Some say the reformation generated by advances in molecular biology will be as important as that induced by the current revolution in information technologies. Impacts and issues of this transfer of knowledge, taking the form of prognostic medicine, must therefore be examined. In this respect, one of sociologists’ contributions will surely be to examine the various actors’ points of view (geneticists, physicians, scientists, affected or at-risk individuals, citizens) in order to determine, in perceptions as much as in facts, how technical innovations issued from molecular biology can be disseminated in the social imagery as well as in practice. Based on Saguenay-Lac-St. Jean’s experience and the public interventions of the Corporation for Research and Action on Hereditary Diseases, we propose viewing community genetics as a ‘frontier discipline’, a complex network of actors in which social representations, social participation, as well as service evaluation, must be properly understood.

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