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Fingers in the Ears

The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics released guidelines earlier this year outlining what incidental findings uncovered through exome or whole genome sequencing should be returned to patients whether or not they are related to the reason why those patients sought genetic analysis. The nearly 60 variants are linked to medically actionable disorders for which the patients could seek additional screening or take preventive measures.

The New Scientist argues that patients should be able to decide whether they want to receive those results. "The intentions are laudable, but routine disclosure may not always be welcome," the magazine says.

"Experience so far suggests that most people will opt to learn everything that a sequence has to say. But if, after counseling, a family decides there are some risks they would rather not explore, should they not have that right?" it adds.