this initiative and its predecessor which has already collected and sequenced 100,000 genomes. I was torn by what I heard. On hand, the potential benefits for health are amazing. On the other, it feels like we are rushing ahead without fully considering the implications. For example, when a person sequences his or her genome some of the results apply not apply to them but to their relatives. Should biological relatives have a role in consent? Also, the number of people with sequenced DNA will rise exponentially faster than the number health professionals and genetics counselors qualified to interpret the results. What happens to patients and research subjects as the field gets up to speed? Very smart, caring people are thinking about these issues, however it’s hard not to feel that the train is moving ahead faster than our ability to drive it.

jacob okada