Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

U.S. Public Supports Genetic Research, Testing And Government Spending On Research, New Survey Finds

Date:
December 17, 2008
Source:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Summary:
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.

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 spending on research that advances knowledge even if there are no immediate benefits is important.

Which is more important: nature or nurture? When asked the more important influence on behavior -- the environment or genes -- a majority of respondents, 57 percent, said the environment. Similarly, most take the position that environmental factors and living practices can alter a person's likelihood for disease. Two-thirds of Americans disagree that "a person's likelihood for disease is pretty much set from birth and cannot be greatly increased or decreased by their environment and living practices."

Science and society. Fully 83 percent of Americans say that new developments in science have helped make society better. Forty-six percent say science has helped make society a lot better, while 36 percent say it has helped make society somewhat better. More than six in 10, or 61 percent, agree that scientific research is essential for improving the quality of human lives. Some ambivalence in public sentiment continues to surface when it comes to how science matches up with moral principles. A majority of the public, 53 percent, says that scientific decisions should be based primarily on an analysis of the risks and benefits involved rather than the moral and ethical issues involved, cited by 32 percent. At the same time, a majority, 56 percent, agrees that scientific research doesn't pay enough attention to the moral values of society.

Embryonic and non-embryonic stem cell research. New scientific developments have changed the landscape of stem cell research. Seven-in-10 adults favor stem cell research when it does not involve human embryos, down slightly from 75 percent just after the November 2007 announcement that human skin cells can be used to create stem cells or their near equivalents. Support for embryonic stem cell research is similar to past years: 57 percent of adults favor embryonic stem cell research, while 36 percent oppose.

Cloning and therapeutic cloning. Opinion about therapeutic cloning is more divided. Fifty-two percent of adults favor and 45 percent oppose using cloning technology for the development of new medical treatments. When cloning is not restricted to therapeutic purposes, about eight in 10, 78 percent, oppose the use of cloning technology in humans. Opinion on both issues has been fairly stable since the first VCU Life Sciences Survey on public opinion about science and biotechnology was conducted in 2001.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Commonwealth University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Commonwealth University. "U.S. Public Supports Genetic Research, Testing And Government Spending On Research, New Survey Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081217101434.htm>.
Virginia Commonwealth University. (2008, December 17). U.S. Public Supports Genetic Research, Testing And Government Spending On Research, New Survey Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081217101434.htm
Virginia Commonwealth University. "U.S. Public Supports Genetic Research, Testing And Government Spending On Research, New Survey Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081217101434.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) Japan's bullet train turns 50 Wednesday. Here's a look at how it's changed over half a century — and the changes it's inspired globally. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) Police body cameras are gradually being rolled out across the US, with interest surging after the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) A look inside Monrovia's Island Hospital, a key treatment centre in the fight against Ebola in Liberia's capital city. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH: We Can Stop Spread of Ebola in Its Tracks

WH: We Can Stop Spread of Ebola in Its Tracks

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reaffirmed the administration's confidence in the CDC's ability to keep the Ebola virus from spreading. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins