Fostering public engagement in the ethical and social implications of genetic technologies

EthicsAndGenetics: Our Perspective

Notions of ‘citizen participation’, ‘citizen science’, ‘responsible innovation’ and a ‘public ethics’ are commonly invoked in contemporary literature on good governance and policymaking in science and technology. The Nuffield Council on Bioethics (UK) report, “Emerging Biotechnologies: Technology, Choice and the Public Good” is a case in point, with its focus on the social, economic and political environment in which new technologies emerge and policy and regulatory decisions are taken. The centrality accorded to public consultation is a key feature of the report. The consensus in the literature is that public participation in science and technology – and specifically genetic engineering, as in the case of Nuffield’s report – is a valuable social good. We agree.   Fostering public involvement in decision-making in relation to bioscience policy has both ethical and ...
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