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To Explain What They Mean

The US National Institutes of Health's All of Us project is teaming up with the company Color to provide genetic counseling to study participants, as the agency has announced.

The All of Us program kicked off last May and plans to enroll one million Americans to provide biological samples as well as data from their medical records, genetic testing, and more with the goal of speeding up health research and uncovering new disease treatments.

The program awarded $4.6 million to Color to develop a genetic counseling resource to help participants understand genetic testing results they may receive and incorporate those results into their medical care. "Returning results in a responsible way is integral to what All of Us stands for," Eric Dishman, the director of the program, says in a statement. "Participants are our partners in research, who may want to receive their own health data, including genomics. The genetic counseling resource will help our participants interpret and act upon their health information."

As GenomeWeb reports, the resource Color is developing for the research project will build off what it does commercially — it offers cancer genetic testing and associated genetic counseling, typically information is provided through videos and online prior to testing and phone counseling after testing.

Nature News adds that the All of Us project aims to include individuals from groups that are typically underrepresented in biomedical research. It notes that what a genetic variant means could vary by ethnic background, but Color tells it that it is cognizant of that. "We've worked with a lot of diverse communities," Alicia Zhou, vice president of research and scientific affairs at Color, tells Nature News.