Perspectives of Rare Disease Experts on Newborn Genome Sequencing

JAMA Netw Open. 2023 May 1;6(5):e2312231. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.12231.


IMPORTANCE: Newborn genome sequencing (NBSeq) can detect infants at risk for treatable disorders currently undetected by conventional newborn screening. Despite broad stakeholder support for NBSeq, the perspectives of rare disease experts regarding which diseases should be screened have not been ascertained.

OBJECTIVE: To query rare disease experts about their perspectives on NBSeq and which gene-disease pairs they consider appropriate to evaluate in apparently healthy newborns.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This survey study, designed between November 2, 2021, and February 11, 2022, assessed experts’ perspectives on 6 statements related to NBSeq. Experts were also asked to indicate whether they would recommend including each of 649 gene-disease pairs associated with potentially treatable conditions in NBSeq. The survey was administered between February 11 and September 23, 2022, to 386 experts, including all 144 directors of accredited medical and laboratory genetics training programs in the US.

EXPOSURES: Expert perspectives on newborn screening using genome sequencing.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The proportion of experts indicating agreement or disagreement with each survey statement and those who selected inclusion of each gene-disease pair were tabulated. Exploratory analyses of responses by gender and age were conducted using t and χ2 tests.

RESULTS: Of 386 experts invited, 238 (61.7%) responded (mean [SD] age, 52.6 [12.8] years [range 27-93 years]; 126 [52.9%] women and 112 [47.1%] men). Among the experts who responded, 161 (87.9%) agreed that NBSeq for monogenic treatable disorders should be made available to all newborns; 107 (58.5%) agreed that NBSeq should include genes associated with treatable disorders, even if those conditions were low penetrance; 68 (37.2%) agreed that actionable adult-onset conditions should be sequenced in newborns to facilitate cascade testing in parents, and 51 (27.9%) agreed that NBSeq should include screening for conditions with no established therapies or management guidelines. The following 25 genes were recommended by 85% or more of the experts: OTC, G6PC, SLC37A4, CYP11B1, ARSB, F8, F9, SLC2A1, CYP17A1, RB1, IDS, GUSB, DMD, GLUD1, CYP11A1, GALNS, CPS1, PLPBP, ALDH7A1, SLC26A3, SLC25A15, SMPD1, GATM, SLC7A7, and NAGS. Including these, 42 gene-disease pairs were endorsed by at least 80% of experts, and 432 genes were endorsed by at least 50% of experts.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this survey study, rare disease experts broadly supported NBSeq for treatable conditions and demonstrated substantial concordance regarding the inclusion of a specific subset of genes in NBSeq.

PMID:37155167 | PMC:PMC10167563 | DOI:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.12231