Aggregated News

a close up photo of a newborn's feet

Plans to sequence the whole genome of every newborn in the UK in order to spot those at heightened risk of certain health conditions have been given a boost, with consultations suggesting the approach could have public support.

The potential for genomics to improve health was at the heart of the chief medical officer annual report of 2016, with a group of experts convened by Genomics England – a government-owned genetics service – subsequently recommending a research programme to sequence the whole genome of all newborns.

The approach was backed by the UK’s former health secretary Matt Hancock who in November 2019 said it “will give every child the best possible start in life by ensuring they get the best possible medical care as soon as they enter the world”.

Now Genomics England says discussions with the public have offered support for the plans.

“Our consultation shows that really carefully done [whole genome sequencing of newborns] would have some public support,” Prof Sir Mark Caulfield, chief scientist at Genomics England, told the Guardian, adding that consultations with professionals were... see more