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10 Tips On How To Discuss Genome Sequencing With Family Members



In 2009, the cost for a consumer to sequence his or her genome was $49,000. It’s all the way down to $1,000 today. As the price continues to become more affordable, the frequency of the average Joe sequencing his genome will likely increase. However, many individuals are wary of the idea of knowing more information about their genetic make-up than necessary. It could cause needless fear. On the other hand, it could also prepare you for the worst. 

The Wall Street Journal recently shared some tips on how to bring up the idea of genome sequencing with family members:

  1. The best time to have family conversations about genetic testing is well before there are results.
  2. Family holidays or reunions may be a difficult time for intense genetic discussions; approaching people individually may work better.
  3. Ask family members to consider whether they would want to know information that you may discover.
  4. Think about what you want to say and how your relatives may react.
  5. Be aware that delivering potentially bad news about genetics can make family members upset with you.
  6. Seek out help from a trained advisor to discuss how to present information.
  7. Ask a genetic counselor or other advisor to prepare a letter summarizing findings that can be given to family members.
  8. Let family members know that a genetic counselor or other expert can meet with them in person or set up conversations with them to answer questions.
  9. Recognize that some family members may not want to know the information.
  10. If you are involved in a research study, consider designating a family member who can receive relevant genetic results in the event you pass away.

Genome sequencing, a critical aspect of precision medicine, could help you detect diseases that you’ve already succumbed to or indicate genetic deficiencies that could turn into something more serious later on. Having this data at your fingertips, and sharing it with family and even the greater community public, could match you with a drug or clinical trial, or help researchers with drug discovery.

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Eugene Sefanov

Director, Industry and Regional Marketing

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