Gene editing is a promising but controversial area of biomedical research involving precise changes to an organism’s DNA sequence. It has the potential to cure genetic diseases and enhance human abilities, but it also raises concerns about unintended consequences and ethical implications.
As the technology for gene editing in humans continues to advance, it is important to consider the public’s perceptions of this technology and its potential implications. To better understand how people feel about this technology, Real Research, an online survey app, conducted a survey to gather insights on public perception of gene editing in humans.
By shedding light on the public’s perceptions, this report insight can help bridge the gap between scientific innovation and societal concerns, ensuring that gene editing is developed and used in a responsible and ethical manner.
Here are the key findings of the survey report:
- 58.51% were very familiar with the term “gene editing,” while 4.41% were not at all familiar
- 34.3% believed that gene editing would have more benefits than downsides
- 32.63% believed that there should be no limits on the changes that can be made through gene editing
Familiarity with the Term “Gene Editing”
The survey results show that 83.15% of respondents are familiar with the term gene editing, with 58.51% being very familiar and 24.64% being somewhat familiar. Only 12.44% of the respondents had only heard of the term, and 4.41% were not familiar with it at all.
Familiarity with Gene Editing Techniques
Among the seven approaches to genome editing, Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) is the most well-known, with 13.98% of respondents being familiar with it.
Programmable Addition via Site-specific Targeting Elements (PASTE) is the second most familiar approach, with 13.39% being aware of it. The least familiar approach is Zinc Finger Nucleases (ZFN), with only 10.38% being familiar with it. Notably, 18.08% of respondents were not familiar with any of the gene editing approaches presented.
Perceived Advantages of Gene Editing in Humans
The respondents were asked to choose the main advantage of gene editing in humans.
Treating genetic disorders was the most popular choice, with 34.28% of the respondents selecting it. Preventing genetic diseases was the second most popular choice, with 26.77%. Developing personalized medicine and enhancing the immune system were the third (22.17%) and fourth (11.53%) most popular choices, respectively.
Perceived Disadvantages of Gene Editing in Humans
The survey also asked the respondents to choose the main disadvantage of gene editing in humans. Unintended genetic changes were considered the most significant disadvantage, according to 38.25%. The possibility of creating new diseases was the second most popular choice by 30.69%. Ethical concerns with modifying the genes of embryos (19.63%) and the possibility of making permanent changes to the human genome (6.97%) were also considered significant disadvantages.
Limits on Gene Editing in Humans
Regarding limits on the changes that can be made through gene editing, 32.63% of the respondents believed there should be no limits.
However, the majority (67.37%) of the respondents believed that there should be limits, with 20.49% stating that gene editing should only be used for treating genetic disorders and 18.77% stating that it should only be used for preventing genetic disorders. Enhancing physical (13.99%) or intellectual abilities (14.12%) was considered less important.
Balancing Benefits and Drawbacks
Regarding the perceived balance between the benefits and drawbacks of gene editing, the respondents’ opinions are almost equally divided.
34.3% believe gene editing would have more benefits than downsides, while 31.12% believe gene editing would have more downsides than benefits. The remaining 34.58% believe gene editing would have equal benefits and downsides.
Ethics of Gene Editing
When determining the ethics of gene editing in humans, the respondents (28.72%) believe that potential risks should be considered. Potential health benefits (27.48%) and the impact on future generations (23.3%) are also deemed essential factors.
Support for Gene Editing in Humans
The survey also asked the respondents about their level of support for gene editing in humans if it becomes widely available in the future.
The findings showed that the majority (52.56%) of respondents were in favor of gene editing, with 27.17% very supportive and 25.39% somewhat supportive. Only 14.53% were opposed to it. The rest of the respondents (32.91%) were neutral, indicating that they were either unsure or did not have a strong opinion on the matter.
|Survey Title||Public Perception of Gene Editing in Humans|
|Duration||March 01 – March 08, 2023|
|Number of Participants||10,000|
|Demographics||Males and females, aged 21 to 99|
|Participating Countries||Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia,… Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.|
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