NOTE: Tables are at the end of the text.
I. Bioethics and biotechnology
Bioethics considers the ethical issues raised in biology and medicine, and especially those raised by human activity in society and the environment using biotechnology [1, 2]. The word "biotechnology" simply means using living organisms, or parts of them, to provide goods or services. The word can apply to agriculture in the past thousands of years, but is often used to apply to new techniques. We should not forget that all civilisations were formed needing food, clothes, and medicines, and in that sense biotechnology is not new. What is new is that we can now make new varieties much more quickly, and with greater variation - and some foodstuffs made from plants bred using genetic engineering are already being sold in parts of the world.
Bioethics considers issues affecting all living organisms and the environment, from individual creature to the level of the biosphere in complexity. All living organisms are biological beings, and share a common and intertwined biological heritage. The term bioethics reminds us of the combination of biology and ethics, topics that are intertwined.
Bioethics especially includes medical and environmental ethics. The word was mainly applied for issues of medical ethics in the 1970s and 1980s, but the 1960s and 1990s saw much more attention on environmental ethics. We must include both, medical ethics includes any factor affecting health, and ecological and environmental ethics must include human-human interactions, as these interactions are one of the dominant ecological interactions in the world. Agricultural systems include economic, environmental and human interactions. To resolve the issues, and develop ideals or principles to help us do so, we must involve anthropology, sociology, biology, religion, psychology, philosophy, and economics; we must combine the scientific rigor of biological data, with the values of religion and philosophy to develop a world-view. Bioethics is therefore challenged to be a multi-sided and thoughtful approach to decision-making so that it may be relevant to all aspects of human life.
Some academics have tried to define more precisely what bioethics is, and basic principles. There are two basic approaches, one being descriptive and the other being prescriptive. One describes how people makes decisions, and the other suggests the process that can be used to make decisions. However, bioethics is not to prescribe the correct "answer", only the process that is used to decide. To make good choices, and choices that we can live with, improving our life and society, is certainly a good thing. However, what is good for one person may not be good for the broader society, and the global nature of agricultural economics and environmental impact, makes us think of the global arena. The choices that need to be made in the modern biotechnological and genetic age extend from before conception to after death - all of life. Later I will discuss some bioethical principles for agricultural biotechnology and bioethics, but first we need to consider the cultural background and public acceptance.
B. Historical and cultural background
Bioethics is both a word and a concept. The word comes to us only from 1970, yet the concept comes from human heritage thousands of years old. It is the concept of love, balancing benefits and risks of choices and decisions. This heritage can be seen in all cultures, religions, and in ancient writings from around the world . The relationships between human beings within their society, within the biological community, and with nature and God, are seen in prehistory, therefore we cannot precisely define the origins of bioethics. Human civilisation has been tied to agriculture for many millenium, and the concept of bioethics first emerged in the relationships that people had with nature, a nature which could be cultivated to provide for human needs.
In the conclusion of an earlier book, Shaping Genes , I said that we have much to learn from the issues raised by genetic technology, not just the nature of our genes, but the nature of our thinking about what is important in life. New technology can be a catalyst for our thinking about these issues, and we can think of the examples like genetic engineering, which have been stimuli for research into bioethics in the last few decades. However, the issues raised are not fundamentally different to those of the past , and I would reject the use of the word "Genethics" which has been the title of at least two recent books [e.g. 4].
Agriculture has long been connected to economics, and until the industrial age most economies depended basically on agriculture. Economic factors are an inseparable part of society, and trading between adjacent regions has been a major source of cultural mixing, today as in past centuries. The world has become smaller with modern trade and communications, and this is certainly one factor in the growing trend for internationalism. This is epitomised in GATT, signed in 1993. Therefore we need international approaches that will survive in the global market competition, without exploiting particular groups of people.
There are a variety of different ethical traditions, and these are also part of our social heritage, though most have a more spiritual base. Any theory of bioethics that will be applied to peoples of the world must also be acceptable to the common trends of major religious thought. The spiritual divisions of humanity are less mixed than the social ones, and these have been used as transnational boundaries in the past, and also today. The Islamic countries, Catholic countries, and loosely-called Christian countries, are major regions of the world. Asia has more diversity of religion, for example, Buddhism in Sri Lanka is different from that in Japan. Within Asia there are also many Christians and Muslims, and most of the world's religions. For those who want to read more on the approaches of different cultures to agricultural biotechnology issues, I refer to other works on the Christian [5,6], Islamic , Jewish , and Buddhist  approaches.
These different traditions should be respected to make this universal bioethics also cross-cultural ethics; respected to the extent that they do not conflict with fundamental human rights, which should be protected, and recognised. One of the assumptions of modern bioethics is that all human beings have equal rights, as defined in the Covenants on Human Rights . We can argue for the foundation of human rights from secular philosophy or religion. Different societies have different goals, as do different people. This diversity is to be valued, we should never expect all people to balance the same values in the same way all the time.
The limits to tolerance are already broadly outlined in international covenants such as the Declaration of Human Rights, and international treaties on environmental protection which include limits on the permitted damage to the common environment, such as the convention on ozone-damaging chemicals, and on deep sea dumping. Agriculture is dependent upon water, and environment, which are sometimes shared resources between different countries. Most maritime nations have declared 200 mile limits within which they claim prior rights to exploit marine resources, and the many examples of over-fished species shows the need for international fishing strategies. We also have economic treaties, such as GATT, defining the limits of unfair trade. However, as will be discussed later, economic priorities conflict with environmental protection, and we need better resolution of this conflict in practical bioethics.
Issues like justice and stewardship of nature have been debated for millenia. Differences in approaches are clear from early historical discussions of these issues, for example, there have always been people supporting and opposing euthanasia or animal use. These differences and similarities are seen within any group of people within every society. Basically data from opinion surveys and observation suggests that the diversity of thinking within any one group is much greater than that between any two groups, therefore we can attempt to look at basic universal principles that can be used in deciding these issues . The social environment that people grow up in, and the education strategies, are becoming more similar with time suggesting that a universal approach is even more possible now than it was a century ago. In agriculture, several of the major divisions are over use of animals, and the exclusion of certain animals by religious dietary laws tend to follow cultural boundaries more than medical issues such as euthanasia, which are divided in all cultures.
The Judeo-Christian-Islamic view of the relation of humans and nature is that they are both continually dependent on God. People have been told to subdue, cultivate and take care of the earth, to multiply and to have dominion over the created order (Genesis 1:28, 2:15). Biotechnologists could consider they are to continue the "good" work of creativity [2, 6]. However, we find interpretations of these scriptures differs within followers of each religion, and rather than stressing one particular view the bioethical tradition is that of tolerance for the views of others. Some people interpret biotechnology as playing God and others as serving God, so it is difficult to draw religious boundaries.
C. Public opinion and ethics
Bioethics is not just an academic endeavour or an applied part of philosophical ethics, it is rooted in the daily life and attitudes of all people, hence the title of my recent book, Bioethics for the People by the People . One way to examine the reasoning people have is to ask them in surveys of opinion. Scholars may go through literature, and historical studies, but often these studies are selected by their choices, which may not represent the public. We need to look at more than history, and more than policies that governments have developed, we need to reach into the hearts of people. In 1993 an International Bioethics Survey was performed across ten countries of the world . Some of the relevant results are described in section II, with comparisons to surveys in North America and Europe.
