Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Genome sequencing is now a sufficiently mature and affordable technology for clinical use. Its application promises not only to transform clinicians' diagnostic and predictive ability, but also to improve preventative therapies, surveillance regimes, and tailor patient treatment to an individual's genetic make-up. However, as with any technological advance, there are associated fresh challenges. While some of the ethical, legal and social aspects resulting from the generation of data from genome sequencing are generic, several nuances are unique. Since the UK government recently announced plans to sequence the genomes of 100,000 Health Service patients, and similar initiatives are being considered elsewhere, a discussion of these nuances is timely and needs to go hand in hand with formulation of guidelines and public engagement activities around implementation of sequencing in clinical practice.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





576 - 585


Clinical Ethics and Law Unit, Wessex Clinical Genetics Service, The Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton, SO16 5YA, UK.