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Curiosity driving personal genetic testing among scientists

Report of a story in the news   |   By Rebecca Bazeley   |   Published 11 October 2011

Source: Nature

People are definitely curious about their personal genomic information, according to a survey by Nature magazine.

The survey, which generated 1,588 responses, examined attitudes towards genome sequencing. While only 18.2% of respondents had had their genome sequenced or analysed, 66% of those who hadn’t would take the opportunity should it arise. Curiosity was quoted by both groups as the main single influencing factor. Cost, for these two groups, was the main bar.While half of tests uncovered health risks and almost half uncovered other previously unknown, but non-health related information, 95.5% of those tested reported no negative outcomes from having their genome sequenced or analysed. The most common type of analysis was a genome scan (57.8%), with only 9.0% of those undertaking a test having had their full genome sequenced. However, whole genome sequencing would be the test of choice - 83.6% would opt for this given the opportunity. Scientists dominated the survey sample, although the fields of public health and medicine were also represented.  For those who would not have their genome sequenced or analysed, worries about what might be found, concerns about privacy and doubts about the overall usefulness of the information were the strongest deterrents. 

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