Team:UCL/Practice/Survey

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Revision as of 02:03, 5 October 2013

Online Survey

Consulting Public Opinion

The online survey serves the purpose of exploring the public opinion on synthetic biology and neuro-engineering. We wanted to research who are the ones that are interested and concerned about this line of research, and what their opinion are on different forms of neuro-genetic engineering, how much alteration is deemed appropriate, and what are the major concerns of neuro-genetic engineering.

How comfortable are you about using gene products from genetically modified (GM) bacteria to benefit human health? These products are created outside of the body, and administered as drugs.

This concludes that the majority (53.1%) of the people who responded to the survey are positive about using gene products from genetically modified bacteria created outside of the body through drug delivery to benefit human health. This indicates a positive respond from the public in that they are comfortable using such technology for the benefit of human kind.

How comfortable are you about using gene products from GM animals to benefit human health? These products are taken from animals, and may involve killing the animal. ['

The results from this question is relatively mixed, this indicates roughly that the public is generally not in favour of using gene products from GM animals to benefit human health, these products are taken from animals and may involve killing the animal. A big portion (34.4%) is indifferent about the matter and (28.1%) is in favour of using gene products from GM animals. This indicates that the ethical side of using animals for drug making is justified if it is seen to benefit the human kind.

How comfortable do you feel about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) being inserted into your body (excluding the nervous system) for health benefits? For example, ingesting a yoghurt with live GM bacteria or inserting GM human cells to tackle cancer?

This diagram indicates that the majority (59.4%) are in favour of both the use of GM human cells in the body (excluding the nervous system) for health benefits such as ingesting a yoghurt with live GM bacteria or inserting GM human cells to tackle cancer. Second in line is people in favour of inserting live GM bacteria into the body through ingestion to tackle cancer cells, but not genetically modifying native human cells to tackle cancer. This data concludes that the public is generally more comfortable to have foreign substance be injected into the body rather than having their own cells modified. In general, the responses show that people are more in favour of using genetically modification to treat health diseases.

Would you feel comfortable with a medical procedure that alters gene expression in the brain?

This question concludes that most people are in favour of altering brain cells as a medical procedure against dementia, though there is only a slight difference between those who are against and those who are in favour.

Would you support the use of genetic neuro-enhancements in society, which alter gene expression / connectivity in the brain? These procedures could alter intellectual and cognitive traits, from intelligence to memory.

Data analysis indicates that the majority is against large enhancements involving alteration of intellectual and cognitive traits from intelligence to memory,as this concerns a relative sensitive topic concerning identity modification. It is interesting to see how much alteration of the brain the public deem to be appropriate

Would you generally support the use of genetic neuro-therapy in society? This could reduce, for example, violent behaviour in criminals, sexual preferences of paedophiles, etc., as well as introduce 'cosmetic psychology', the ability to choose religiosity, optimism/pessimism, sleeping patterns, sexual orientation, etc?

The majority is against genetic neuro-therapy for cosmetic psychology purposes, however using genetic neuro-therapy for rehabilitation to reduce criminality is somehow justified.

What do you feel are the main driving influences behind your answers to the last three questions concerning gene manipulation in brain cells?

The last question concludes that the public opinion on the driving influences behind gene manipulation in the brain comes largely from the benefits/ costs to society, the next one comes from benefits/ costs to the happiness of the treatment user. Religious moral view take up a very little percentage of the reply. It appears that more people care largely about the benefit and cost to society rather than the benefit and costs to the health of the treatment user.

In conclusion, the result seemed to give a nice overview of the public opinion of synthetic biology and neuro-genetic engineering. Data analysis and a graphic display of the results conclude that most of the young people care about synthetic biology more than the older generation. The greatest split of opinion is still the debate between whether genetic engineering of native cells in the brain is acceptable or not. This indicates that as a relatively new field of therapy, the public is still uncertain whether the treatment is safe and effective to use. The cost to society is also a concern as it appears to be relatively expensive to research and use genetically engineer cells as a medical treatment.