Objective: This paper presents the results of the first public consultation for the creation of a large-scale genetic database, the Quebec CARTaGENE project. A consultation has been undertaken in order to gauge whether the general public is receptive to the project. An integral part of the approach of the researchers is to establish a dialogue with the public.
Methods: Two independent expert groups have carried out qualitative and quantitative studies measuring knowledge of and interest in genetics, incentives and obstacles to CARTaGENE participation and comprehension and evaluation of the communication tools.
Results: CARTaGENE is seen to hold promise for the greater population. However, reported across qualitative and quantitative studies is the concern for confidentiality and respect for the individual, transparency, the donor's right to feedback and governance. Participation would be conditional on a response to those concerns and a greater dissemination of information.
Conclusion: Community engagement in genetic research requires targeted communications, with an appropriate proportioning of information and communication, and a consideration of the 'values and personal interests' of individuals according to different societal segments.
Copyright 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.