76 percent of Millennials want to know what’s in their DNA

More than half (53 percent) of U.S. consumers want to know what’s in their DNA, according to a new survey, yet only 7 percent of respondents say that their doctor has discussed genetic screening with them.

The nationwide survey, conducted by marketing research company ORC International among a representative sample of 1,020 adults, explored knowledge of and attitudes toward genetic testing among adult consumers. The strong interest in genetic screening that is evident from the survey can be attributed to a variety of factors, but may point to an interest among consumers in using genetic screening to be more proactive about their healthcare.

What’s more, the perceived benefits of knowing about potential health problems and any impact on future generations outweighs the fear or anxiety of finding out, with only 11 percent of respondents saying they would be scared to find out what’s in their DNA and more than half wanting to find out.

Other notable findings from the survey include:

Few respondents understand that the right time to do genetic screening is before starting a family

The survey found that awareness of the benefits of genetic screening are not lacking, with 78 percent of respondents aware that DNA can tell them if they could pass on genetic diseases to their children, and 70 percent wanting to find out if they could pass on a genetic disease. However, those numbers are in sharp contrast to the 28 percent of respondents who think it should be done before deciding to start a family.

Millennials are most interested in their DNA

Younger respondents are the most likely to have thought about finding out what’s in their DNA, as well as to actually want to know what’s in it. Of respondents aged 18-24, 84 percent have thought about finding out what’s in their DNA and of those who’ve considering genetic screening, 76 percent want to know their results. This is in contrast to 44 percent of respondents over 65 who have considered genetic screening and only 32 percent of those respondents who would want to know results.

DNA screening may be poised to become mainstream, but doctors are more apt to talk with patients about family history

While the results show a positive attitude toward DNA information with nearly all respondents (94 percent) believing you should do genetic screening at all, it appears few doctors are speaking to their patients about it. Only seven percent of respondents said that their doctor had discussed genetic screening with them. However, 41 percent of respondents said their doctor has discussed family history with them.

The survey was commissioned by Counsyl.