Science News

What do you want to know?

Sun, 10th May 2015

Kat Arney

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Regular listeners may remember the Genomethics survey I mentioned in a recent podcast. Led by Anna Middleton, itís designed to discover public attitudes towards genetic testing. Now the first results are in, with 98 per cent of the 7,000 people from 75 different countries whoíve taken the survey so far saying that they want to be informed if researchers looking at their genetic data find gene faults or variations linked to serious preventable or treatable disease. However, fewer wanted to know if their genomes revealed information about less serious conditions, or had currently uncertain consequences for their health.

This is important because while scientists have identified many genetic markers for certain diseases, just carrying a particular gene fault or variation linked to a particular condition isnít a guarantee that youíll develop it. thereís still much about our genes and genomes that we donít understand, let alone be able to use to benefit peopleís health. But studies like the Genomethics survey help to reveal public attitudes to genetics research, which will help scientists and policymakers ensure that their plans fit with what the public want.

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