From GenomEthics

Solving the mysteries of developmental disorders: The DDD study

This Wellcome Sanger Institute blog update on the 8 year old study includes a section on Genomethics, which gathered public views towards incidental findings

Solving the mysteries of developmental disorders: The DDD study

16th October 2018

Excerpt from blog:

Navigating the new ethical questions

The study was one of the first of its kind in the world, looking at whole exome sequences of participants. It raised ethical issues, which were carefully considered from the outset, with the help of Professor Michael Parker and Dr Anna Middleton.

One of those questions was around ‘incidental’ findings. These are findings not related to the developmental disorder, and not looked for, but they could be important to the participant. For example, a mutation that increases the risk of developing cancer could be identified in someone’s DNA sequence. After careful consideration and consultation, the DDD team decided not to return these findings, should there be any, but to explore what kind of information people would want from such genome sequencing.

The DDD ethics team gathered the views from ~7,000 people from 75 different countries. They found that most people are interested in receiving genomic data, though not at all costs, particularly if it potentially compromises the ability to conduct research.

Bringing together the views of the public, patients, participants, clinical geneticists and researchers has shaped the debate in the UK and internationally. It has also set a strong precedent for similar projects, as genome sequencing becomes more widely available.

Related Link:


Cranage A (2018). Solving the mysteries of developmental disorders: The DDD study [blog]. Wellcome Sanger Institute Blog. 16 October. Available online at: [Accessed: 12 November 2018]