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1.  Understandings of Basic Genetics in the United States: Results from a National Survey of Black and White Men and Women 
Public Health Genomics  2010;13(7-8):467-476.
This study examined understandings of basic genetic concepts among Americans.
In a national telephone survey of 1,200 Americans with equal representation among Black and White men and women, subjects responded to 8 items developed by a multidisciplinary team of experts that assessed understanding of basic concepts in multiple domains, including inheritance, genetics and race, and genetics and behavior.
Over 70% of subjects responded correctly on items about the genetic similarity of identical twins and siblings. Less than half of subjects responded correctly on all other items. Understanding of genetics was lowest in three areas: types/locations of genes in the body (29% correct), a genetic basis for race (25% correct), and the influence of single genes on behaviors (24% correct). Logistic regression models controlling for age and education showed some differences by race and gender on specific items but also showed that understandings are generally similar across these groups.
Misunderstandings about genetics are common among Black and White American men and women. Responses appear to reflect personal experiences, group values and interests. These findings emphasize the need for initiatives to improve the public's genetic literacy as well as a need for further investigation in this domain.
PMCID: PMC3025896  PMID: 20203477
Gender; Genetic knowledge; Race; Survey; Understanding
2.  Considerations for Designing a Prototype Genetic Test for Use in Translational Research 
Public Health Genomics  2009;13(3):155-165.
Translational research is needed to explore how people will respond to personal genetic susceptibility information related to common health conditions. Maximizing the rigor of this research will require that genetic test results be returned to study participants. Currently, there is no established method that guides the selection of genetic variants to be used in research with these objectives.
Methods and Results
To address this question, we designed a process to identify gene variants and health conditions to be included in a prototype genetic test for use in a larger research effort, the Multiplex Initiative. The intention of this exploration was to facilitate research that generates individual genetic test results that are returned to study participants. Inclusion criteria were developed as part of a transdisciplinary and iterative process that considered the weight of evidential support for genetic association with common health conditions, the appropriateness of use in human subjects research, and the recommendations of expert peer reviewers.
The selection process was designed to identify gene variants for the limited purpose of translational research and, therefore, should not be seen as producing a valid clinical test. However, this example of an applied selection process may provide guidance for researchers who are designing studies to evaluate the implications of genetic susceptibility testing through the return of personalized genetic information. As the rate of genomic discoveries increases, such research will be essential in steering the translation of this information towards the greatest public health benefit.
PMCID: PMC2837884  PMID: 19729884
Clinical utility; Common disease; Genetic epidemiology; Genetic testing

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