Biotechlogy is one of the fastest-growing areas of scientific, technical and industrial invation and one of the most controversial. As developments have occurred such as genetic test therapies and the breeding of genetically modified food crops, so the public debates have become more heated and grave concerns have been expressed about access to genetic information, labelling of genetically modified foods and human and animal cloning. Across Europe, public opinion has become a crucial factor in the ability of governments and biotech industries to exploit the new techlogy. This 2002 book presents the results of a unique cross-national and cross-disciplinary study of the relationship between the development of new biotechlogy and public perception, media coverage and policy formulation. It outlines a conceptual framework for understanding these issues and contains a number of empirical studies including studies of the international controversies surrounding the cloning of Dolly the sheep and GM Soya.
Martin Bauer is a lecturer in social psychology and research methodology at the London School of Economics. He is also Research Fellow at the Science Museum in London. His recent projects include Re-analysis of Eurobarometer 1989, Public Perceptions of the Human Genome Project in Britain, The Construction of Indicators of Public Understanding of Science in Europe and UK Science and Technology Media Monitor, 1945-85. John Durant is the Assistant Director, Science Communication Division, at the Science Museum London and a Professor of Public Understanding of Science, Imperial College London. He is also Chairman of the EFB task group on public perceptions of biotechnology. Recent projects include a UK national survey of public understanding of science.