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80 Percent of Americans Favor Making Genetic Testing MORE Available

iStock_000007659966XSmall The Virginia Commonwealth University Life Science Center has released the results of the VCU Life Sciences Survey and I thought I’d share some of the interesting results.

The most surprising result of the survey is that 80% of surveyed adults favor making genetic testing “easily available to all who want it,” similar to values in 2001 and 2004.  Don’t tell this to the New York and California Departments of Health!

The Benefits Outweigh the Risks

54% of adults believe that the benefits of genetic testing outweigh the risks, while 25% believe that the risks outweigh the benefits.  It’s interesting to see the education breakdown of this question.  44% of people with a high school degree or less believe that benefits outweigh risks, compared to 67% of people with a college degree or more.  And 29% of people with a high school degree or less believe that risks outweigh benefits, compared to 20% of those with a college degree or more.

Nature vs. Nurture

So which is stronger – our genetic inheritance or our lifestyle/environment?  57% of respondents believe that “our environment and living practices” are “a more important influence on people’s behavior, while 27% believe that it is “the genes we inherit.”  The respondents were also asked how scientists would respond to the same question.  They believed that 42% of scientific experts would say that our genes are a more important influence and 39% would say that our environment and living practices are more influential.

Further Information

See the following links for more coverage of the study: VCU News Center; GenomeWeb News (free reg. required); ScienceDaily.

Blaine Bettinger

Intellectual property attorney, genealogist, and author of The Genetic Genealogist since 2007

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