The STEPS Centre Symposium, 26 September 2009, focused on our Innovation, Sustainability, Development: A New Manifesto project. This presentation by Brian Wynne of the University of Lancaster was one of those given at the event. For more information see: www.anewmanifesto.org
Manifesto: Brian Wynne - The GMO controversy as 'public engagement with science'
The GMO Controversy as “Public Engagement with Science”<br />It was not a ‘scientific issue’ – it was a public issue involving science <br />‘Public engagement with science’ occurred well before it was invited (BBSRC, 1994: GM Nation, 2003). It was uninvited, and multifarious<br />It had an impact on science – eg BBSRC, 2004 Crop Science Rev, +<br />That impact was very different from the apocalyptic scenarios of some leading scientists <br />It was ‘upstream’, even if also (in timing) ‘downstream’ <br />The influence on the science – moving away from concentration and ‘monopoly vision’ - could not have occurred without reflective scientific response to (powerful) public signals<br />The public could not have offered those new technical directions<br />It would have been stupid to expect them to do so – but not stupid to listen, understand and respond to those public concerns<br />Diversity isenhanced in scientific (& agricultural?) trajectories<br />
UK BBSRC April 2004 Crop Science Review <br />“proposes a stronger national focus on research underpinning ‘public good’ plant breeding”<br />“Public-good plant breeding:The response to the consultation exercise identified a widely perceived need for public-good plant breeding, in order to address crops and traits not emphasised by multinational interests and to restore public confidence in plant breeding…The initiative should aim to provide improved germplasm and technology for the development of new varieties, thereby complementing and supporting, not competing with commercial companies” <br />“BBSRC should seek to increase publicity for public-good plant breeding and to emphasise the role of genomically-informed but non-transgenic approaches to crop science research” <br />Now being funded, Crop Science Initiative ( ~£15m 2009)<br />
“We highlight two further issues concerning technological priorities. First is the need to identify and generate new sources of variation for important traits and to strengthen the science underpinning the development of non-GM approaches to crop improvement such as the identification of allelic variants associated with improved function, introgression of chromosomal elements (or individual genes) from related species and resynthesis of polyploid crops. Transgenic plants involving gene transfer between species are not a prerequisite for exploiting genomics but do provide a useful tool in understanding gene function”<br />