Background : In the era of human genome research, there is a large theoretical debate among scientists and authorities on the ethical dimension based on the moral liberty of the individuals and the scientific and economic dimension based on the freedom and the independence of the scientific and technological activities. Meanwhile, the understanding of beliefs on human cloning (HC) and its acceptability are important for the development of evidence-based policy making. However, previous research in the field of public beliefs towards human genetics is limited. Therefore, in the present study, we investigated the role of public beliefs as predictors of the acceptability of the respondents to use HC.
Methods : Personal interviews were conducted with 1020 men and women of urban areas in Greece. Stratified random sampling was performed to select participants. Several scientists, experts in HC, evaluated the content of the instrument initially developed. The final questionnaire was the result of a pilot study.
Results : The acceptability of HC for the cure of incurable diseases and transplantation need is very high (70.7 and 58.6%, respectively). Public's intention to have recourse to HC because of “bringing” back to life a loved person or because of reproductive disorders was reported by 35 and 32.5%, respectively. With respect to the role of beliefs: increasing scores of reasons of social benefits, moral/religious reasons and legislative reasons increased the public's intention to have recourse to HC; inversely, decreasing scores of reasons of human commodification/exploitation increased public's intention to have recourse to HC. Additionally, low rates of church attendance appeared to be correlated with high reported acceptability of HC.
Conclusion : There is great public concern regarding the application of HC, which probably reflects the existing ambivalence over the relationship between technology and society. Scientists and policymakers should take into account these indicators of public disquiet and should manage the public involvement in policy decisions, from which they have so far been excluded.
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Tzamalouka, G.S., Papadakaki, M., Soultatou, P. et al. Predicting human cloning acceptability: a national Greek survey on the beliefs of the public. J Assist Reprod Genet 22, 315–322 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10815-005-5916-0
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