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The Bind of Incidental Findings

Genetic studies are increasingly able to identify information that could be of benefit to study participants, but many consent forms and other rules often prevent researchers from sharing that information, The New York Times reports. The Times outlines a number of cases in which researchers found that certain study participants had a gene predisposing them to cancer, but the researchers were bound by consent and ethics board rules to not return the results. In addition to consent and ethics issues, the paper adds that many of the results are from research labs, not ones that are certified for clinical analysis. Further, some samples that are used in studies are decades old. "My gut feeling is that there is a moral obligation to return results," says Barbara Koenig from the University of California, San Francisco. "But that comes at an enormous cost. If you were in a study 20 years ago, where does my obligation end?"

The Scan

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.

EHR Quality Improvement Study Detects Demographic-Related Deficiencies in Cancer Family History Data

In a retrospective analysis in JAMA Network Open, researchers find that sex, ethnicity, language, and other features coincide with the quality of cancer family history information in a patient's record.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Linked to Gut Microbiome Community Structure Gradient in Meta-Analysis

Bringing together data from prior studies, researchers in Genome Biology track down microbial taxa and a population structure gradient with ties to ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.

Ancient Greek Army Ancestry Highlights Mercenary Role in Historical Migrations

By profiling genomic patterns in 5th century samples from in and around Himera, researchers saw diverse ancestry in Greek army representatives in the region, as they report in PNAS.