The PAPG team reported the impacts of incorporating personal whole genome sequencing into “Practical Analysis of Your Personal Genome” (PAPG), a novel laboratory-style medical genomics in which students have the opportunity to sequence their own genome. The paper, “Impacts of incorporating personal genome sequencing into graduate genomics education: a longitudinal study over three course years” in BMC Medical Genomics, describes student attitudes towards genome sequencing, decision-making, psychological wellbeing, genomics knowledge and pedagogical engagement across the 2013-2015 iterations of the course (a total of 59 students). This paper expands upon previous reports on the initial 19 PAPG students.
PAPG is one of several experiments in participatory genomics pedagogy that also include incorporating personal genotyping, analyzing cadaver genomes in anatomy lab, and bench-top sequencing. At present, the cost and complexity of WGS are barriers to implementing educational personal genome sequencing (PGS) more widely. However, in the future we expect WGS to be widely available at low cost; thus the question of whether to incorporate PGS into genomics education will be strictly of the balance between the educational benefits and the possible adverse effects. In this paper we showed that: the prerequisite workshop and associated materials promoted more informed decision-making about PGS; most, but not all students, reported low levels of decision regret and test-related distress; and students reported being more engaged and persistent as a result of sequencing and analyzing their own genome as part of the course. We hope this report about our multi-year experience incorporating PGS into graduate-level genomics education will contribute to the important ongoing discussion on how to most effectively train the much-needed next-generation of genomics professionals.