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Donor and non-donor perspectives on receiving information from routine genomic testing of donor blood.

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Jensen, Kyle 
Raivola, Vera 
Kakkos, Athina 


BACKGROUND: Genomic testing is already used by blood collection agencies (BCAs) to identify rare blood types and ensure the best possible matching of blood. With ongoing technological developments, broader applications, such as the identification of genetic markers relevant to blood donor health, will become feasible. However, the perspectives of blood donors (and potential blood donors) on routine genomic testing of donor blood are under-researched. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Eight online Focus Groups were conducted: four with donors and four with non-donors. Participants were presented with three hypothetical scenarios about the current and possible future applications of genomic testing: Performing rare blood type testing; identifying donors with genetic markers associated with iron metabolism; and identifying donors with genetic markers associated with bowel cancer. RESULTS: Testing to identify rare blood types was perceived to be an appropriate application for the BCA to undertake, while identifying markers associated with iron metabolism and cancer genetic markers were only partially supported. Participants raised concerns about the boundaries of acceptable testing and the implications of testing for privacy, data security, and health insurance. Perspectives of donors and non-donors on all scenarios were similar. DISCUSSION: The principles of who benefits from genomic testing and the perceived role of BCAs were key in shaping participants' perspectives. Participants generally agreed that testing should be directly related to blood donation or be of benefit to the recipient or donor. Findings indicate that consent and communication are key to the acceptability of current and expanded genomic testing.


Funder: Australian governments


donors, ethics, genomics, Humans, Blood Donors, Genetic Markers, Focus Groups, Genetic Testing, Iron

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