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Mixed support for genetics

Largest US survey ever finds public accepts some genetic technology, wants govt control.

Laura DeFrancesco(defrancesco1@earthlink.net)

Two surveys assessing public opinion of genetic technology released this week show the public is positive yet circumspect about the uses of genetic technology. A brief survey of more than 1,000 consumers and physicians, commissioned by the life science supplier Amersham Biosciences, found the public generally optimistic about the impact of genetic testing on health, while concerned about keeping the information private. A more comprehensive survey conducted by Johns Hopkins University's (JHU) Genetics & Public Policy Center found the majority of respondents able to find merit in genetic technology for health-related purposes, but they were far less supportive for non-health related applications. A strikingly large number of respondents from all walks of life favor government regulation of genetic technology.

The JHU survey, "Public Awareness and Attitudes About Genetic Technologies," funded by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, surveyed 1,211 adults, mostly white, middle-class and with at least a...

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