Biotecnologie fra responsabilità ed innovazione

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La seconda edizione della ricerca su “Biotecnologie e opinione pubblica in Italia” frutto della collaborazione tra l’associazione Observa, la Fondazione Giannino Bassetti e il centro di ricerca Poster, analizza l’orientamento dell’opinione pubblica nei confronti della ricerca biotecnologica e delle sue applicazioni, con particolare attenzione a quanto gli italiani realmente sanno in questo campo, al ruolo dei media nella divulgazione scientifica e ai temi del processo decisionale e della responsabilità nel campo della innovazione biotecnologica.

Dai dati raccolti emerge che l’applicazione delle biotecnologie in campo alimentare incontra ancora chiara ostilità in Italia. Solo un italiano su cinque preferirebbe infatti cibi prodotti con organismi geneticamente modificati, anche se il loro gusto fosse migliore di quelli oggi disponibili e solo uno su dieci acquisterebbe cibi ogm, anche se costassero meno di quelli tradizionali. Per il 60% neppure la lotta alla fame nel mondo giustifica i rischi della ricerca in questo settore.

La valutazione più cautamente positiva è legata alla salute. Gli italiani riconoscono infatti all’utilizzo di test per individuare predisposizioni genetiche verso certe malattie la maggiore utilità, associata al minor rischio e alla maggiore accettabilità sul piano morale. Tuttavia, se modificare geneticamente animali per creare organi da trapiantare è ritenuto utile e moralmente accettabile dalla metà degli intervistati, l’utilizzo di embrioni per la ricerca è percepito come rischioso da due terzi del campione, e meno di un terzo gli conferisce accettabilità morale.

E’ così molto netta la distinzione tra clonazione per consentire di aver figli e clonazione terapeutica: se la prima è respinta, la seconda divide l’opinione pubblica. Il 70% ritiene infatti inutile il ricorso alla clonazione riproduttiva, il 65% la giudica rischiosa e il 65% moralmente inaccettabile. Per quanto riguarda la clonazione terapeutica, ovvero la possibilità di estrarre cellule staminali dagli embrioni soprannumerari provenienti dalla fecondazione artificiale o da embrioni appositamente prodotti a tale scopo, la situazione è incerta, ben evidenziata dall’elevata percentuale di “non so” (13%).

Ricerche e applicazioni biotech: decida il governo, purché siano coinvolti i cittadini.

Per quanto riguarda invece il processo decisionale nell’ambito della ricerca e dell’applicazione della scienza biotecnologica, il 37% degli intervistati ritiene che sia il Governo il soggetto che deve prendere decisioni, mentre il 54% lo ritiene responsabile per eventuali rischi derivanti dalle decisioni prese. Tuttavia, un intervistato su quattro ritiene che i primi a dover essere interpellati nell’ambito della regolamentazione della materia dovrebbero essere le organizzazioni dei consumatori e le altre associazioni a tutela dei cittadini. Le organizzazioni dei consumatori sono anche ritenute dal 40% degli interpellati la fonte più autorevole di informazione in materia di biotecnologia, al secondo posto vengono gli scienziati e le Università (20%).

Regolamentazione del biotech: inadeguate le leggi in materia
Gli italiani si sentono poco protetti nei confronti dei rischi delle moderne biotecnologie: il 72% ritiene insufficienti le attuali leggi in materia. Praticamente tutti (95%, con un ulteriore aumento rispetto al 2000) sono d’accordo che i cibi geneticamente modificati portino speciali etichette di riconoscimento. Oltre uno su tre (38%) non sarebbe disposto ad autorizzare in nessun caso la commercializzazione di cibi geneticamente modificati, neppure se ne fossero chiariti rischi e benefici.

Condotta su un campione di 1017 soggetti di età superiore ai 18 anni, l’indagine rileva infine il basso livello di informazione degli italiani in materia di biotecnologie. E la tendenza non è certo confortante: rispetto all’indagine condotta nel 2000 aumentano quanti ammettono la propria ignoranza in proposito (in media quattro italiani su dieci). L’informazione, in ogni caso influisce scarsamente sul giudizio che gli italiani danno alle applicazioni della biotecnologia, che non è significativamente influenzato né dal livello di esposizione alla divulgazione scientifica dei media, né dal livello di informazione effettivamente posseduto in materia. L’elemento che conta sembra essere in questo caso la fiducia nella scienza: il 34% dei più fiduciosi ritiene per esempio utile la clonazione riproduttiva, mentre tra i meno fiduciosi la percentuale è dimezzata.

Per conoscere i risultati completi dell’indagine 2001 scarica il rapporto (in formato PDF, ca. 300 KB)

L’indagine è stata condotta sotto la supervisione scientifica di Federico Neresini (Università di Padova), Massimiano Bucchi (Università di Trento) e Giuseppe Pellegrini (Università di Padova).

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