Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Personal Genomics: What Do Consumers Want?

Credit: vege/adobe

Credit: vege/adobe

By Sylvia Metcalfe

Are Australian consumers excited or cynical about the promises of personal genome tests, and are they adequately prepared for the information they’ll receive?

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Are you intrigued by what your genes can tell you? Do they contain information that piques your curiosity about your ancestors or whether you should undertake certain types of sport? Or which diet is best for you and which medications will or won’t work? And what about which illnesses you might develop in the future?

These are the marketing claims of the companies selling personal genomic tests online, but what do you, the reader, think about this as a potential consumer? What would you want to know and how much?

We are asking these very questions of all Australians in an exciting new research study called Genomics: National Insights of Australians (GeNIOz). Why? Because we believe that for society to gain the most benefit from new genetic technologies people should be able to draw on unbiased information so they can make informed decisions and understand their ethical implications. Right now, we don’t know much about what Australians think about the tests based on these advances in genetic science, or to what extent they are using these and where they are seeking information to decide about testing.

In the past 10 years or so there has been a paradigm shift from testing just one gene at a time – usually to diagnose a genetic condition when there are symptoms or because of a specific family history – to being able to test our entire genome. This has...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.