About What can Google tell us about the public’s awareness of genetic testing in Australia?

It is a critical time to understand the level of awareness of the general public in Australia of genetic testing, the opportunities it offers for public health, and the risks it poses, in order to make informed decisions about its use in society. In this seminar we will discuss how we used Google Trends data analyses to explore the public awareness of DNA testing and to ascertain the nature of the public search queries. We examined and compared world-wide and Australian internet search trends relating to genetic testing in the years for which this data is available (i.e., since 2004). These comparisons reveal that Australia ranks in the top three countries globally for the relative number of queries relating to genetic testing. Using thematic analysis, we explored variations and anomalies within Australia on a state-by-state basis and the nature of the queries here and overseas. Analyses reveal gaps in Australians’ knowledge of genetic testing relative to the rest of the world and also show that popular media events affect search behaviours. The findings of this study will be discussed in terms of the implications for science education.

Dr Caitlin Curtis

Dr Curtis is interested in genomics, technology and their impacts on society, and she is particularly interested in privacy issues surrounding genomic data. Her versatile science and science communication skills make her a valuable member of the Centre for Policy Futures’ Science, Technology and Society research program. Dr Curtis has experience applying molecular tools in combination with ecological studies and historical records, to gain new insights into ecology and archaeology. Her work has involved the analysis of DNA from a range of species (from sawfish to seals) and she has used next generation sequencing technologies to investigate ancient, mummified remains and modern avian species.

A/Prof Kim Nichols

Kim Nichols is an Associate Professor of Education at the University of Queensland. As a former scientist, she is interested in classroom applications of the conventions, practices and contemporary ideas of the science community and the development of scientific literacy. Her research focuses on pedagogical and curriculum reform around Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics contemporary discoveries with a particular interest in "wicked problems" such as environmental sustainability and the social and ethical implications of genomics technologies.


Date: 12 October 2018

Time: 11:15am-12:30pm

Room: Building 24, Room s402



Building 24, Room s402