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Safety discussion

We had a relationship with Chiaki Ishizuka who belongs to Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences. She was interested in our activity and sent an e-mail. We took the questionnaire about the genetic modification of the artist's glance to her and her friends.





We were able to obtain an answer from five artists this time. Six questions and the answers to them are as follows.

Q1. Have you studied genetic modification ?
-Yes: 2 persons/ No: 3 persons
the opinion of the supporter:

  • I checked it for technical interest.
  • I studied at the time of the social studies of the elementary school.

Q2.What kind of image do you have toward a scientist studying genetic modification ?

  • I have not thought.
  • Slightly scared.
  • I think that they are troubled by criticism from the world for the ethic to remodel the animals and plants, and it is thought that there is a limit for a study.
  • I identify them with other fields researchers.
  • I think they are intelligent.

The gene-recombination technology can suppose that it is not familiar to artists.

Q3.Do you object about genetically modifying plants?
-Yes: 1 person/ No: 1 person / neither:3 persons
the opinion of the supporter:

  • There is no problem if they consider what the gene-recombination technology impacts human and environment, and use the technology while setting a limit so that adverse effects don’t happen.

 the opinion of the person who answered “neither”:
  • Because selective breeding is carried out from old days, I don’t worry.
  • Judging from the experiment of the existing stage, I do not object for now.
  • If the researchers don’t have malicious intent, I do not object.
  • I do not think that genetic modification leads to the profanity for the living life.
  • If the researchers control these plants not to let them escape and destroy ecosystem, I do not have any problem.

 the opinion of the opponent:
  • Because human change the living, it has influence that it is not good for the global environment.

Q4.Do you object about genetically modifying animals?
-Yes: 1 person/ No: 1 person / neither: 3 persons
the opinion of the supporter:

  • The technology is likely to greatly contribute to various fields.
  • The technology must overcome the ethical problem
 the opinion of the person who answered “neither”:
  • I am afraid of treating the blood-circulating creatures.
  • Judging from the experiment of the existing stage, I do not object for now.
  • I want the researchers to consider that animals must be suffering from the pain in the experiment.
 the opinion of the opponent:
  • The technology may have a bad influence to biological diversity.
  • When the researchers apply the technology to human, only the people that are good at exercising and studying will be born.

In the question about animals, some people seem to feel pity for animal and feel a sense of impending crisis to a difference of the ability by applying to human. In both topics (about plants and animals), the ayes and noes were divided.

Q5.Which do you buy better, genetically modified foods or non- genetically modified foods?
non-genetically modified foods: 4 persons / other: 1 person
the opinion of selecting non- genetically modified foods:

  • I feel that it is safer than genetically modified foods.
  • I have heard a rumor that to eat genetically modified foods leads the onset of cancer.
  • Because I often see the phrase “non-genetically modified foods” on the label of food, I dislike genetically modified foods.
  • I think the producer of genetically modified foods are about to positively make a profit in depreciation of consumer’s health. But if they can produce the tomatoes which are much sweeter than normal ones.
  • I do not understand the actual situation of genetically modified foods.

 other option:
  • I buy cheap and delicious one.
  • If the fluorescent natto exist, I try to eat it.

Q6.Can you love genetically modified animals?
Yes: 5 persons
the opinion of the supporter:

  • I can love it if I do not hold physiological loathsomeness. But, if strange animals are born, I come to dislike them.
  • I like fluorescent rabbits.
  • I think genetically modified animals are similar to the animals made selective breeding such as cats and dogs.
  • I don’t expect it positively.
  • Even if it is any animal, I can love it.

Almost everyone think that they can love genetically modified animals but don’t eat genetically modified foods. Thus, in the case they themselves take it in, people feel uneasiness because this connects directly with health. While, some people try to eat value-added foods.

Many artists aren’t familiar with genetic modification technology. We find that they don’t have a prejudice against genetically modified products even if they don’t know the genetic modification in detail. But, few people don’t try to eat the strange foods regardless of whether they have special knowledge or not.


After having shown the result of the above-mentioned questionnaire, we discussed a genetically-modified ethics in team members, an undergraduate, teachers ,and so on.

One of the members who thought so asked people who participated in a discussion how genetic modification should do it so that it prevented you from being thought that scary. First, the following opinion was provided:

The long-term influence of genetically-modified foods may have varies risks and is not still ( because there is not an example) known.

In the first place, there is a primary problem that we cannot prove safety of GM food as we cannot prove safety of non-GM food, by the reason that it is on the market and sufficiently fills safety standards. Of course, all foods should exist with a premise that they are safe and have safety standards (at least in Japan). But any food might be poison if taken in large quantities even if it passes the standards regardless of genetically modified or not. For example, salt raises risks of high blood pressure, cancer and apoplexy by taken too much even though salt is necessary to human. On the other hand, sodium nitrite must be added to sausage to restrain bacteria from multiplication even though it is powerful drug. So we can regard any food as safe thing when we eat within common sense, but we cannot affirm that any food is safe because it is dealt in.

When we make something regarded as safe thing, food for thought depends on whether it is really safe or not. To show safety of safe things, they should use, eat, etc. But in reality, there is few things known as absolutely safe thing. Then how should we have to do with things we don’t know they are safe or not?

It is difficult to say that genetically modified things, which have unnatural genes are safe. Of course it is sure that we cannot say a thing non-unraveled is safe, while it is a truth that many people don’t have evaluation criteria of him/her and get indeterminate anxiety. If he get information on a subject and be able to judge the safety of it by concrete bases with his criteria, it will be not that he avoid the subject because of indeterminate anxiety at least.

Then what should we do to get evaluation criteria? Unfortunately, I haven’t got my criteria even though writing this page. If I will have to choose a non-GM food or a 50% discounted GM food, I will be unable to decide whether to buy.

What should we (this “we” means all people, not only concerned in the field) do to get our own evaluation criteria? One of the ways should be opportunities to get concerned about this field at compulsory education.

Here, we are students or scientists influenced on synthetic biology using the technique of gene recombination. So every of us should get own evaluation criteria which can be used to convince children. To realize that, they are important for us to have a chance to consider a matter by get to know opinions from other areas and to find hints for making criteria by conversing with people in near areas. And it is most important to know much by experience and mature the own criteria.

Besides, though it isn’t apply to only this field, we should show answers matured in own area to any area. It lets us deepen other’s understanding of the study, and perhaps we can get points to improve from them. It is reciprocal. So exchanging opinions with people in various areas makes the relationship between each ones better and let us acquire study more and more in own area.