World-wide there have been quite a number of surveys focusing on biotechnology . Surveys, including the International Bioethics Survey will come under criticism for attempting to look at bioethical decision-making and reasoning using opinion surveys . Opinion surveys look at opinions, and not the person as a whole. However, the actions of individuals, and also society, can be predicted by surveys - with a real margin of error that can only be determined after surveys are conducted. The written survey allows more thinking on issues, than an interview does. Also multiple choice answers can be leading, hence the use of many open choices in these surveys. Open responses, free questions, were used but a finite set of categories was used, with an "other" category for the unusual ideas. We must be careful not to over generalise, it is important to look at all the data, and test the data from surveys with the data we obtain from literature, customs, and observation.
Surveys may be misused, but they could be used to form policy that respects the persons and personal choices that are expressed, as some countries in the world do not allow this expression of informed choice. Surveys are just a beginning and from addressing some of the issues exposed it is hoped further research in bioethics based on the perspective of "from the people for the people" may be implemented all around the world. Of course, we also need to ask why people choose the answers that they do [1, 12].
II. Public perception of benefits and risks of biotechnology
A. International comparison of public acceptance
A fundamental question of bioethics is do people in different countries share the same thinking, and reasoning? The basic method of comparison is to estimate the diversity of views within each community, and compare these differences to other societies . If they make decisions in the same way, then we could call this universalism, and it also raises the possibility of further universalisation of ethics. People in the world are increasingly being given the same media coverage of technology, and education also has many similarities - as even this book shows. People may reach different conclusions but if the process of thinking is similar this is still some type of universal approach. If people do not have the same way of deciding, then what we must aim for is cross-cultural understanding, perhaps with some degree of universalism.
The use of surveys is only one part of the overall approach we can use to look at cultures, however, the data from surveys must be explained by any description of the real world. Another part of the data is the use of the products, and we can see current practices in agricultural biotechnology by the preferences of farmers, consumers and what sort of products companies produce. Analysis of all these factors is important, and for the consumption of products of new biotechnology we must see the results of the sales of these products in supermarkets, and their acceptance by the farmers who first use them.
There have been many surveys conducted on acceptance of biotechnology, including agricultural issues . However, there have been few in developing countries . There are various strategies being used to study public opinion. The first type is the use of fixed response questions, to chose from set answers, and this has been done in the USA. The major study in 1986 was the Office of Technology Assessment study . In 1992 there was a study by Hoban and Kendall , looking at agricultural issues. There has also been comparative studies of scientists in USA and in Europe, looking at their perceptions of the public image of genetic engineering [15, 16]. In 1993 there was a survey conducted by the Canadian Institute of Biotechnology in Canada . The Eurobarometer is a regular public survey in Europe, including different questions each time, and is conducted in all 12 countries of the European Community. In 1991 Eurobarometer 35.1 looked at biotechnology and genetic engineering, and in 1993 Eurobarometer 39.1 repeated the same questions . The Eurobarometer poll is limited because of the relatively small number of questions, and also the set format of the questions, but is the most comprehensive in terms of sample response, randomness, size, and number of countries. There is some diversity within Europe, in biotechnology policy, public acceptance, and regulations.
While these surveys provide some assessment of public acceptance, they generally use simple set questions. Recent survey strategies in Europe look at reasoning more than just statistics [19, 20] which may shed more light on the factors which will affect policy development. Martin and Tait , conducted surveys of selected groups of the UK public. They conclude that groups with an interest in biotechnology have probably already formed attitudes to it, which are unlikely to significantly change. They looked at industry and environmental groups, and local communities, which are major players in the development of policy at both national and local levels. They also suggest that people with the least polarised attitudes are most open to multiple information sources. Consumer research in the Netherlands conducted by SWOKA - an Institute for Consumer Research, has involved two major studies of what people in the Netherlands think about eating foods made through biotechnology [19, 21].
In New Zealand there was a study using both set and open questions in 1990 . In Japan there have been several studies, the most comprehensive of these being a study that I did in 1991, among public, academics, scientists, and high school teachers, in which I also reviewed all the previous studies in Japan . In these surveys I used open questions, and found that some arguments that are often used in biotechnology debates, such as eugenic fears or environmental risk, are not the major concerns voiced by people in open questions. The more common concerns are interference with nature or general fear of a less concrete nature. Also the survey found that many people perceive both benefit and risk simultaneously, they are attempting to balance these; and also educated people show as much concern, in fact biology teachers considered there was more risk from genetic engineering than the ordinary public.
B. International Bioethics Survey
The survey was performed in 1993 in ten countries of the world, in English in Australia (A), Hong Kong (HK), India (IN), Israel (IS), New Zealand (NZ), The Philippines (P) and Singapore (S); in Japanese in Japan (J); in Russian in Russia (R); and in Thai in Thailand (T). Translations were checked by professional translators and questions were pretested . The countries chosen in the International Bioethics Survey were chosen for two reasons, one being as representatives of the world, and the other in terms of convenience of access. Unfortunately there is no African or South American, nor Islamic country among the countries chosen. The countries chosen include India, a country of mixed religion and the major so-called "developing" country, though it has an agricultural and social history much longer than most countries. Russia represents the former communist world, another possible dominant force in shaping opinion. The Philippines is a Catholic country. Thailand is a Buddhist country and represents South East Asia. New Zealand and Australia, with some comparisons to North America, and to past European surveys, represent Christian and Western countries. Hong Kong and Singapore represent the Chinese influence, and some comparison to mainland Chinese attitudes was also made. A small sample from Israel was also included, as one Middle Eastern country.
Three population samples were chosen for these International Bioethics Surveys, public, university students and high school teachers. The questionnaires consisted of 6 A4 size pages with a 1 page introductory letter including a form for the public and teachers to request a summary of the survey results. The public and student questionnaires were identical. The teacher's survey included some of the same questions, but half of the questions were about teaching and curriculum in bioethics and genetics . The surveys to public and teachers were sent with stamped return envelopes, and people were asked to respond within each country.
Questionnaires were distributed randomly nationwide by hand to the public in Australia and New Zealand (with the assistance of Nobuko Macer, Eubios Ethics Institute), India (by Jayapaul Azariah and Hilda Azariah, University of Madras);, Japan (with the assistance of Yuko Kato and Nobuko Macer, University of Tsukuba) and Thailand (by Peerasak Srivines and Prasert Chatwachirawong, Kasetsart University). The samples were chosen by a clustered random sampling method, involving selection of a representative cross-section of the community on maps, then inside those areas every second house on both sides of every second street had a questionnaire delivered into the letterbox. In India and Thailand some members of universities and institutes were also asked to deliver questionnaires, and this explains the higher representation of more educated persons in the samples than the general population (Table 1).
The surveys in Israel and Russia included half public and half academics (including philosophers, molecular biologists, general humanities and science, and medical graduates), and included random delivery to institute members and to households, in the manner described above. The Russian sample included 56% from Moscow, 22% from Ufa, and 22% from Peterozavodsk, and does not therefore represent the rural section of the population of Russia. The sample size from Israel is not sufficient nor random (as the survey was done in English), and this sample is only included as a preliminary observation.
The International Bioethics Survey focused on agricultural biotechnology, and medical genetics, with some other questions looking at environmental attitudes and attitudes to disease. The questionnaires included about 150 questions in total, with 35 open-ended questions. The open questions were designed not to be leading, to look at how people make decisions - and the ideas in each comment were assigned to different categories depending on the question, and these categories were compared among all the samples. In total nearly 6000 questionnaires were returned from 10 countries during 1993 .
