Young people’s understanding, attitudes and involvement in decision-making about genome sequencing for rare diseases: A qualitative study with participants in the UK 100, 000 Genomes Project
1st November 2020
Genome sequencing (GS) will have a profound impact on the diagnosis of rare and inherited diseases in children and young people. We conducted 27 semi-structured interviews with young people aged 11–19 having GS through the UK 100, 000 Genomes Project. Participants demonstrated an understanding of the role and function of genes and DNA, however the terms ‘genome’ and ‘genome sequencing’ were less well understood. Participants were primarily motivated to take part to get a diagnosis or identify the gene causing their condition. The majority of participants understood they might not receive a diagnostic result. Most were unconcerned about data security or access, however anxieties existed around what the results might show and the potential for disappointment if the result was negative. Signing an assent form empowered young people, formalised the process and instilled a sense of responsibility for their choice to participate. Most young people (≥16 years) had consented to receive secondary findings and had come to that decision without parental influence. Our research suggests that at least some young people are capable of making informed decisions about taking part in GS, and that involving them in discussions about testing can empower them to take responsibility over healthcare decisions that affect them.
Available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmg.2020.104043