What is GenCOUNSEL?
For patients and families with unexplained health conditions, genome-wide sequencing can provide much-needed answers, but it can also raise a lot of questions. We are trying to figure out the best ways to provide genetic counselling for genome-wide sequencing in Canada so that we can best support these families. We will be looking into different clinical, ethical, and economic methods to make sure there is equitable access to genetic counselling and testing for all Canadians.
What is genetic counselling?
Genetic counselling is a communication process that helps patients and their families understand the causes of genetic conditions, adapt to the emotions that they may have about having an inherited condition in their family, and make informed decisions about genetic testing, treatment, screening, and family planning.
What is genome-wide sequencing?
Genome-wide sequencing (also known as genome or exome sequencing) is a type of genetic testing that can help identify the genetic causes of a health condition. A person’s DNA contains letters which spell out the instructions to build your body and maintain its function. When parts of a person’s DNA are spelled differently, this may cause health concerns. Genetic testing looks at the spelling of the letters in someone’s genetic code to see if there are any letters that are different than expected. Genome-wide sequencing is a really broad type of genetic testing, and the information uncovered through this test may have impacts on other family members, lead to unexpected emotional reactions, privacy concerns, and health decisions.