Europeans and biotechnology in 2010: winds of change?

Topic Selected: Cloning and Stem Cells

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The latest Eurobarometer survey on the Life Sciences and Biotechnology, based on representative samples from 32 European countries and conducted in February 2010, points to a new era in the relations between science and society. While entrenched views about GM food are still evident, the crisis of confidence in technology and regulation that characterised the 1990s – a result of BSE, contaminated blood and other perceived regulatory failures – is no longer the dominant perspective. In 2010 we see a greater focus on technologies themselves: are they safe? Are they useful? And are there ‘technolite’ alternatives with more acceptable ethical-moral implications? Europeans are also increasingly concerned about energy and sustainability. There is no rejection of the impetus towards innovation: Europeans are in favour of appropriate regulation to balance the market, and wish to be involved in decisions about new technologies when social values are at stake.

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