Student samples were obtained with the kind assistance of the persons indicated. The surveys were distributed by staff of the universities, and returned to a following class and/or department mail box. The samples include: medical schools in Australia (Peter Singer, Monash University);, .i.Japan (Michio Hirayama and Norio Fujiki, Fukui Medical School, N=127; Hideo Hayashi, University of Tsukuba, N=308);, New Zealand (D. Gareth Jones, Otago University), the Philippines (Angeles T. Alora, University of San Tomas); a medical laboratory course in Hong Kong (Maureen Boost, Hong Kong Polytechnic); and biology students in India (Jayapaul Azariah and Hilda Azariah, University of Madras), Singapore (Lim Tit Meng, University of Singapore, N=23; Ong Chin Choon, Singapore Polytech, N=227); and Thailand (Peerasak Srivines and Prasert Chatwachirawong, Kasetsart University).
The high school teacher surveys were national, using randomly selected schools from published school lists (with the assistance of Shiro Akiyama, Yukiko Asada, Nobuko Macer and Miho Tsuzuki, University of Tsukuba). All 438 high schools in New Zealand were surveyed. Two copies of the questionnaire, with two stamped return envelopes, were sent along with a covering letter to the principal requesting that they randomly give one each to a biology and a social studies teacher. The samples of respondents included more biology teachers than social studies teachers.
General information gathered in the surveys included sex, age, marital status, children, education, religion, importance of religion, race, income and rural/urban locality, and some data are in Table 1. Results of the other questions, further background, and more examples of open comments have been published . In this paper the word "significant" implies a statistical significance of P<0.05. The funding for these surveys came principally from the Eubios Ethics Institute, with some assistance from the ELSI (Ethical, Legal, and Social Impact issues) group of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science and Culture Human Genome Project, and The University of Tsukuba. The high school samples in Japan are supported by the Ministry of Education, and are part of a longer term project to develop high school materials to teach about bioethical issues in the biology and social studies classes.
C. Knowledge and Awareness of Biotechnology
The level of interest in science and technology was measured using a five point scale, "extremely interested, very interested, interested, not interested very much, not at all interested". In general most respondents answered that they had some interest, with few saying they were not. Another measure may be the response rate, which was generally between 20-30%. However, other data suggests that knowledge of science is not so closely correlated with response rate [1, 23].
Although the principal purpose of the survey was to investigate opinions about genetic engineering, in Q5 some other controversial and non-controversial developments were listed and the results for each can be compared. People were first asked about their awareness of the techniques with the following question:
Q5. Can you tell me how much you have heard or read about each of these subjects? 1. Not heard of 2. Heard of 3. Could explain it to a friend
In vitro fertilisation
Human gene therapy
The results of the awareness question for pesticides, biotechnology and genetic engineering are shown in Table 1. It is interesting that biotechnology was generally one of the most unfamiliar terms, next to gene therapy. The awareness of biotechnology in Japan, however, was one of the most familiar, consistent with other surveys . In a 1988 survey of 2000 public in the U.K., only 38% of respondents had heard of biotechnology , considerably less than in the countries in this survey. In the USA in 1992, 25% said that they had heard "nothing" about biotechnology, 38% said "a little", 30% "some" and 8% "a lot" . This suggests that the awareness of biotechnology in the USA is at least not higher than in these Asian countries, and could be lower.
The awareness of gene therapy was the lowest among the 8 developments. Genetic engineering was generally the least familiar among the other areas, with pesticides, in vitro fertilisation, computers and nuclear power being most familiar. We can compare this result with a question in the USA in 1986  in which 32% said they did not know the meaning of "genetic engineering", whereas 66% said that they thought they knew the meaning of the word. In the International Bioethics Survey, the term "genetic engineering", was significantly more familiar in all samples. The awareness of was significantly related to educational attainment in most samples. There was no question requiring respondents to explain their understanding of technologies, as was used in some surveys [13, 18]. An indirect measure of the depth of knowledge was the comments that were given in response to open questions.
The samples with the greatest awareness were generally biology teachers, next were medical students (New Zealand, Japan, Australia and the Philippines), followed by the other groups, social studies teachers, biology students and the public. For all developments and in all samples, there was a positive correlation between awareness and the expressed level of interest in science from the results of the earlier question. Following questions, discussed below, asked them whether they thought each development would have a benefit or not, and their perceptions about the risks of technology by asking them how worried they were about each development. We can expect the awareness to grow with the increased use of biotechnology products, and we actually find awareness that genetically modified organisms are being used to produce foods and medicines is quite high already (Table 4)..
D. Benefits and Risks of Biotechnology
In all countries of the International Bioethics Survey there was a positive view of science and technology, it was perceived as increasing the quality of life by the majority in all countries. Less than 10% in all countries saw it as doing more harm than good . People were asked about the benefits and risks of specific developments of technology, and both benefits and risks were cited by many respondents. The areas of science and technology that were chosen for this survey included several controversial subjects, and this question (Q6, Q7) was modified from one used in Couchman & Fink-Jensen  and Macer , with the request for a reason. The topic of computers (a neutral control subject) and nuclear power were added to the four biological areas, as below:
Q6. Do you personally believe each of these scientific discoveries and developments is a worthwhile area for scientific research? Why?...
1. Yes 2. No 3. Don't know
Q7. Do you have any worries about the impact of research or its applications of these scientific discoveries and developments? How much? Why?..
1. No 2. A few 3. Some 4. A lot
In vitro fertilisation
The results for biotechnology are shown in Table 2, to illustrate the analysis. For this question, the comments were assigned into one category, and the results are shown. People do show the ability to balance benefits and risks of science and technology, consistent with earlier surveys [23, 25]. People do not have a simplistic view of science and technology, and can often perceive both benefits and risks. This balancing of good and harm is necessary for bioethics, and I have called this one indicator of the bioethical maturity of a society.
When specific details of an application are given there is generally greater acceptance, suggesting people have some discretion [1, 23]. It also suggests that if details are given the public will show greater acceptance of an application, especially for human gene therapy [1, 26]. This is particularly seen in questions looking at environmental release of genetically modified organisms (Q31) which were taken from the OTA survey , with comparisons to a question of Hoban & Kendall :
Q31. If there was no direct risk to humans and only very remote risks to the environment, would you approve or disapprove of the environmental use of genetically engineered organisms designed to produce...?
1. Approve 2. Disapprove 3. Don't know
Tomatoes with better taste
Healthier meat (e.g. less fat)
Larger sport fish
Bacteria to clean up oil spills
Disease resistant crops
Cows which produce more milk
The results are in Table 3. The approval of the Calgene FlavrSavr modified tomato which has delayed ripening for general cultivation in the USA was given by the USDA in 1993, and it was approved for general commercial food consumption by the FDA in 1994, and sold in the summer 1994 in some parts of the USA. The results show that it would be generally supported around the world.
