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African American mothers’ attitudes towards genetic testing in the InterGEN study


The paucity of representation of people of color, particularly those of African ancestry, is a major issue in contemporary omics research. Metadata summarizing genome-wide association studies from 2005 to 2015 suggest that nearly 80% of participants are of European ancestry and only 2.4% are of African ancestry. Negative attitude towards genetic testing is a commonly cited belief as to why there is low representation of Americans of African ancestry participating in genetic studies. Using the attitudes towards genetic testing survey, administered as part of our parent (epi)genome-wide association study, we characterized the perceptions of genetic research among our cohort of African ancestry women (n = 168). Our data show generally favorable perceptions of genetic testing among our cohort. Further, we demonstrate that more favorable attitudes towards genetic testing correlated with higher levels of income, even when accounting for commonly cited negative predictors such as maternal age, education, country of origin, and religion. Overall, our data characterize generally positive perceptions of genetic testing among women of African ancestry.

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This study was funded by grants R01NR013520 (JYT), K01NR017010 (VB), and K01NR017903 (MLW) from the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to Michelle L. Wright.

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All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. Research data is included as a supplementary file with this manuscript. Further study and data inquiries can be made via the InterGEN website (

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Wright, M.L., Newhall, K., Barcelona, V. et al. African American mothers’ attitudes towards genetic testing in the InterGEN study. J Community Genet 11, 285–290 (2020).

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  • (4-6) Genetic testing
  • African American
  • Attitudes
  • InterGEN
  • Women