Science, Expertise and Democracy: A Study of the Role of Scientists in Shaping the Regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms and Human Embryonic Stem-Cell Research in Brazil

31 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 18 Apr 2013

See all articles by Maya Mitre

Maya Mitre

UFMG

Bruno Reis

Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)

Date Written: September 2010

Abstract

In this paper, we analyze the role of the Brazilian scientific community in shaping the 2005 Law of Biosecurity, which regulates both genetically modified organisms and human embryonic stem-cell research. More specifically, we focus on how scientists, as an interest group, justified the importance of their expert input in the construction of this law and in the regulatory framework while acknowledging the ethical problems and cognitive uncertainties involved in these issues. We argue, first, that their strategies varied in accordance with the two different types of technologies and policy decisions that were at stake in the bill under discussion. As a broader conclusion, we sustain that besides influencing the outcome of this specific law, scientists were interested in justifying the relevance of their role as experts in the democratic society vis-à-vis growing calls for the democratization of expertise.

Keywords: genetically modified organisms, human embryonic stem-cell research, biosecurity, scientists, Brazil

Suggested Citation

Mitre, Maya and Reis, Bruno, Science, Expertise and Democracy: A Study of the Role of Scientists in Shaping the Regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms and Human Embryonic Stem-Cell Research in Brazil (September 2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1643183

Maya Mitre (Contact Author)

UFMG ( email )

Av. Antonio Carlos, 6627
Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais 31270-901
Brazil

Bruno Reis

Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) ( email )

Av. Antonio Carlos, 6627
Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais 31270-901
Brazil

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