The Responsibility to Recontact Research Participants after Reinterpretation of Genetic and Genomic Research Results

Yvonne Bombard, Kyle Bertram Brothers, Sara M. Fitzgerald-Butt, Nanibaa’ ’A Garrison, Leila Jamal, Cynthia A. James, Gail Pairitz Jarvik, Jennifer Blair McCormick, Tanya N. Nelson, Kelly E. Ormond, Heidi L. Rehm, Julie Richer, Emmanuelle Souzeau, Jason L. Vassy, Jennifer K. Wagner, Howard P. Levy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    86 Citations (Scopus)


    The evidence base supporting genetic and genomic sequence-variant interpretations is continuously evolving. An inherent consequence is that a variant's clinical significance might be reinterpreted over time as new evidence emerges regarding its pathogenicity or lack thereof. This raises ethical, legal, and financial issues as to whether there is a responsibility to recontact research participants to provide updates on reinterpretations of variants after the initial analysis. There has been discussion concerning the extent of this obligation in the context of both research and clinical care. Although clinical recommendations have begun to emerge, guidance is lacking on the responsibilities of researchers to inform participants of reinterpreted results. To respond, an American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) workgroup developed this position statement, which was approved by the ASHG Board in November 2018. The workgroup included representatives from the National Society of Genetic Counselors, the Canadian College of Medical Genetics, and the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors. The final statement includes twelve position statements that were endorsed or supported by the following organizations: Genetic Alliance, European Society of Human Genetics, Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors, American Association of Anthropological Genetics, Executive Committee of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Canadian College of Medical Genetics, Human Genetics Society of Australasia, and National Society of Genetic Counselors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)578-595
    Number of pages18
    JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2019


    • genetics
    • genetics policy
    • genomics
    • participants
    • recontact
    • research


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