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Paper Information

Title: 

IRANIAN COMMUNITY’S KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDES TOWARDS BIOTECHNOLOGY

Type: PAPER
Author(s): SHEYKHHA M.H.*,KALANTAR S.M.,VAHIDI ALI REZA,FAGHIHI MARIA
 
 *GENETICS DEPARTMENT, YAZD IVF CENTRE, SHAHID SADUGHI MEDICAL UNIVERSITY, BUALI AVE., SAFAYEH, YAZD, IRAN
 
Name of Seminar: NATIONAL CONGRESS OF BIOTECHNOLOGY OF IRAN
Type of Seminar:  CONGRESS
Sponsor:  IRANIAN BIOTECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION
Date:  2005Volume 4
 
 
Abstract: 

Biotechnology offers a variety of potential environmental, social and economic benefits but, in recent years, it is the center of extreme public and political debate. There are many benefits from biotechnology and this new science can be applied in many fields. Many supporters of biotechnology are concerned that the potential risks of it magnified by the media and its opponents may overshadow the benefits of this new technology. In modern societies, acceptance of new technologies is highly related to the public perceptions. Therefore, public perceptions of biotechnology have received extensive consideration in recent years in most countries and several surveys have been done in this regard. Overall the people’s knowledge levels, awareness of benefits, confidence and trust have an important effect on acceptance of biotechnology, while, more media coverage and activist opposition have negative effect on it. Therefore we decided to investigate what the public knew about biotechnology. A questionnaire was designed to evaluate their knowledge and perceptions about biotechnology. It starts with a brief statement about the nature of biotechnology to give elementary information to the participants follows by 15 multiple-choice questions. In total 600 participants contributed to our survey. A comparison of attitudes of ordinary people with the academic graduates or students was done which shows how the different educational and cultural backgrounds influence public perceptions. The results of our survey showed that people’s knowledge about biotechnology is relatively low but they want to learn more about it. Biotechnology in Iran is at a critical point in terms of public acceptance. Actions and statements by industry, government, and scientists will have a major influence on this issue. There must be a major obligation to provide relevant education and information to people. We cannot employ the same approaches used by the other countries as; different parts of the world clearly require different approaches. The existing benefits of biotechnology such as the hope that biotechnology brings for feeding the world, protecting the environment and fighting disease must be shown to people and finally it is also very important that people trust the source of their information.

 
Keyword(s): BIOTECHNOLOGY, GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS, ETHICS, PUBLIC’S KNOWLEDGE, GENETIC ENGINEERING
 
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