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Genetic ancestry analysis on >93,000 individuals undergoing expanded carrier screening reveals limitations of ethnicity-based medical guidelines

Kristjan E. Kaseniit, Imran S. Haque, James D. Goldberg, Lee P. Shulman, Dale Muzzey
2020 Genetics in Medicine  
Carrier status associates strongly with genetic ancestry, yet current carrier screening guidelines recommend testing for a limited set of conditions based on a patient's self-reported ethnicity. Ethnicity, which can reflect both genetic ancestry and cultural factors (e.g., religion), may be imperfectly known or communicated by patients. We sought to quantitatively assess the efficacy and equity with which ethnicity-based carrier screening captures recessive disease risk. For 93,419 individuals
more » ... 93,419 individuals undergoing a 96-gene expanded carrier screen (ECS), correspondence was assessed among carrier status, self-reported ethnicity, and a dual-component genetic ancestry (e.g., 75% African/25% European) calculated from sequencing data. Self-reported ethnicity was an imperfect indicator of genetic ancestry, with 9% of individuals having >50% genetic ancestry from a lineage inconsistent with self-reported ethnicity. Limitations of self-reported ethnicity led to missed carriers in at-risk populations: for 10 ECS conditions, patients with intermediate genetic ancestry backgrounds-who did not self-report the associated ethnicity-had significantly elevated carrier risk. Finally, for 7 of the 16 conditions included in current screening guidelines, most carriers were not from the population the guideline aimed to serve. Substantial and disproportionate risk for recessive disease is not detected when carrier screening is based on ethnicity, leading to inequitable reproductive care.
doi:10.1038/s41436-020-0869-3 pmid:32595206 fatcat:fxblo4tmqvez5hlecwhjht27d4