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Push for Sequencing

Scientists in Canada are calling for national coverage of genome sequencing for children with rare conditions, similar to what the UK is to soon offer, the National Post reports.

It add that, beginning next year, the National Health Service in England is to offer gene sequencing to all seriously ill children who have yet to be diagnosed and their parents. "The UK has got the whole thing figured out," Stephen Scherer, the director of the applied genomics center at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, tells the National Post. "We need a national strategy in this country, and we don't have one."

According to the National Post, there is an effort afoot in Ontario to cover gene sequencing for children with unexplained developmental delay.

Robin Hayeems, a health policy researcher at the University of Toronto, notes that broader sequencing could cut back on the testing odyssey that patients undergo, but could also uncover unexpected secondary findings. She cautions that Ontario should follow a "cautious, evidence-informed approach" to offering gene sequencing and could learn from the UK's experience.