Bioethics: perceptions of biotechnology and policy implications
Modern biotechnology has already had a great impact on medicine and agriculture. It is important to see these benefits and risks in an international way because the world is becoming smaller and ever more interdependent. Overall, most people in industrialised countries perceive more benefit than harm from science and believe that improved quality of life depends on scientific knowledge. This paper looks at the public awareness and concerns over biotechnology expressed in surveys around the world, discussing the implications for education and information. The issue of risk assessment for environmental release of genetically modified organisms and safety of foods made from these is assessed. The issues of equity and the patenting of living organisms are discussed, as well as public opinion over the patenting of life. The future challenges of biotechnology policy are debated.
Keywords: biotechnology, bioethics, Japan, public perception, risk