Better informed than they were fifteen years ago, Europeans are demonstrating a greater degree of confidence and optimism in respect to the progress of biomedicine and industrial biotechnologies. Nevertheless, they remain mainly opposed to 'genetic modification, or cloning' in agriculture, and therefore, also in food. George Gaskell of the London School of Economics, Scientific Coordinator of the analysis of the sixth Eurobarometer Biotechnology survey (2005), takes us through these trends.
Who knows nothing about stem-cell research, progress in prenatal diagnosis, the problems of co-existence of GM and traditional agriculture, or the trivialisation of genetic fingerprinting? Anything that comes into contact with rapid advances in biological sciences is now the subject of an intense flow of information and debates in the media that are registering higher and higher in public perception.
The distrusting nineties
'Europeans are displaying increasi
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