The healthier meat question is relevant to efforts to make less fatty meat, both by hormones in pigs, and other animals. In the USA in 1992, 45% said "acceptable", 32% "unacceptable" and 23% "don't know" to a similar question . In a related question on cows with increased milk, and in the USA in 1992, 36% said "acceptable", 41% "unacceptable" and 23% "don't know" to a similar question in 1992 . This has become reality in 1994 with the general use of bovine growth hormone (BST - bovine somatotropin) in the USA dairy industry, a hormone made by genetic engineering that can increase milk yield by 10-20%. It also received less support in the International Bioethics Survey than the goal of less fatty meat, which is consistent with the existing milk surplus in some countries. In a recent telephone survey in the USA conducted by Hoban , it was found that consumers gained confident about consuming milk produced from cows treated with BST after receiving scientific facts attributed to respected agencies (e.g. AMA, FDA, NIH).
The most support is seen for disease-resistant crops, and bacteria to clean oil spills. These are two uses of genetic engineering that most agree with (Table 3). The sports fish is an example of genetic engineering for fun - and it is reassuring that many people reject such genetic engineering. The highest degree of support for the sports fish is in the USA where 53% approved in a 1986 survey, while 73% approved of bacteria to clean oil spills or disease-resistant crops . The general support for products of genetic engineering seems to be high, especially if they are claimed to be more healthy. In the Canadian study comparisons between chemicals and genetically engineered organisms usually found less support for chemical methods . All these examples of genetic engineering are already made.
In the 1991 survey in Japan an open question looking at awareness, benefits, and risks of genetic manipulation of microbes, plants, animals and humans, was asked [23, 26]. The responses made by the public, teachers and scientists were compared with results from New Zealand , and few differences were observed. As in the USA, human genetic manipulation is associated with the most risks, and plant genetic manipulation with the least, but unfortunately they didn't compare open comments .
E. Food concerns and human health
A question that was repeated from the 1991 Japanese and 1990 New Zealand surveys in the International Bioethics Survey was:
Q14. If any of the following were to be produced from genetically modified organisms, would you have any concerns about using them? How much? Why?
1. No 2. A few 3. Some 4. A lot
Least concern was shown about medicines, than vegetables, and dairy products and most concern about meat (Table 4). A variety of reasons were cited (Table 5). The results of that question found similar concerns to the surveys in New Zealand  and Japan . One of the main concerns was that the products would be unnatural, but there were also a variety of other comments as shown in the Table. Comparison with the surveys in the Netherlands [19, 21] allows development of methods to explore people's concerns. In the 1992 US study, price was also found to be a critical factor, rather than whether the product was better quality . However, there is a significant fraction of the food market in most countries from the products that claim to be of higher quality, and the best test of consumer preference is from sales statistics, for example from the sales of the "tasty" tomato released in the USA in 1994.
In the International Bioethics Survey, four specific questions used in the US survey of Hoban and Kendall  were used to explore the acceptance of food products made from cross species gene transfer. In all the countries in this survey (Table 6), plant-plant gene transfers (Q9) were most acceptable, with animal-animal (Q11) next, and animal-plant (Q10) or human-animal gene transfers (Q12) were least acceptable (p. 212-213). A variety of reasons were cited which are reproduced elsewhere . Some people made comments that suggested they were looking at secondary aspects, such as whether they liked potato or chicken. In the USA the proportion accepting these were 66% (Q9), 39% (Q11), 25% (Q10), and 10% (Q12) , and the trend was also seen in Canada . The generally higher fears about animal genetic engineering, and meat, is also seen in Europe [18, 19]. In another question, over half the respondents in all samples in the International Bioethics Survey said that they had stopped eating a food because of concerns over its safety .
Many genetic diseases may be able to be treated by correcting the defective genes, which is called gene therapy. Gene therapy is a therapeutic technique in which a functioning gene is inserted into the cells of a patient to correct an inborn genetic error or to provide a new function to the cell. Over 70 human gene therapy trials have been approved in numerous countries. The responses to the questions about gene therapy show people do have significant discretion over therapeutic and cosmetic applications of gene therapy . This is encouraging for ethicists, and is similar to the discretion shown in the question about use of genetic engineering to make a sports fish, compared to a disease-resistant crop. There was lower support for enhancement uses (improving physique, intelligence, making more ethical) than for treating disease, suggesting some discretion. There was extremely high support for use of gene therapy to cure disease, both as somatic cell (fatal, late onset) or inheritable (fatal, non-fatal); and high support as an AIDS vaccine.
There was least discretion against enhancement uses in Thailand and India, which may suggest that the economic strife and infectious disease makes people more pragmatic about the use of any therapy to treat disease. However in other countries also, the success of cosmetic surgery suggests that once it is possible, the 20-30% who accept genetic engineering to improve intelligence, may do so in practice. Whether this is acceptable is a much bigger question and may require stricter control than today's cosmetics as heritable changes affect future generations.
There is clear support for attempting to do good, and no apparent public rejection of therapy targetted on genes. About three quarters of all samples supported for personal use of gene therapy, with slightly higher support for children's use of gene therapy . The major reasons were to save life and increase the quality of life. Few people gave a reasons like "improving genes". About 5-7% rejected gene therapy considering it to be playing God, or unnatural. There was very little concern about eugenics (0.5-2%), confirming the results of a different open question in 1991 [23, 26].
F. Environmental Concerns
Some environmental concerns were seen in the responses to the general questions on genetic engineering and biotechnology (Table 2, 5). A specific question was also given before these questions:
Q1. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
1. Agree 2. Agree Strongly 3. Neither 4. Disagree 5. Disagree Strongly
"d. Genetically modified plants and animals will help agriculture become less dependent on chemical pesticides."
The results are in Table 3. In the 1991 survey in Japan  49% of the public agreed that genetically modified plants and animals would help Japanese agriculture become less dependent upon pesticides, while 49% of teachers and 56% of scientists agreed. 71% of the company scientists agreed with this statement. Only 7% of scientists and the public disagreed with this, while 13% of teachers disagreed. This question statement is a major argument of those calling for the development of genetic engineering in agriculture, and the result suggests that it is supported by a majority of people, though still many people are not sure about how they feel (Table 3).
The way that genetic engineering is being used to introduce pest resistance to plants is to transfer genes to selectively kill insect pests into plants. The research has been conducted on many species of plants, with success, especially transferring the gene encoding the insecticidal protein of the bacteria Bacillus thuriengensis . This protein selectively kills certain insects, while other insects are not killed. When chemical insecticides are used, all insects may die, so this method is an advantage. The protein is not toxic to other animals, so it is also much safer than chemicals. Other examples of environmental benefits are known, and it is likely that this will gain public support of biotechnology.
In 1990 European public opinion poll conducted in the U.K., France, Italy and Germany, by Gallup for Eli Lily , the respondents were asked to choose the largest benefit that they saw coming from biotechnology, between one of four possible benefits from biotechnology. Over half rated cures for serious diseases as the most important benefit. Another option was reducing our dependence upon pesticides and chemical fertilisers, which 26% of Italians, 24% of French, 22% of British and 16% of Germans, chose as the largest benefit. The respondents were asked a similar question about their largest concern. 40% of French, 35% of Germans, and 25% of British and Italian respondents chose eugenics, and slightly lower proportions overall chose environmental harm, 34% in Britain, 33% in France, 22% in Italy and 21% in Germany. Potential health hazards from laboratory genetic research were named by 29% in Italy, 17% in France, 11% in Britain and 10% in Germany. Overall one third of respondents feel that biotechnology is ethical and one third feel that it is unethical, and one third think it is in between, "neither". Genetic engineering:Concern;
Therefore, it appears that in all countries medical advances, and the ability to cure genetic diseases are the major benefits people see from genetic engineering and biotechnology. Environmental concerns are a close second concern, and this is consistent with the International Bioethics Survey when we consider concrete concerns. However, from the results of the open questions, we also see numerous concerns about what is natural, or ethical (Table 2, 5). The benefits are divided depending on the organisms that are considered. Microorganisms are seen for both medical use and general use to produce useful substances through fermentation. Plants and animals are seen for their obvious agricultural importance, and genetic manipulation is perceived for its ability to aid the breeding of new varieties, and to increase production of food .
