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Biotechnology and the New Zealand public (V0180)

The public are going to be affected by, and can affect, the future of biotechnology research.

Representatives from NZBio and Ministry of Research, Science & Technology think it is important that public communities are involved in the dialogue.
This clip was produced in conjunction with NZBio.

Transcript

Brian Ward (NZBio): I think biotechnology is a very complex mix of technologies. The basis is the biological sciences, and there is whole range of things that are potential applications for biotechnology. Some of those applications are extraction of natural bioactives from natural raw materials at one end of the spectrum. At the other end of the spectrum we have technologies like genetic modification and stem cells. So, there is a whole range of activities. I think in terms of public concern, with 80% of the technologies they are probably quite comfortable. There’s 20% of the technologies that need to be explained very carefully, and the risks need to be understood, and obviously we need to take into account moral and ethical issues.

George Slim (Ministry of Research, Science & Technology): The public have the opportunity to comment on most of what is happening. So for large trials, for things where public notification is required, those things have to go out for a public review process, so the public will pick up on it there.

Brian Ward (NZBio): I think the key thing about biotechnology for the public, is that it’s going to provide some fantastic opportunities in the future for jobs. It’s going to provide opportunities for key things like health care, environmental sustainability, better agriculture, cleaner industrial processes.

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