Genetic technology including genetic test and screening, gene therapy and genetic enhancement is developing rapidly. As genetic technology and other technologies relevant to human biology are developed, society will faced a host of complex ethical, legal, and social issues. One of the most complex sets of issues involves our choices over who will access to these technologies. There is a great concern that the mischiefs of genetic technology may outstrip its benefits. In addition, another question has been raised who should benefit from the development of genetic technology. Problems of distributional justice arise under the condition of scarce resources. Whether achievements of genetic research should be distributed according to need or ability-to-pay needs to be answered. The aim of this study is to investigate Korean citizens" perception on genetic technology and distributional justice, specifically focusing on application and limit of genetic test and screening, gene therapy and genetic enhancement. A national survey was carried out using telephone interview from April 20th to May 20th in 2004. A total of 1,004 citizens (male : female = 48.2% : 51.8%) were randomly sampled in proportion to the number of population of 16 regions. The questionnaire consisted of 16 questions about overall impact of genetic technology, application of genetic test, potential for discrimination on the basis of genetic information, permissibility of and intent to use gene therapy, access to genetic technology, and so on. First, 71.0% of the respondents perceived that the development of genetic technology would ensure healthier life whereas 17.8% were worried about its adverse effects. In terms of application of genetic test, 90.3% responded that genetic test would be helpful for finding missing children 71.2% for criminal investigation. 75.9% and 56% were worried about the adverse effects if genetic information was used for recruiting and subscribing to insurance, respectively. Given the benefits that people will obtain from genetic technologies, people will not be able to satisfy their demand. In the past, society encountered shortages of supply of medical services. Sooner or later certain conditions must be satisfied in order for someone to gain access to genetic technologies. Overall, Korean citizens seem to have both positive and negative perception on the development and use of genetic technology. They have intention to use genetic technology for treating diseases while they feel concern about potentials for genetic discrimination or genetic class. Achievements of genetic research should be distributed according to need or ability-to-pay needs. The government needs to play an important role in ensuring equal access to genetic technology for every citizen.
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