There were also two open questions asking what images people had of life and nature. The diversity of comments was similar in all countries, with similar proportions expressing different ideas - which is very interesting for looking at what we think of nature or life. The question on nature followed several questions on genetic engineering, so it is not surprising that many (about one quarter) included a comment that nature is something that should not be touched by human beings, and about one tenth mentioned ecological problems . The ethical limits of genetic engineering may in the end be decided by aesthetic perceptions of "nature" rather than environmental risk itself. This is very difficult to define and this survey is an attempt to begin a search among ordinary people around the world on what these limits might be. We all have some limit, whether it be blue roses or chicken with four legs - and we also realise these limits change through time. A simple definition of bioethics, as I said earlier could be love of life. The images of life are therefore most illuminating in the pursuit of bioethics.
G. Source of information and trust in authorities
Another issue of ethics is who should make decisions, and who do people trust. A question on the level of trust that people had in authorities for information on the safety of biotechnology products was asked, as shown in Table 7. There was most trust in the government in Hong Kong and Singapore, and least in Australasia, Japan, Russia, USA and Europe. Despite the lower trust shown in the government in Russia, they had a level of trust in medical doctors. The result is most striking when we compare it to Japan, in which doctors were not trusted. In fact it appears Japanese do not trust anyone very much, but the biggest difference with the other countries was that doctors and university professors were mistrusted, especially so by medical students. Whereas Russians show great trust in doctors and environmental groups, and a high level of trust in professors. Companies were least trusted everywhere. Farmers were also not trusted (unlike the USA, where in 1992, 26% had a lot of trust, 68% had some trust, and 6% had no trust in farmers .
The lack of trust in companies or governmental regulators is also seen in European  and North American surveys [13, 14, 17, 29]. This lack of trust is a concern. The most trusted source of information are environmental groups [20, 29]. The main source of information is the media in all countries , but people are becomes more selective in what they believe.
H. Economic concerns and patenting life
The question of patenting live organisms and genetic material is a contentious issue in many countries. In the USA and many other countries, normal criteria for accepting patents apply to any subject matter, that is, the invention requires the attributes of novelty, non-obviousness, and utility, and the invention should be deposited in a recognised depository. In 1985 the US patent office awarded a patent for a maize variety, in 1987 they ruled that polyploid oysters were patentable subject matter, and in 1988 they awarded a patent for a mouse. The mouse contains an activated oncogene and has been called "Oncomouse". It is very sensitive to carcinogens, and is being used in testing the safety of substances. The patent extends to all transgenic animals containing an activated oncogene. This patent decision triggered much debate about the ethical issues over patenting .
While accepting the same patentability criteria, some countries have specifically excluded certain types of invention, for example the European Patent Convention excludes the patenting of varieties of plants or animals. An EC directive supporting the principle of patents for genetically engineered animals is still being debated, and Denmark excludes animal patents in a law.
A patented product that reaches the commercial market gives the inventor some compensation for the time they spent in research for the development. The system is self-sustaining, if patents are awarded, companies will invest time into research, but if not, there is less incentive for companies to conduct research and less total research is performed. There may be a greater amount of total knowledge because there is more total research performed. However, property rights are not absolutely protected in any society because of the principle of justice, for the sake of "public interest", "social need", and "public utility", societies can confiscate property. There are also exemptions to patent law if the object is "offensive to (general) public morality", which could prevent the patenting of some animals for ethical reasons.
There may be better alternatives to patenting plants and animals. In 1961 the Convention on the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV Convention) established international "plant variety rights", and by 1989 there were 19 member countries, which include more than 70% of the world seed market of all countries with a market economy . The requirements include stability, homogeneity, novelty, and distinctiveness. The varieties must be generally distributed and researchers have exemptions, as do farmers from the payment of royalties on seed that they save from their harvest.
However, there is still no reward given to the farmers who for millenia have established crop varieties, which plant breeders use as starting materials. In 1983, at a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation conference, representatives from 156 countries recognised that "plant resources were part of the common heritage of mankind and should be respected without any restriction". Since then an international network of gene banks has begun to be established, who will provide genetic material world-wide. These also preserve genetic material from species that are becoming extinct because of environmental destruction. In 1994 the Biological Diversity Convention was ratified, and it specifically protects the intellectual property rights of indigenous biological organisms.
In 1991 a controversy arose when a a single patent application for 337 human genes was made in by the US National Institutes of Health in the USA. In February 1992 they made another application for patents on 2375 genes. The US applications were later rejected for technical reasons rather than ethical ones, and the decision was not appealed. The French government, and Japanese genome researchers announced that they would not apply for similar patents because of ethical reasons. England's Medical Research Council (MRC) applied for a similar patent on more than 1000 genes, but England joined France in calling for an international agreement to waive any of these patents if they should be granted, and withdrew their application when the NIH did. The human genome is common property of all human beings, and no one should be able to patent it en masse, if at all . The policy issue is still being debated .
The scientist Craig Venter left the NIH to start the company Human Genome Sciences, which includes The Institute for Genomic Research, Gaithersburg, which continued the work of the NIH to create a database of cDNA sequences from as many human genes as possible. In late 1994 they released terms of the way researchers can access the 150,000 cDNA sequences they compiled into a database, which include 35,000 of unknown function . Users must sign an option agreement, and companies will have 6 months to try to make joint shares in commercial developments. The release of the cDNA sequences from TIGR to the general community is under the condition that they can take first look for 30 days before publication at papers, with an option for a 30 day extra delay. Smith-Kline Beecham (of the UK) has control of Human Genome Sciences, linking pharmaceuticals with the human genome. In a counter move, another giant company, Merck, has made arrangements with the University of Washington to develop an open cDNA database, available for all researchers without charge. Merck is building on the chance to make a good image with the scientists, but TIGR argues that they want some reimbursement for the US$200 million investment in obtaining the sequences and making the database available. However, it is likely that they already have selected some genes for commercial development, and the profits from several hormones could compensate for all the work. The relevance for agriculture is that now such genome companies are applying the techniques to agricultural organisms, and have the resources to sequence all the novel cDNA from a single organism within a year. We should not forget the parallel with farmer's ownership of plants and animals, in which "life" is owned, but the originators of patents did not envisage the ownership options on such substantial portions of a genome of one organism.
The policy should be made considering all the economic, environmental, ethical and social implications, and it should be internationally consistent. Public opinion could force a policy change regarding the patenting of genetic material, even if it is judged to be legally valid. Public opinion was examined in the International Bioethics Survey in a question shown in Table 8. The question revealed negative attitudes to patents on life, especially of human genes, consistent with the 1990 results in New Zealand  and 1991 results in Japan .
