Experiences and attitudes of residents regarding a community-based genome cohort study in Japan: a population-based, cross-sectional study

BMC Med Genomics. 2016 Mar 15:9:14. doi: 10.1186/s12920-016-0175-8.


Background: Because of the rapid development in genomics, more research findings have emerged. However, the association between society and research results remains controversial. This article examines the experiences and attitudes of residents regarding a community-based genomic cohort study.

Methods: This study was conducted as a part of the health survey of the City Health Promotion section. At the conclusion of the first stage of the project, a self-administered questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of 2,500 residents in 2012.

Results: The response rate was 59 % (n = 1477/2500). The findings show that 70 % of males and 50 % of females knew nothing about the project. Females and elderly people were more likely to have knowledge of the study, indicating that self-rated understanding of the terminology is statistically associated with the level of awareness regarding the project. In addition, those who were aware of the project were also aware of the benefits of research utilizing genetic information, whereas unaware respondents, particularly males, believed that unexpected negative effects may occur. Those with higher self-rated understanding of the terminology and higher awareness of benefit of the research utilizing genetic information had more positive attitudes toward undergoing drug susceptibility genetic testing, indicating that the awareness of project in females and concerns toward genetic research are not statistically associated with the willingness to undergo.

Conclusions: This study suggests that a community-based genome cohort project helps raise awareness of benefit of genetic research and that knowledge, however, does not directly affect the willingness to participate in related activities, such as drug susceptibility genetic testing. Therefore, additional research that focuses on the circular relationship between risk and action must be conducted in the future.

Keywords: Drug susceptibility; Familiarity; Genome study; Japan; Public attitude.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Testing
  • Genome, Human*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Residence Characteristics*