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Genet Med. 2015 Aug;17(8):644-50. doi: 10.1038/gim.2014.163. Epub 2014 Dec 11.

Researchers' views on informed consent for return of secondary results in genomic research.

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Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center and New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York, USA.
Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.
The Hastings Center, Garrison, New York, USA.
Department of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.
1] Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA [2] Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.



Previous studies have suggested that genomic investigators generally favor offering to return at least some secondary findings to participants and believe that participants' preferences should determine the information they receive. We surveyed investigators to ascertain their views on four models of informed consent for this purpose: traditional consent, staged consent, mandatory return, and outsourced consent.


We performed an online survey of the views regarding return of secondary results held by 198 US genetic researchers drawn from our subject pool for an earlier study. Potential participants were identified through the National Institutes of Health RePORTER database and abstracts from the 2011 American Society of Human Genetics meeting.


Under circumstances in which resource constraints are not an issue, approximately a third of respondents would endorse either staged consent or traditional consent; outsourced consent and mandatory return are favored by only a small minority. However, taking resource constraints into account, roughly half the sample would favor traditional consent, with support for staged consent dropping to 13%.


Despite their liabilities, traditional approaches to consent are seen as the most viable under current circumstances. However, there is considerable interest in staged consent, assuming the infrastructure to support it can be provided.

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