III. Bioethical principles for agricultural biotechnology
A. Autonomy of choice versus justice
Respect for the autonomy of individuals is a fundamental principle of ethics, and is found in early times in those religions which recognised freedom of belief. If we respect autonomy of human beings we should respect their right to have at least some property, or territory, and control over their own body. In agriculture this means respect for freedom of growing what crops a farmer chooses, and eating what food we like, within social constraints (e.g. human flesh is a general taboo in most cultures).
People's well-being should be promoted, and their values and choice respected, but equally, which places limits on the pursuit of individual autonomy. People's well-being should be promoted, and their values and choices respected, but equally, which places limits on the pursuit of individual autonomy. We should give very member in society equal and fair opportunities, this is justice. Utilitarianism (the greatest good for the greatest number) is useful for general proportions, but it is very difficult to assign values to different people's interests and preferences. Society should also include the future of society, future generations are also an essential part of society. Therefore, we should protect the environment for the future generations .
B. Balancing benefits and risks: love
One of the underlying philosophical ideas of society is to pursue progress. The most cited justification for this is the pursuit of improved medicines or increased stable food supply, which is doing good. A failure to attempt to do good, is a form of doing harm, the sin of omission. This is the principle of beneficence. This is a powerful impetus for further research into ways of improving health and agriculture, and living standards.
Biotechnology is challenging because, like most technology, both benefits and risks will always be associated. A fundamental way of reasoning that people have is to balance doing good against doing harm. We could group these ideals under the idea of love. We need to share benefits of new technology and risks of developing new technology to all people.
People in developing countries should not be the recipients of risks passed onto them by industrialised countries, despite the economic pressure to allow this. We can think of the dumping of hazardous wastes to developing countries, in return for financial reward, but the environmental and human health consequences of dumping toxic waste cannot be measured. Industrialised societies have developed safeguards to protect citizens, and some of these involve considerable economic cost. While it may not be possible for developing countries' governments to impose the same requirements, they should not accept lower standards - rather use data obtained in countries with strict and sufficient safeguards of health, with the aid of inter-governmental agencies. Any basic human right should be the same in all countries, and this is one of the roles of the United Nations. Ethically this would support the implementation of minimum international standards for regulation of biotechnology .
The precise outcome of interventions in nature or medicine is not always certain. It has taken major ecological disasters to convince people in industry or agriculture of the risks. Introducing new organisms to the environment is also associated with risk. If we introduce very different gene combinations into the environment they could have major consequences, which may be irreversible . The new genes may enter other organisms, or the new organisms themselves may replace existing organisms in the ecosystem. The ecological system is very complex, minor alterations in one organism can sometimes have effects throughout an ecosystem. Field trials and experimentation are an ethical prerequisite before full scale use of new organisms, as is the scheme used by the USDA in the USA, and quarantine regulations used throughout much of the world.
C. There is ethical value in life
Many want to protect nature, not because of its value or property, but simply because it is there. The concepts and images that the words "life" and "nature" imply are similar in different countries . Many people value nature, and this has suggested some to suggest that it may even be part of our sociobiological traits, a "Biophilia" . The scientific understanding of biological knowledge allows us to understand the reason a flower blooms, but we may still value its beauty. This aesthetic value is also a part of bioethics, yet is difficult to quantify.
Related to this is the concept of biodiversity, which is now legally recognised as a good in the Biological Diversity Convention, primarily because of economic potential, but it is also protected because of aesthetic value. Biodiversity is a word used to picture the great diversity of living organisms on the planet. Just as the individual processes of life are dynamic, so is the composite of the lifeforms. The idea of dynamism also implies a balance. The dynamic nature is implied in both science - the second law of thermodynamics, and religion - in the Biblical doctrine of creation and preservation; and Asian religions with "harmony" [1, 2]. There are various religious stories to support preservation of biological diversity, the most famous of which is the story of Noah, which is shared by the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions. Noah preserved all the domestic and wild animals from environmental catastrophe, a catastrophe that it says was caused by the actions of humans.
We need to ask whether there is ethical value in having different species? A related idea is that of "species integrity", i.e. species should not be mixed, which was examined by several questions in the International Bioethics Survey (Table 6). Modern biologists generally think of species as reproductive communities or populations. There is no universal or absolute rule that all species are discretely bounded in any generally consistent manner. One species may exchange little or no genetic material with related or adjacent species, while others may do so all the time. Species exist in nature as reproductive communities, not as separate creatures.
The cross between a horse and a donkey, the mule, is certainly accepted in many cultures. The greatest public concern is over the mixing of human and animal genes. Some people object to the insertion of human growth hormone, or hemoglobin, genes in pigs. These animals may be used to make medically useful proteins, and could be considered just an extension of the modern dairy industry which tries to increase milk production in cows. To challenge the integrity of a species requires more than a single gene change. There is also research to produce transgenic animals which can be organ donors for humans. This is technically difficult, but perhaps possible - but at first people may consider this concept "playing God". However, eating animals, or having inbred dog varieties is considered acceptable, which suggests that it will be within the bounds of common morality to use animals for organ donors. One could argue that medical need is a greater reason than the desire to eat meat, so that this will be accepted, and there is more ethical justification for this type of "bioreactor" agriculture than for meat production. .c
However, genes may be altered if it presents a better alternative to the other options available for providing food for other members of the human race, we must consider alternatives. There is no inherent "sanctity of the genes", however, we may value to maintenance of existing species and "natural" nature beyond our agricultural use, which is consistent with world-wide publc opinion .
D. Footholds on slippery slopes
In most interventions in life there are slippery slopes. The idea is that because we perform some action, we will perform another. Controls which were adequate for initial exploration may fail under increased pressure. While we may not do any direct harm with the application in question, it could result in progressive lowering of standards towards the ill-defined line beyond which it would be doing harm. The inability to draw a line is no measure of the nonimportance of an issue - rather some of the biggest fundamental questions in bioethics and life are of this nature.
Some people, from all countries, say that some developments of science and technology such as genetic engineering are interfering with nature because "nature knows best". However, we have some good reasons to interfere with parts of nature, for example, we try to cure many diseases that afflict humans or other living organisms and we must eat. A negative science fiction image has been easily promoted and is appealing to the human imagination. The fascination with creating "new forms of life" is coupled to a fear of how far it might be taken. There are many movies which play on scary themes, from Frankenstein to the 1993 blockbuster movie Jurassic Park brought genetic engineering into the imagination of many. These are very powerful in shaping public acceptance and perceptions.
E. Animal regulations
Animals have long been used for agriculture, and are likely to continue to be used. Genetic engineering and biotechnology continue the trend to look for increased efficiency in terms of the products. They will be further used in the production of useful substances such as proteins for medical use. Some religious rules also consider the appropriateness of different uses of animals .
The moral status of animals, and decisions about whether it is ethical for humans to use them, depends on several key attributes; the ability to think, the ability to be aware of family members, the ability to feel pain (at different levels), and the state of being alive. Causing pain is considered bad, and it is the major guiding principle for animal treatment [1, 37]. If we do use animals we should avoid pain.
If we believe that we evolved from animals we should think that some of the attributes that we believe humans have, which confer moral value on humans, may also be present in some animals . Although we cannot draw black and white lines, we could say that because some primates or whales and dolphins appear to possess similar brain features, similar family behaviour and grief over the loss of family members to humans, they possess higher moral status than animals that do not exhibit these. Therefore, if we can achieve the same end by using animals that are more "primitive" than these, such as other mammals, or animals more primitive than mammals, then we should use the animals, at the lowest evolutionary level suitable for such experiment, or for food production (which is by far the greatest use of animals), or use plants or cells.
