Evaluating genetic ancestry and self-reported ethnicity in the context of carrier screening
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Current professional society guidelines recommend genetic carrier screening be offered on the basis of ethnicity, or when using expanded carrier screening panels, they recommend to compute residual risk based on ethnicity. We investigated the reliability of self-reported ethnicity in 9125 subjects referred to carrier screening. We identified several discrepancies between the two sources of self-reported ethnicity and genetic ancestry. As a result, carrier rates and residual risks provided for patient decision-making are impacted if using self-reported ethnicity. We recommend the routine use of pan-ethnic carrier screening panels in reproductive medicine. Furthermore, the use of an ancestry model would allow better estimation of carrier rates and residual risks.