The Incorporation of Predictive Genomic Testing into Genetic Counseling Programs
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This study explored whether genetic counseling programs are incorporating instruction about the applications and techniques of predictive genomic testing (PGT) based on student recollection, and whether this is perceived as adequate by those students. For the purpose of this study, PGT was defined as the use of genome-based testing to assess a person’s risk, or susceptibility, of developing a disorder with either a known or suspected genetic component. Surveys from 114 graduates were analyzed. The majority of respondents indicated that PGT was covered in their curriculum including methodology, information generated, benefits, risks, limitations, and impact on the field of genetic counseling. A statistically significant increase in incorporating information about PGT as a whole from 2008 to 2011 was also reported. The majority of respondents reported that coverage of PGT prepared them for the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC) board exam (80.6 %), to interpret PGT test results (60.2 %) and to identify clinical situations warranting testing (53.1 %). Although the majority of respondents indicated learning about a wide variety of aspects surrounding PGT, many recent graduates indicated their training was less likely to cover aspects essential for the clinical application of PGT. Therefore, genetic counseling programs should place a greater emphasis on these skills, and the development of continuing education opportunities aimed at increasing genetic counselors abilities to interpret and discuss PGT tests and identify clinical situations warranting such testing may be helpful.
KeywordsPredictive genomic testing Genome sequencing Genomic medicine Genetic counseling Education Predictive testing
This research was conducted as part of a genetic counseling capstone project. The authors would like to thank Dr. Susanne Haga at Duke University and Dr. Gurav Dave, statistical consultant from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for their help with this project.
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.
Conflict of Interest
Ryan Noss and Nancy Callanan declare that they have no conflict of interest. Rachel Mills provided contracting services for the laboratory testing company GeneDx at the time this manuscript was drafted.
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