SCIENCE Unease over biotechnology

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The Independent Online
Many Europeans feel uneasy about the moral implications and safety of biotechnology, particularly that involving transgenic animals, genetically modified food and animal organ transplants to humans, according to a new survey.

A structured poll, interviewing a total of more than 16,000 people from every country in the EU, found that they also wanted international regulation of biotechnology, and did not trust governments to do the job properly. The respondents did not believe self-regulation by scientists would be effective. British respondents matched the average views of Europeans very closely.

The strongest backing was for the use of biotechnology techniques in genetic testing - for example, to discover the presence of genes predisposing to cancer - and to produce medicines.The results are summarised today in the science journal Nature. Charles Arthur