Mapping the human genome: an assessment of media coverage and public reaction

Genet Med. 2002 Jan-Feb;4(1):31-6. doi: 10.1097/00125817-200201000-00006.


Purpose: To assess public reactions to the June 26, 2000, announcement that scientists had nearly finished mapping the human genome.

Methods: We conducted a random-digit telephone survey of 407 Maryland residents as well as a content analysis of 55 relevant media reports.

Results: African Americans were more likely than Caucasians to report a negative reaction (P < 0.001) to the genome announcement. Overall, privacy/discrimination (16%) and human cloning (14%) were the most commonly mentioned concerns regarding the impact of the genome mapping.

Conclusions: These findings highlight the need for continued public discourse, including through the media, to address concerns regarding the Human Genome Project.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bias
  • Black or African American
  • Data Collection
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Female
  • Genetic Privacy
  • Human Genome Project*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maryland
  • Mass Media
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Opinion
  • Telephone
  • White People