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Genetic Literacy Awareness in the US Population

Public Health Genomics; ePub 2018 May 31; Krakow, et al

A large percentage of the US population lacks genetic testing awareness and may benefit from educational campaigns, a new study suggests. Researchers used data from the National Cancer Institute’s 2017 Health Information National Trends Survey, including measures of genetic testing awareness, genetic testing applications, and genetic testing usage. They found:

  • Only 57% of respondents were aware of genetic tests.
  • Testing awareness differed by age, income, and race/ethnicity.
  • Most participants had heard of using tests to determine personal disease risk (82.5%) or inherited disease in children (81.4%), but less were familiar with determining treatment (38.3%) or drug efficacy (40.7%).
  • Actual testing was low among those with genetic testing awareness.


Krakow M, Ratcliff CL, Hesse BW, Greenberg-Worisek AJ. Assessing genetic literacy awareness and knowledge gaps in the US population: Results from the Health Information National Trends Survey. [Published online ahead of print May 31, 2018]. Public Health Genomics. doi:10.1159/000489117.