December 9, 2002

MEDIA CONTACT: Monique Harris
Genetics and Public Policy Center
Berman Bioethics Institute
PHONE: 202-663-5979
E-MAIL: mharri40@jhu.edu

Americans Deeply Divided About Use of Genetic Technologies in Reproduction
First Detailed Survey Probes Public's Views about "Designer Babies"

Washington, DC, December 9, 2002 –Americans are both hopeful and fearful about the rapidly advancing power of scientists to manipulate human reproduction, according to a new survey released today by the Genetics and Public Policy Center, a Johns Hopkins effort funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The survey explored the knowledge and attitudes of 1,211 respondents about reproductive cloning, genetic testing, and genetic modification and preferences about government regulation. "These technologies give us the power to manipulate the most personal and profound of human activities –beginning a new human life," said Kathy Hudson, Ph.D., director of the Center.
Highlights of the survey:

"As decision-makers struggle with how to guide the development and use of these powerful technologies, the options they consider must reflect society's values and priorities," said Hudson, who is former assistant director of the Human Genome Project of the National Institutes of Health. According to Hudson, the Center will not advocate for particular policies, but rather will provide objective, credible policy analysis and information to a wide range of professional and lay audiences. The Center is already exploring the survey findings in greater detail and reaching out to scientists, religious leaders, health professionals, and patients.

The project is funded with a $9.9 million grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts, the largest grant ever made to look at the legal, social, and policy implications of reproductive genetic technologies.

A complete copy of the survey, which was conducted by the Princeton Survey Research Associates, can be found at www.dnapolicy.org/polls

The Genetics and Public Policy Center is a part of the Phoebe R. Berman Bioethics Institute at Johns Hopkins University. The mission of the Genetics and Public Policy Center is to create the environment and the tools needed by decision makers in both the private and public sectors to carefully consider and respond to the challenges and opportunities that arise from scientific advances in genetics.

 




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