Animals are part of the biological community in which we live, and we have to consider the ethical implications of whether they possess autonomy. If we consider biological relationships it is natural to ask the question whether animals share similar behaviour to humans. When we look at animals we see that some animals exhibit non-selfish behaviour, called altruism. Some even give when there is no hope to receive any genetic benefit, helping unrelated individuals. We must therefore ask the question is altruism the basis for love?, and does it make an ethical difference . In practice, we need to build a society which minimises the departure from the ideal of doing no harm, and respects the choices that people make.
People will continue to eat animals, and practical ethics must improve the ethical treatment for all animals. One area of concern is whether animals should be in a field or in a caged box, or factory farm. There have been several countries which have banned the use of battery caged hens. It has been illegal to use battery; cages in Switzerland since 1992. The possible boredom of animals on factory farms  may be another ethical argument against their use. People need to decide how much more they are prepared to pay for better treatment of animals, such as the costs of eliminating battery farming, or the costs in not using new animal treatments that produce cheaper milk or meat such as bovine growth hormone. The consequences on the different communities involved in agriculture of these decisions also needs to be considered, with a variety of external factors.
F. Sustainability and balancing ideals
Rather than calling these factors principles, we could call them ideals . These ideals all need to be balanced, and the balance varies more within any culture than between any two. Surveys combined with observations of policy and behaviour in different countries allow us to look at how these principles and ideals are balanced. An examination of history also shows how the balancing act has varied in different times and places. In another paper I have discussed what is ethical biotechnology .
In the midst of growing awareness of environmental change and damage we should be aware of the need for sustainable living. Sustainable living involves not just efficient agriculture, but also minimising our energy use and pollution. It involves changing public policy and the very way people think. In the long term the most important approach is a lasting change of human attitudes to those that are compatible with sustainable life. We need lifestyle change most, but biotechnology may aid the process of sustainability. Part of this change may be changing preferences for agricultural products.
We must ensure that efficient and sustainable agriculture is encouraged, but recognise it is only part of a broader solution. Sustainable agriculture could be defined as the appropriate use of crop and livestock systems and agricultural inputs supporting those activities which maintain economic and social viability while preserving the high productivity and quality of the land. We need to improve agricultural efficiency to succeed, however current research interests in biotechnology are not necessarily the best way to provide sustainable agriculture. Large corporations are developing new techniques that may require constant application. For example biological weed control is more cost effective and has a higher success rate than that achieved in searching for useful agrochemicals, yet development is limited because it may not make commercial profits.
Some of the criticism is against technology in general, and needs balanced consideration. For example, there are valid criticisms about the development of herbicide-tolerant plants, that biological control is better, but they do have immediate environmental advantages in some cases. For example, maize growers make 4-6 herbicide applications a season, but if the crop was tolerant to a broad-spectrum post-emergence herbicide only one application would be needed. Reducing herbicide use and switching to biodegradable products is consistent with sustainable agriculture and is an important practical step in that direction, as long as commercial interests do not prevent the eventual widespread use of the ideal, biological control .
IV. The future of bioethical biotechnology
A. Scientific responsibility
The ethical role of scientists is defined by several levels of moral community: the scientific community itself, the local community, the national society, and the global society. Scientists are involved in a number of different relationships, but first they are participants in society, having the same responsibilities as any citizen. Scientists are also part of a profession. If the scientific profession or community does not censor themselves others will do so.
A basic human responsibility is honesty, which unfortunately is broken by some. The USA established a special Office of Research Integrity to investigate cases of alleged scientific misconduct. They define "research misconduct is plagiarism; fabrication or deliberate falsification of data, research procedures, or data analysis; or other deliberate misrepresentation in proposing, conducting, reporting, or reviewing research" . Just less than half the cases brought to the office have resulted in guilty charges being upheld against scientists.
There are social responsibilities in the choice and use of research. Some basic areas of responsibility include: those related to the acquisition of scientific knowledge, awareness of the potential for misapplication of their findings, to make society a partner in the management of knowledge, bearing in mind the interests of present and future generations and the need to actively value human beings and other life, as described above.
Other people are involved in the application of science in the world. Companies have been responsible for about 80% of the releases of GMOs in the world . As commercial seeds and animals are passed on to farmers the farmers will assume increasing responsibility for sensible farming practice, which is usually in their long term interests also, e.g. monitoring of pest resistance to insecticidal proteins.
B. Teaching ethical, environmental and social issues science raises
Unless the broader dimensions of applied science are taught, society will be unable to make balanced decisions about the use of technology. In all countries in the International Bioethics Survey there is strong support for teaching students about the ethical and social issues associated with science and technology , and such issues are already introduced into the curriculum to varying degrees in Australia, New Zealand and Japan, as measured in the International Bioethics Education Survey. The general attitudes to the teaching of bioethics were extremely positive. It is interesting that more biology teachers thought bioethics should be taught in biology classes, while social teachers thought they should teach it.
There is more inclusion in Australia and New Zealand teachers than in Japan. There should be research into how these issues are being best taught, the most suitable issues, the suitable classes and the most effective delivery. They are relevant to both science and social studies classes. The next stage in the education project is the development of materials to aid the teaching of these issues, and the responses obtained were used to make such materials. Teachers are testing some materials, and developing them for use at appropriate times in existing courses.
Public education is a special responsibility of scientists, who have the best knowledge of the technology, even if they may not know of the impact so much. Recently, surveys of scientists in the USA  and Europe  engaged in recombinant DNA research, found that more saw public attention on genetic engineering research as beneficial or neutral than harmful to their research. The view in America was more positive than in Europe. Further public education programs to stress the benefits of biotechnology have been called for by others in North America and Europe as well . Their goal is to reduce what is seen as a high level of concern about the technology, which seems unobtainable given the views of educated groups that have been surveyed People who have high familiarity with such techniques, such as scientists and high school biology teachers, are also concerned about such technology , and the emotions concerning acceptance of technology are varied and complex.[1, 23]. Rather than attempting to dismiss feelings of concern, society should value and debate these concerns to improve the bioethical maturity of society.
In fact, in the International Bioethics Survey the most positive samples towards enhancement genetic engineering were from Thailand and India, which as a country in general may not be as highly educated as Japan or Australasia. Even if those samples did include more graduates than the other countries, the trend is also seen in an educated sample from a medical school in China  that used questions used in Japan in 1991 . The results of another survey in China on science and technology in 1989 also found extremely positive attitudes towards technology with only 2% saying that science and technology did more harm than good, with 82% saying more good and 12% saying the same . In the International Bioethics Survey Thailand was most similar to China, with 3% saying more harm, 54% more good and 42% the same . The effect of education on attitudes to biotechnology needs to be examined, with comparisons to other influences on opinion, such as experience of pollution, food supply, medical benefit, etc.
C. Safety and risk are bioethical concerns
In some discussions of the impact of biotechnology safety and risk are considered separate from bioethical concerns. However, as shown above, the origin of concern about safety and impact is the ethical principle of do no harm. People of various cultures, ages, educational training, occupation and outlook on life perceive both benefits and risks from developments of science and technology [1, 23]. Technology that touches life is perceived to be just as worthwhile as technology which does not directly affect living organisms, but people may perceive more risks from technology that directly affects living organisms than from those physical science developments which do not. This is true of countries with a long history of technological use, such as Europe, a dependency upon agriculture, such as New Zealand or Australia, an industrial economy such as Japan, a mixed economy as the USA, or a developing economy such as China, India or Thailand.
