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Cradle and a Sequence

A plan to sequence all newborns in the UK could have public support, the Guardian reports.

Former UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock voiced his support of the idea in November 2019 and said that sequencing infants could give them the "best start in life," as the Telegraph reported at the time. While proponents noted that such a widespread sequencing program could predict which kids are at an increased risk of developing disease, critics have raised concerns about privacy, consent, and the applicability of results to under-studied populations, the Guardian adds.

Genomics England, the UK National Screening Committee, and UK Research and Innovation's Sciencewise program have conducted workshops and webinars to gauge the public's view of the plan, according to the Guardian. While full results from these efforts are to be presented this week, the paper says the results suggest possible public support. "Our consultation shows that really carefully done [whole genome sequencing of newborns] would have some public support," Mark Caulfield, chief scientist at Genomics England, tells the Guardian.