In public debate GMPs are oftenreferred to as being unnatural or a violationof nature. Some people have serious moralconcerns about departures from what is natural.Others are concerned about potential risks tothe environment arising from the combination ofhereditary material moving across naturalboundaries and the limits of scientificforesight of long-term consequences. To addresssome of these concerns we propose that anadditional element in risk assessment based onthe concept of familiarity should beintroduced. The objective is to facilitatetransparency about uncertainties inherent inthe risk assessment of the GMP. Familiarityconventionally involves data and experiencerelating to the plant species and the ecosystemin question. We would like to extend thisconcept to the molecular level of plantbreeding and suggest that GMP characteristicsshould be compared to a reference baselinedetermined by conventional breeding techniques.Three GMPs are ranked according to familiarityat the plant and ecosystem level and themolecular level. The approach may help tointegrate discussion of the scientificarguments and moral questions raised in thedebate about GMOs by providing an operationalscheme within which moral concerns are broughtwithin the framework of science-based riskassessment.
Keywords bioethics  familiarity  regulation  risk assessment  unnatural
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1015729011895
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Dimensions of Naturalness.Helena Siipi - 2008 - Ethics and the Environment 13 (1):pp. 71-103.
Is Natural Food Healthy?Helena Siipi - 2013 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26 (4):797-812.

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