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VCU survey: US public supports genetic research, testing and government spending on research
Date:12/17/2008

RICHMOND, Va. (Dec. 17, 2008) The 2008 Virginia Commonwealth University Life Sciences survey shows that eight in 10 adults nationwide favor making genetic testing easily available to all who want it, and 54 percent say that the benefits of conducting genetic research outweigh the risks.

Public concerns about genetic research are varied with a plurality of 38 percent saying their main concern is that too little is known about how to conduct such research safely. About three in 10, or 28 percent, say their main concern is that genetic research will be used in ways that violate moral principles, while 21 percent are most concerned about discrimination. A majority of the U.S. public is skeptical that government regulation will protect the public from any risks associated with genetic science.

The VCU Life Sciences Survey, in its eighth year, was conducted by telephone with 1,005 adults nationwide, from Nov. 24 to Dec. 7, 2008. The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points. This is the eighth annual VCU Life Sciences Survey, conducted for VCU Life Sciences and the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences by the VCU Center for Public Policy.

Other survey findings:

Support for government spending on scientific research, especially when it promises immediate benefits. Despite the economic downturn, there is considerable public support for spending on scientific research. Nearly a quarter of respondents, 23 percent, say that government spending on scientific research should be a top priority. Fifty-nine percent say it should be important, but not a top priority. Only 15 percent of adults say that government spending on scientific research is not too or not at all important. Support for spending on research with immediate benefits is stronger than for basic science research. Fifty-four percent of adults say that spending on research with immediate benefits is important, while 38 percent say that spendin
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Contact: Anne Buckley
albuckley@vcu.edu
804-828-6052
Virginia Commonwealth University
Source:Eurekalert

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