Inderscience Publishers

Attitudes to biotechnology in Asia

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Courtesy of Inderscience Publishers

There are few surveys looking at attitudes towards biotechnology in developing countries. In 1993, the International Bioethics Survey was conducted in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, The Philippines, Russia, Singapore and Thailand, with the aid of collaborators. The survey involved 150 questions including 35 open ones, on biotechnology and genetic subjects. Comparisons of attitudes towards enhancement genetic engineering (e.g. for enhancing intelligence using gene therapy, or developing a new fish for sport) show opinions in Europe, Japan and Oceania are more reserved, with people in China, Thailand and India being significantly more enthusiastic. The open comments concerning views on the ethical limits of the use of biotechnology and genetics to change living organisms, including humans, are discussed. These comments reveal little fear of eugenics or "playing God", and most support improving programs for genetic improvement or economic benefits.

Keywords: biotechnology, bioethics, public opinion, gene therapy, genetic screening, genetic engineering, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, The Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand

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