Current policy approaches to social and ethical issues surrounding biobanks manifest lack of public information given by researchers and government, despite the evidence that Italian citizens are well informed about technical and other public perspectives of biotechnologies. For this reason, the focus of our survey was to interview our University's students on these aspects. The sample consisted of Padua University students (N = 959), who were administered a questionnaire comprising eight questions covering their knowledge about biobanks, their perception of the related benefits and risks, their willingness to donate samples to a biobank for research purposes, their attitude to having their own DNA profile included in a forensic DNA database, and the reasons behind their answers. The vast majority of the students invited to take part in the survey completed the questionnaire, and the number of participants sufficed to be considered representative of the target population. Despite the respondents' unfamiliarity with the topics explored, suggested by the huge group of respondents answering "I don't know" to the questions regarding Itaian regulation and reality, their answers demonstrate a general agreement to participate in a biobanking scheme for research purposes, as expressed by the 91% of respondents who were reportedly willing to donate their samples. As for the idea of a forensic DNA database, 35% of respondents said they would agree to having their profile included in such a database, even if they were not fully aware of the benefits and risks of such action.This study shows that Italian people with a higher education take a generally positive attitude to the idea of donating biological samples. It contributes to empirical evidence of what Italy's citizens understand about biobanking, and of their willingness to donate samples for research purposes, and also to have their genetic profiles included in a national forensic DNA database. Our findings may have clear implications for the policy discussion on biobanks in Italy, in particular it is important to take into account the Italian population's poor consciousness of forensic DNA database, in order to ensure a better interaction between policy makers and citizens and to make them more aware of the need to balance the individual's rights and the security of society.

Young people's awareness on biobanking and DNA profiling: results of a questionnaire administered to Italian university students

TOZZO, PAMELA;FASSINA, ANTONIO;CAENAZZO, LUCIANA
2017

Abstract

Current policy approaches to social and ethical issues surrounding biobanks manifest lack of public information given by researchers and government, despite the evidence that Italian citizens are well informed about technical and other public perspectives of biotechnologies. For this reason, the focus of our survey was to interview our University's students on these aspects. The sample consisted of Padua University students (N = 959), who were administered a questionnaire comprising eight questions covering their knowledge about biobanks, their perception of the related benefits and risks, their willingness to donate samples to a biobank for research purposes, their attitude to having their own DNA profile included in a forensic DNA database, and the reasons behind their answers. The vast majority of the students invited to take part in the survey completed the questionnaire, and the number of participants sufficed to be considered representative of the target population. Despite the respondents' unfamiliarity with the topics explored, suggested by the huge group of respondents answering "I don't know" to the questions regarding Itaian regulation and reality, their answers demonstrate a general agreement to participate in a biobanking scheme for research purposes, as expressed by the 91% of respondents who were reportedly willing to donate their samples. As for the idea of a forensic DNA database, 35% of respondents said they would agree to having their profile included in such a database, even if they were not fully aware of the benefits and risks of such action.This study shows that Italian people with a higher education take a generally positive attitude to the idea of donating biological samples. It contributes to empirical evidence of what Italy's citizens understand about biobanking, and of their willingness to donate samples for research purposes, and also to have their genetic profiles included in a national forensic DNA database. Our findings may have clear implications for the policy discussion on biobanks in Italy, in particular it is important to take into account the Italian population's poor consciousness of forensic DNA database, in order to ensure a better interaction between policy makers and citizens and to make them more aware of the need to balance the individual's rights and the security of society.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3235190
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