Team:Hong Kong-CUHK/Human practice/questionnaire
Since the CUHK iGEM team aims to understand the perception of the public on genetic modification (GM) as well as Synthetic Biology, we designed and distributed an online questionnaire. Several questions concerning science, GM and synthetic biology were raised. We were glad to see a diverging and yet meaningful result from the 230 respondents, in which 113 of them are male and 117 are female. Respondents are of diverse academic background: they come from all the faculties including Art, Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Science as well as Social Science.
From the results, we found that:
· 88% of the participants believe that science has a great contribution to the development of the society. Many acknowledge the importance of science. 86% of the total find science interesting, which is good news to us as most of the public are not refusing to science.
· Over 60% of the participants think that GM products are safe to consume and only 10% of participants think that GM products cannot be popularly applied in the society. It can be deduced that the acceptance from public to GM products is high and yet can be further improved.
· Only half of the participants have heard of Synthetic Biology before. We believe more promotion can be done to get more people to know about this powerful and novel field of study.
· Near 70% of the participants have thought of utilizing bacteria to benefit the society. Furthermore, if a product, consisting of non-disease causing bacteria, brings convenience to user, over 80% of the participants will choose to use it. We can see that the public shows considerable acceptance towards bacteria-based products. In our opinion, part of this could be attributed to the success of the human practice activities of the Synthetic Biology community.
· Two-third of the total think that the process of genetically controlling bacteria is dangerous and only 20% of the participants believe that it is not risky to use the product of Synthetic Biology. It is glad to see that the public might have noticed the potential risks of Synthetic Biology. However, we suggest more safety aspects of Synthetic Biology should be educated to the public: on one hand, to ease their worries on safety issues. On the other hand, to address the issue professionally so they can gain more accurate understanding in an efficient way.
· Finally, we raise the issue of ethics: whether human beings have the right to control bacteria just because we wish to. We hope to bring out the ethical issues to the public, thereby encouraging them to have a good thought on questions of this kind.
"Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things." - Theodore Levitt
©Copyright CUHK IGEM Team 2011