The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) requests financial support to partially defray speaker and participant travel expenses for an "Ancestry Inference Roundtable" to be held in May, 2012, in Chicago, IL. This meeting will build on an earlier ASHG position statement (ASHG, 2008) and the recommendations of an ASHG ancestry task force, which were published in the American Journal of Human Genetics (Royal et al., 2010). The purpose of the meeting will be to facilitate further discussion with a broader community of ancestry researchers, direct-to-consumer ancestry testing companies, and other stakeholders and to develop best practices and guidelines regarding genetic ancestry inference in academia and industry.
The specific aims of the roundtable are to develop: 1. Best practices for inferring genetic and genomic ancestry;2. Guidelines for the application and presentation of genetic ancestry inference results in different settings in industry and academia - personal ancestry testing, genetic epidemiology, genetic anthropology, etc.;3. Strategies for encouraging use of best practices and guidelines;4. Mechanisms for determining and addressing the potential impact of genetic ancestry inference on individuals and communities;and 5. Recommendations for education and engagement about genetic ancestry information. A Planning Committee of experts representing a diverse and essential constituency, chaired by Dr. Charmaine Royal and Dr. Michael Bamshad, has been assembled and will provide intellectual direction for the project. The roundtable discussions will be organized and hosted by ASHG, which is also providing financial and logistical support.
The Ancestry Inference Roundtable, hosted by the American Society of Human Genetics, will engage ancestry-testing companies, consumers, community leaders, advocacy and interest groups, geneticists, social and behavioral scientists, healthcare providers, legal professionals, federal agencies, and other key stakeholders in productive discussion about major issues regarding genetic ancestry inference in academia and industry, and to brainstorm practical solutions. The products of the roundtable-practice recommendations and guidelines-will facilitate use of appropriate methods for inferring genetic ancestry;facilitat accurate use of population identifiers;facilitate appropriate use of genetic ancestry inferences;facilitate accurate interpretations of genetic ancestry information;and reduce the potential for harm to research subjects, their communities, and society.