• Article

Personal utility in genomic testing A systematic literature review

Researchers and clinicians refer to outcomes of genomic testing that extend beyond clinical utility as ‘personal utility’. No systematic delineation of personal utility exists, making it challenging to appreciate its scope. Identifying empirical elements of personal utility reported in the literature offers an inventory that can be subsequently ranked for its relative value by those who have undergone genomic testing. A systematic review was conducted of the peer-reviewed literature reporting non-health-related outcomes of genomic testing from 1 January 2003 to 5 August 2016. Inclusion criteria specified English language, date of publication, and presence of empirical evidence. Identified outcomes were iteratively coded into unique domains. The search returned 551 abstracts from which 31 studies met the inclusion criteria. Study populations and type of genomic testing varied. Coding resulted in 15 distinct elements of personal utility, organized into three domains related to personal outcomes: affective, cognitive, and behavioral; and one domain related to social outcomes. The domains of personal utility may inform pre-test counseling by helping patients anticipate potential value of test results beyond clinical utility. Identified elements may also inform investigations into the prevalence and importance of personal utility to future test users.


Kohler, J. N., Turbitt, E., & Biesecker, B. B. (2017). Personal utility in genomic testing: A systematic literature review. European Journal of Human Genetics, 25, 662-668. https://doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2017.10

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