AN EPIDEMIOLOGIC-BASED SURVEY OF PUBLIC ATTITUDES TOWARDS PREDICTIVE GENETIC TESTING IN RUSSIA
Makeeva OA, Markova VV, Roses AD, Puzyrev VP: An epidemiologic-based survey of public attitudes towards predictive genetic testing in Russia. Personalized Medicine. 7(3), 291-300 (2010).
Key words: genetic testing, predictive diagnostics, direct-to-consumer genetic services, preventable health conditions, common diseases, genetic risk assessment, public attitude, genetic discrimination.
Many new genetic tests for common multifactorial disorders are becoming available to individuals, including direct-to-consumer genotyping services. Typically, studies of public attitudes reveal a high level of interest for individual genotyping.
In a Russian urban population, 85% of 2000 respondents answered positively to a question about their own willingness to undergo predictive genetic testing for preventable health conditions. Gender, age, and health status significantly influenced response. Multivariate discriminate analyses revealed that: 1) wanting to know about probable future diseases, 2) readiness to improve lifestyles, and 3) an interest in learning about individual genome characteristics are the most important predictors for wanting to be tested. Along with the high level of interest, highly overestimated expectations were encountered in many studies.
With the low predictive abilities of currently available genetic tests for common disorders, proper interpretation of the data and genetic counseling are essential. There is a need for prospective validation of genetic panels for risk assessments and for efforts to measure the effects of genetic information disclosure and how this information might contribute to lifestyle changes.