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Genet Med. 2014 Jun;16(6):491-4. doi: 10.1038/gim.2013.175. Epub 2013 Nov 7.

Public opinion on policy issues in genetics and genomics.

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Department of Sociology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
Department of Political Science, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA.



The aim of this study was to examine public opinion on major policy issues in genetics and genomics, including federal spending on genetic research, the perceived significance of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and whether clinicians should be involved in direct-to-consumer genetic testing.


This was a survey with a nationally representative sample of 2,100 American adults administered by the nonpartisan research firm YouGov in January 2011.


The majority of the respondents (57%) believe that the federal government should spend more on genetic research, 82% rank the 2008 antidiscrimination law as "important," and 65% say that clinicians should be involved in explaining genetic test results (contra the practice of some direct-to-consumer companies). On all three policy issues, gender and political party affiliation were statistically significantly associated with respondents' views, whereas race/ethnicity and education were less consistently associated with policy opinions.


Americans demonstrate widespread support for scientific research on genetics, laws protecting citizens against genetic discrimination, and the need to involve medical professionals in the process of genetic testing. These results are useful for scientists designing research projects, clinicians interacting with patients, professional organizations lobbying for resources, federal agencies setting budget priorities, and legislators designing regulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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