Citizens' Attitudes, Knowledge, and Educational Needs in the Field of Omics Sciences: A Systematic Literature Review

Giovanna Elisa Calabrò, Michele Sassano, Alessia Tognetto, Stefania Boccia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The huge development of omics sciences is changing the classical medical approach and making new technologies available. In this context, education of citizens is essential to allow appropriate decisions about their own health. Hence, we aimed to summarize existing literature regarding citizens' knowledge, attitudes, and educational needs on omics sciences. Methods: We performed a systematic literature review (SLR) using Pubmed, ISI Web of Science, and Embase databases. The eligibility criteria for inclusion in this review required that the studies investigated knowledge, attitudes, or educational needs regarding omics sciences among the general population. Results: We included 54 studies, published between 2006 and 2020. Most of the included studies (72%) investigated citizens' knowledge, half of them (56%) attitudes, and 20% educational needs in the field of omics sciences, while 52% investigated attitudes and perceptions about genetic and/or omics tests. Most studies (64%) reported a limited knowledge level among citizens, even though most (59%) reported participants understood the benefits of the use of omics sciences into medicine. As for omics tests, a controversial opinion toward their use into practice was reported among citizens. Most of the studies (82%) investigating citizens' educational needs highlighted a clear gap to be filled. Conclusions: Our SLR summarizes current knowledge on citizens' literacy, attitudes, and educational needs on omics science, underlining the need for strengthening public engagement on this topic. Further research is needed, however, to identify appropriate methods and models to achieve such an improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number570649
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Publication statusPublished - Oct 23 2020


  • citizens' literacy
  • educational needs
  • genetic/omics knowledge
  • omics sciences
  • personalized medicine
  • public attitudes
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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