People do show the ability to balance benefits and risks of science and technology. People in the countries surveyed do not have a simplistic view of science and technology, and can often perceive both benefits and risks. This data also generally finds most of the total diversity in all samples is found in any one country or group. In every society there are people who want to use new genetic techniques and those who do not. The issue goes deeper than religion or culture, and suggests that these issues will always be divided. Individuals in different countries share similar attitudes to these questions, but still the social systems around Asia and Oceania are different. Despite the similarity in the views of individuals, the social system in Japan and some other countries is constructed differently, and may not represent the views of the public .
The results are also being used in an attempt to develop a method for assessing the general "bioethical maturity" of different societies, which includes the ability to balance benefit and risk; and discretion between enhancement and therapy; and the balance between autonomy and freedom/restriction . The social consequences of biotechnology depend on the society that we make - but they are international. We can conclude that bioethical concerns are already one factor affecting the implementation of biotechnology in agriculture, because they are part of the "equation" that people use when deciding whether to accept the products. It is in the interests of the whole of society that people make good decisions considering the total current and future impact of their choices, and scientists have a role in education to enable this.
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41. W.H.Y. Lo et al., A survey of people with higher education to genetics and diseases in Beijing, Intractable Neurological Disorders, Human Genome Research and Society, (N. Fujiki and D.R.J. Macer, eds.), Eubios Ethics Institute, Christchurch, 1994, pp. 195-198.42. Z. Zhang, "People and science: Public attitudes in China toward science and technology", Science and Public Policy 18: 311-7 (1991).
43. D. Macer, The 'far east' of biological ethics, Nature 359: 770, 1992.
Sample characteristics and awareness of biotechnology in the International
|%'s of N|
|Response rate (%)||22||13||23||26||57||36||43||<20||60||70||66||65||50||70||80||52||61||28||47||21||37||26|
|Mean age (years)||47.4||45.2||41.7||39.8||30.6||37.2||36.3||33.4||20.8||18.1||21.1||21.8||21.3||21.1||19.3||21.0||40.8||42.5||41.8||42.0||40.7||40.0|
|2 year college||18||15||19||22||6||3||18||20||48||4||6||13||18||0||77||3||1||2||0.4||1||0.2||1|
Awareness of pesticides
|Not heard of it||2||5||3||4||5||0||2||4||2||5||5||6||0||1||7||13||0||0||0||0||0.4||0.3|
|Heard of it||48||47||61||58||44||34||54||60||60||56||73||41||59||76||67||78||5||6||5||10||24||40|
Awareness of Biotechnology
|Not heard of it||23||19||6||3||10||2||8||18||13||25||5||7||6||13||0.4||8||0||6||0||8||1||1|
|Heard of it||62||56||65||65||53||57||62||62||54||54||69||53||71||68||45||74||12||51||11||38||11||50|
Awareness of genetic engineering
|Not heard of it||9||9||9||6||17||13||14||8||0||3||8||10||17||4||1||7||0||4||0||1||1||15|
|Heard of it||62||49||74||68||46||58||60||82||26||43||67||40||63||60||51||79||7||41||9||43||25||67|
Abbreviations used in all tables: NZ=New Zealand; A=Australia; J=Japan; J91 from Japan 1991 survey (Macer, 1992); Thai=Thailand; R=Russia;
P=Philippines; S=Singapore; HK=Hong Kong; b=biology teacher; s=social studies teacher.
Source: Ref: 1.
Table 2: Perceptions of benefit and risk, and open comments about biotechnology
|Q6. Do you personally believe biotechnology is a worthwhile area for scientific research? Why?...|
|Good for environ||2.2||0.5||1.2||3.2||12.2||1.7||0||1.1||5.7||2.4||1.0||15.5||3.2||3.2||2.9||5.4||0||1.6||0.9||2.2||1.1|
|Help if careful||4.4||5.6||2.7||2.3||5.0||0.2||8||2.1||1.9||1.9||1.9||2.6||3.8||2.0||0||9.3||5.3||14.1||14.6||13.9||16.0|
|Q7. Do you have any worries about the impact of research or applications of biotechnology ? How much? Why?...|
|Social effect bad||1.1||2.7||0.3||1.0||0.7||0.7||0||0||1.1||1.0||1.0||0.9||1.3||1.2||0||0||0||0.9||4.9||1.6||1.8|
Source: Ref: 1.Table 4: Concerns about consuming foods made from genetically modified organisms
|Q13. Before today, were you aware that genetically modified organisms, such as bacteria, plants and animals, are being used to produce food and medicines? 1Yes 2 No|
Q14. If any of the following were to be produced from genetically modified organisms, would you have any concerns about using them? How much? Why? 1 No 2 A few 3 Some 4 A lot
Source: Ref: 1.Table
3: Approval of environmental
release of genetically modified organisms
Q31. If there was no direct risk to humans and only very remote risks to the environment, would you approve or disapprove of the environmental use of genetically engineered organisms designed to produce...? Yes- Approve No- Disapprove DK Don't know
|Tomatoes with better taste|
|Healthier meat (e.g. less fat)|
|Larger sport fish|
|Bacteria to clean up oil spills|
|Disease resistant crops|
|Cows which produce more milk|
|Q1d. Genetically modified plants and animals will help agriculture become less dependent on chemical pesticides.
++ Agree + Agree Strongly = Neither - Disagree -- Disagree Strongly
Source: Ref: 1.Table 5: Reasons given for feelings about consuming foodstuffs made from genetically modified organisms (Q14)
|Q14 reasons||Public||High school teachers|
|Long term risk||Dairy||3||1.5||5||0.8||1.8||2.7||0||3.2||0.9||0.9||0.7||1.7||1.3||2.0||0||5.1||11.5||13.2||6.8||4.0||3.7|
Table 5 continued:
Reasons given for feelings about consuming foodstuffs made from
genetically modified organisms (Q14)
Source: Ref: 1.
Trust in authorities
(Q29) Suppose that a number of groups
made public statements about the benefits and risks of biotechnology
products. Would you have a lot of trust, some trust, or no trust
in statements made by...?
Companies making biotechnology products
Farmers or farm groups
Dietitians or nutritionists
Source: Ref: 1.
Table 6: Genetic engineering and cross species gene transfer
Q9. Genes from most types of organisms are interchangeable. Would potatoes made more nutritious through biotechnology be acceptable or unacceptable to you if genes were added from another type of plant, such as corn? Why?
Q10. Would such potatoes be acceptable or unacceptable to you if the new genes came from an animal? Why?
Q11. Would chicken made less fatty through biotechnology be acceptable or unacceptable if genes were added to the chicken from another type of animal? Why?
Q12. Would such chicken be acceptable or unacceptable if the genes came from a human?Why?
Source: Ref: 1.Table
8: Support for patenting
Q30. People who create something original
can obtain financial reward for their efforts through patents
and copyright. In your opinion, for which of the following should
people be able to obtain patents and copyright? 1 Approve
2 Disapprove 3 Don't know
New Inventions, such as consumer products
Books and other information
New plant varieties
New animal breeds
Genetic material extracted from plants and animals
Genetic material extracted from humans
A medical treatment or drug to cure AIDS
Source: Ref: 1.
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