Survey on the perception of germline genome editing among the general public in Japan (Uchiyama M)
Masato Uchiyama, Akiko Nagai, Kaori Muto.
Survey on the perception of germline genome editing among the general public in Japan.
Journal of Human Genetics(2018)
Genome editing of human embryos could become a fundamental treatment approach for genetic diseases; however, a few technical and ethical issues need to be resolved before its application in clinical settings. Presently, the Japanese government has issued a statement prohibiting human germline editing and emphasizing the need for discussions that include a wide range of perspectives. However, current discussions tend to exclude the general public. Therefore, we conducted a survey of 10,881 general adults and 1044 patients in Japan who indicated that their disease conditions are related to their genetic makeup, and clarified their attitude toward this technology. The results clearly indicated that the Japanese people generally accepted the use of genome editing for disease-related genes, but many were concerned about the risks. In addition, many Japanese people did not understand the technology well. To improve awareness and understanding about genome editing, it is important that scientists and science communicators create opportunities for the public to participate in relevant discussions without harming vulnerable participants. It is also important to continuously track changes in the acceptance of genome editing by the public.