The polls–trends: Genetic testing, engineering, and therapy: Awareness and attitudes

Although scientific investigation of the human genome, the biological basis for heredity, is relatively new, public beliefs about nature versus nurture, environment versus heredity as determinants of behavior are very old and have undergone many fluctuations over time. In contrast to the long history of public sentiment in this area, the systematic study of public opinion about genetics and the nature-nurture controversy is very short, spanning at most a half-century. Trends in public awareness, beliefs, and attitudes are documented with respect to some of the issues raised by genetic technology, grouping the findings under eight major headings: 1. awareness of genetic screening/testing and engineering, 2. attitudes toward genetic screening/testing, therapy, and engineering, 3. willingness to undergo testing or therapy, 4. willingness to have fetus or children undergo testing or therapy, 5. attitudes toward abortion in case of genetic disease or defect, 6. concerns about privacy, 7. nature vs. nurture, and 8. cloning: animal and human.