A Study of How Experts and Non-Experts Make Decisions on Releasing Genetically Modified Plants


Abstract
Abstract   The introduction of genetically modified plants into the environment has been marked by different positions, either in favor of or against their release. However, the problem goes well beyond such contradictory positions; it is necessary to take into account the legislation, ethics, biosafety, and the environment in the considerations related to the release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). To this end, the Brazilian Committee of Biosafety (CTNBio), a consultative and deliberative multidisciplinary collegiate, provides technical and advisory support to the Brazilian Federal Government. This committee consists of scientists and non-scientists who participate in evaluating the dossiers of companies that are requesting approval by the Brazilian Government; consequently, the aim of this study was to investigate whether commercial approvals of GMOs were associated with the profile of the CTNBio members. Research was based on the minutes taken at CTNBio meetings carried out from 2006 up to 2009, considering law 11.105/2005 and the Constitution of 1988 as legal frameworks, to determine the number of voters in favor of or against releasing genetically modified Bt-maize, Bt-cotton, and herbicide resistant soybeans to be used in Brazilian agriculture. Via the internet, we had access to the curriculum vitae of the CTNBio members through the Plataforma Lattes database of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), where we found their area of expertise. CTNBio members were divided into expert-for, expert-against, non-expert-for, and non-expert-against. Results showed that CTNBio decisions could be based on technical criteria as well as on the policy of the institution that expert-members were representing. Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-11 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9347-x Authors Glenda Morais Rocha Braña, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Bioética da Cátedra/UNESCO, Faculdade de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, DF, Brazil Ana Luisa Miranda-Vilela, Departamento de Genética e Morfologia, Laboratório de Genética Toxicológica, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, DF, Brazil Cesar Koppe Grisolia, Departamento de Genética e Morfologia, Laboratório de Genética Toxicológica, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, DF, Brazil Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
Keywords Bioethics  Biotechnology  Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)  Genetically modified (GM) plants  GMO release
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DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9347-x
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References found in this work BETA

Bioethics and Conflicts of Interest.Richard E. Ashcroft - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 35 (1):155-165.
Are Scientists Right and Non-Scientists Wrong? Reflections on Discussions of GM.Jan Deckers - 2005 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 18 (5):451-478.
Bioethics and Conflicts of Interest.Richard E. Ashcroft - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 35 (1):155-165.

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