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GEN News Highlights : Apr 25, 2013

23andMe Survey Demonstrates “Genetics Literacy Gap” Among Americans

Only 2% of surveyed Americans have had a genetic test done, a new 23andMe-comissioned report shows, though 73% of those who haven’t been tested indicated some interest in learning more about their own genetic makeup.

Still, despite this interest in testing, 23andMe has found that many of the Americans surveyed by the research firm Kelton don’t understand the fundamentals of genetics nor how DNA functions.

In particular, the survey—which involved 1,067 adults among a stratified random sample representative of the U.S. population—showed that 80% of respondents were unaware all humans share 99.5% of their DNA.

In a statement, 23andMe senior director of research Joanna Mountain said that her company aims to “close the genetics literacy gap and help educate people about the basics of genetic inheritance, the information about ancestry stored in our DNA, the connections between DNA and health, and the potential benefits of genetic testing.”