Genomic analysis in the clinic: benefits and challenges for health care professionals and patients in Brazil

Patrícia Ashton-Prolla, José Roberto Goldim, Filippo Pinto e. Vairo, Ursula da Silveira Matte, Jorge Sequeiros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Despite significant advances in the diagnosis and treatment of genetic diseases in the last two decades, there is still a significant proportion where a causative mutation cannot be identified and a definitive genetic diagnosis remains elusive. New genome-wide or high-throughput multiple gene tests have brought new hope to the field, since they can offer fast, cost-effective and comprehensive analysis of genetic variation. This is particularly interesting in disorders with high genetic heterogeneity. There are, however, limitations and concerns regarding the implementation of genomic analysis in everyday clinical practice, including some particular to emerging and developing economies, as Brazil. They include the limited number of actionable genetic variants known to date, difficulties in determining the clinical validity and utility of novel variants, growth of direct-to-consumer genetic testing using a genomic approach and lack of proper training of health care professionals to adequately request, interpret and use genetic information. Despite all these concerns and limitations, the availability of genomic tests has grown at an extremely rapid pace and commercially available services include initiatives in almost all areas of clinical genetics, including newborn and carrier screening. We discuss the benefits and limitations of genomic testing, as well as the ethical implications and the challenges for genetic education and enough available and qualified health care professionals, to ensure the adequate process of informed consent, meaningful interpretation and use of genomic data and definition of a clear regulatory framework in the particular context of Brazil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-283
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Community Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 6 2015


  • Ethical issues
  • Genetic counselling
  • Genetic testing
  • Genomic analysis
  • Informed consent
  • NGS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Genetics(clinical)


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