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Am J Med Genet A. 2008 Jul 1;146A(13):1696-706. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.32322.

Relationship between public attitudes toward genomic studies related to medicine and their level of genomic literacy in Japan.

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Department of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Yamanashi, Yamanashi, Japan.


The aim of this study was to assess public attitudes toward the promotion of genomic studies related to medicine and to examine the relationship between public attitudes and the level of genomic literacy by analyzing data from a nationwide opinion survey. The participants comprised 4,000 people (age, 20-69) selected from the Japanese general population by using the two-step stratified random sampling method. They were queried on the following topics in a mail survey: (1) pros and cons of the promotion of genomic studies related to medicine, (2) level of scientific literacy in genomics, (3) demographic and socioeconomic background, and (4) knowledge and attitudes toward science in general and genetic testing in particular. We examined the relationship between the approval of promotion and literacy level, using logistic regression models stratified by gender. Our results showed the response rate was 54.3% (2,171/4,000), and 69.4% participants favored the promotion of genomic studies related to medicine. Only 1.3% participants expressed a negative attitude. Multivariate analysis revealed that approval of promotion was related to a high literacy score. This relationship was stronger in males than in females (the highest quartile of score vs. the lowest: adjusted odds ratio, 3.36 for males and 1.86 for females; 95% confidence interval, 1.88-5.98 for males and 1.17-2.95 for females). We determined that a majority of the Japanese participants currently approved of the promotion of genomic studies related to medicine and that people with a high level of genomic literacy tended to approve the promotion.

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