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As whole-exome sequencing (WES) and whole-genome sequencing (WGS) move into routine clinical practice, it is timely to review data that might inform the debate regarding secondary findings (SF) and the development of policies that maximize participant benefit.We systematically searched for qualitative and quantitative studies that explored stakeholder views on SF in WES/WGS. Framework analysis was undertaken to identify major themes.Forty-four articles reporting the views of 11,566 stakeholders were included. Stakeholders were broadly supportive of returning "actionable" findings, but definitions of actionability varied. Stakeholder views on SF disclosure exist along a spectrum: potential WES/WGS recipients' views were largely influenced by a sense of rights, whereas views of genomics professionals were informed by a sense of professional responsibility. Experience with genetic illness and testing resulted in greater caution about SF, suggesting that truly informed decisions require an understanding of the implications and limitations of WES/WGS and possible findings.This review suggests that bidirectional interaction during consent might best facilitate informed decision making about SF and that dynamic forms of consent, allowing for changing preferences, should be considered. Research exploring views from wider perspectives and from recipients who have received SF is critical if evidence-based policies are to be achieved.Genet Med 19 3, 283-293.

Original publication




Journal article


Genetics in medicine : official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics

Publication Date





283 - 293


Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Humans, Incidental Findings, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Truth Disclosure, Genomics, Genome, Human, Qualitative Research, Informed Consent, Exome, Whole Genome Sequencing, Whole Exome Sequencing