Public attitudes to human gene therapy: a pilot study in Wales

Rachel Iredale, Gina Dolan, Kevin McDonald, Maggie Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to explore some factors influencing perceptions of human gene therapy.

METHOD: A small qualitative study using two semi-structured interviews per participant (n = 22). The groups comprised (1) people with cystic fibrosis and members of their family (n = 9), and (2) students from a science evening class as well as lay members of the public selected from the practice list of a local general practitioner (n = 13).

RESULTS: This pilot study demonstrates support for somatic gene therapy and ambivalence about germline gene therapy. A clear distinction is drawn between therapy and enhancement, with the majority opposing gene enhancement.

CONCLUSIONS: Attitudes towards the acceptability of gene therapy are not necessarily determined by experience of, or exposure to, a genetic condition. More research is needed with the general public to determine what is perceived to be acceptable public policy in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-46
Number of pages8
JournalCommunity Genetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Female
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Public Opinion
  • Qualitative Research
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wales


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