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01.12.2017 | Protocol | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Systematic Reviews 1/2017

Ethical, social, and cultural issues related to clinical genetic testing and counseling in low- and middle-income countries: protocol for a systematic review

Systematic Reviews > Ausgabe 1/2017
Adrina Zhong, Benedict Darren, Helen Dimaras
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s13643-017-0535-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



There has been little focus in the literature on how to build genetic testing and counseling services in low- and middle-income countries in a responsible, ethical, and culturally appropriate manner. It is unclear to what extent this area is being explored and what form further research should take. The proposed knowledge synthesis aims to fill this gap in knowledge and mine the existing data to determine the breadth of work in this area and identify ethical, social, and cultural issues that have emerged.


An integrated knowledge translation approach will be undertaken by engaging knowledge users throughout the review to ensure relevance to their practice. Electronic databases encompassing various disciplines, such as healthcare, social sciences, and public health, will be searched. Studies that address clinical genetic testing and/or counseling and ethical, social, and/or cultural issues of these genetic services, and are performed in low- and middle-income countries as defined by World Bank will be considered for inclusion. Two independent reviewers will be involved in a two-stage literature screening process, data extraction, and quality appraisal. Studies included in the review will be analyzed by thematic analysis. A narrative synthesis guided by the social ecological model will be used to summarize findings.


This systematic review will provide a foundation of evidence regarding ethical, social, and cultural issues related to clinical genetic testing and counseling in low- and middle-income countries. Using the social ecological model as a conceptual framework will facilitate the understanding of broader influences of the sociocultural context on an individual’s experience with clinical genetic testing and counseling, thereby informing interdisciplinary sectors in future recommendations for practice and policy.

Systematic review registration

PROSPERO CRD42016042894
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