Background: In human genetics research, it has become common practice for researchers to consider returning genetic information to participants who wish to receive it. Research participants in lower-resource settings may have barriers or competing interests that reduce the benefit or relevance of such information. Thus, the decision to return genetic information in these settings may involve special considerations of participants' interests and preferences. In this project, our goal was to assess Bangladeshi research participants' attitudes towards receiving information regarding genetic susceptibility to the effects of consuming arsenic-contaminated drinking water, a serious environmental health concern in Bangladesh and other countries.
Methods: We administered a short questionnaire to 200 individuals participating in the Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study. Associations between survey responses and participant characteristics were estimated using logistic regression.
Results: Overall, 100% of our participants were interested in receiving information regarding their genetic susceptibility to arsenic toxicities, and 91% indicated that being at increased genetic risk would motivate them to make efforts to reduce their exposure. Lower levels of education showed evidence of association with less concern regarding the health effects of arsenic and lower levels of motivation to reduce exposure in response to genetic information.
Conclusions: Research participants in this low-resource setting appeared interested in receiving information on their genetic susceptibility to arsenic toxicity and motivated to reduce exposure in response to such information. Additional research is needed to understand how best to communicate genetic information in this population and to assess the impact of such information on individuals' behaviors and health.
Keywords: Arsenic; Environmental risk factors; Ethics of genetic research; Return of genetic results.
© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.