[Policy Statement] New recommendations on genetic testing for children released

Feb 24 – The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) update recommendations for childhood genetic testing based on advances in genetic technology.

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Image: CC/SDietzel

In a released statement: 

  1. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) update recommendations for childhood genetic testing based on advances in genetic technology.
  2. The statement emphasizes the importance of ensuring parents and where possible, children, are well-informed and that genetic testing is performed in the child’s best interest.

While screening for genetic conditions was once limited to newborn testing, advances in genetic screening now make it possible to test both at-risk as well as asymptomatic, low-risk children for diseases later in life. The AAP and ACGM have released an updated policy statement regarding the role of genetic testing in today’s clinical environment.

Diagnostic testing should be performed with parental permission and, if possible, the child’s assent. All discussions should take place through a clinical geneticist. The groups support offering the required newborn screening that already exists, but do not endorse routine carrier screening. They encourage deferring testing for adult-onset conditions unless a therapeutic intervention in childhood exists or to alleviate psychosocial stress. When testing tissue compatibility for organ donation, they favor using a donor advocate. The groups believe adoptive parents should be informed of their children’s genetic risk factors. Use of direct-to-consumer genetic test kits are discouraged.

Further reading:  

1. Testing children for adult-onset disease [Pediatrics]

2. Parents’ interest in predictive genetic testing for their children when a disease has no treatment [Pediatrics]

3. Parents’ attitudes toward pediatric genetic testing for common disease risk [Pediatrics]

Click to read the study in Pediatrics

By Leah H. Carr and Devika Bhushan

More from this author: Television watching linked with antisocial behavior in children, supporting AAP recommendations; American Academy of Pediatrics releases updated vaccination schedule; Banning smoking in public places linked to reduction in asthma-related hospital admissions; Paternal distress predicts poor early childhood mental health

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