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Genetically Modified Salmon. Lisa Danielson April 8th, 2011. How can democratic values be preserved in a society where science and technology decisions are made by a non-elected academic elite?

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Genetically Modified Salmon


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  1. Genetically Modified Salmon Lisa Danielson April 8th, 2011

  2. How can democratic values be preserved in a society where science and technology decisions are made by a non-elected academic elite? • Are current scientific institutions in the United States responsive to public needs and interests? • Aught there be more public participation in the FDA regulation of Genetically modified salmon?

  3. The Case: The AquAdvantage Salmon - An Atlantic salmon that has been modified with an antifreeze gene from the ocean pout species so it can survive in colder waters, and a growth gene from the Chinook salmon so it will grow twice as fast as a regular Atlantic salmon.

  4. The Issues • The first genetically modified animal that is up for human consumption • Social, ethical, economic and environmental impacts that are not taken into account in the risk assessment process • Being regulated as an “animal drug”

  5. The Paradox • Regulatory bodies in the United States such as the FDA gain their legitimacy from the “cognitive authority” of science • This “cognitive authority” stems from the fact that science is viewed as an objective fact • To maintain the objectivity of science, narrow technical risk assessment is used • However, a narrow analysis misses key issues which leads to a decline in public trust, taking away from the legitimacy of the institution

  6. How is this Happening? • Animal drug: only the gene is examined, information is supplied by the company • The FDA has frequently become political • There is no forum for meaningful public engagement What does this mean for public acceptance of the FDA’s decision?

  7. The Frankenfish

  8. A Deliberative Body • Increased fairness through procedural justice + • Incorporation of social and ethical concerns + • Provides reliable information = Increased public acceptance of final decision

  9. Conclusions • When to deliberate? Separation of the of the technical issues from the social/ethical