A Systematic Review of the Management of Incidental Findings in Genomic Research


  • Cornelius Olukunle Ewuoso West African Bioethics Center, Ashi, Bodija, Oyo State, Nigeria.


Genomic research, consensus, incidental findings, review, return.


Information empowerment has been the greatest gain of genomics, yet it also poses serious threat to its survival, especially when the information is incidental. There may be an emerging consensus that actionable incidental findings be returned. But this has not been supported by any systematic review. Future directions are equally missing. These are significant gaps.

To fill these gaps, an online search on PubMed and Genetics in Medicine website was conducted between 20th of August to 23rd of October, 2013; combining certain filters and phrases, such as ‘return incidental findings’.  19 articles were selected from an avalanche of result, and reviewed. The review confirms a majority support for return of clinically actionable findings (68.42%). The result also shows that the support represents views of Northern Americans (USA 84.2% and Canada 15.8%). Critical contributions of Africans, Asians and Europeans are missing in this discourse. I recommended studies in this direction.

Author Biography

Cornelius Olukunle Ewuoso, West African Bioethics Center, Ashi, Bodija, Oyo State, Nigeria.

PhD student at the Center for Applied Ethics, Department of Philosophy, Stellenbosch University, Western Cape, South Africa





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