Bioethics, Politics and Business

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In the decision-making involving biosciences and biotechnology, both politicians and the general public have come to increasingly rely on different kinds of experts and specialised bodies. Interest groups such as industry, religious authorities and consumer organisations also try to influence political decision-making, and the role of the media has not always been - it is claimed - as neutral as the public perceives it to be. At the same time, according to the democratic ideal, ultimate power should rest with the parliamentarians and with the people. Who has the power in decision-making in biotechnology? Can there be legitimate expertise in bioethics? How can we improve the power balance? These are some of the questions this book seeks to answer. The book is divided into three parts. The first part presents articles dealing with the role of biopolitics and the expert bodies in relation to the democratic ideal. The second part looks at the special role of the media in relation to decision-making in bioethics and biopolitics. The third part of the book looks at the links between the biotechnology industry and bioethical decision-making.



Dolly in the Public Sphere – Expectations and Fear in a Decade of Overselling

Dolly, the cloned sheep, was a biotechnological breakthrough —living proof, and a powerful symbol, that it is possible to clone mammals by merging an empty egg with the genetic material from an adult cell. The press and “the biotech complex” did, however, both overrate and oversell the practical feasibility of the new technique, and thus contributed to higher expectations than justified as well as graver fears than necessary. Furthermore, Dolly was the only success in 430 attempts, and was put down at the age of six and a half. It is no coincidence that the pioneering technique has since found its main application in stem cell research, to grow tissues and develop organs, but not to create babies.


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