Relationship between genome science and society has changed dramatically in the last several years. Human genome research is focusing on the diversity of individual genomes. For the organisms other than human, complete genome sequences of more than 200 species of animals, plants and microorganisms have been released. Genome research now has influence on much wider areas of society than before.

In order to get maximum benefit of genome research, it is necessary for genome science community to communicate with people in a variety of sectors of society. The genome science group (GS) supported by the Grant-in-Aid program for Scientific Research on Priority Areas from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan consists of more than 150 research groups of scientists. Among them, eight groups are dealing with social issues of genome science. Some are studying ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) and others are conducting surveys of opinions of the general public and researchers. Our research group, as one of the eight, is focusing on the practical method of public communication between genome scientists and non-specialists. We have organized a pubic event, ‘Genome Square’ from 2002 to 2004, which consists of lectures, panel discussions and exhibitions by genome scientists. More than 1300 scientists participated and the number of visitors was about 9700 in total. Next events are due to be held in the autumn of 2006. Based on the past experience, we plan to modify the program to have more bi-directional dialogue and exchanges of opinions between scientists and non-specialists.

In this presentation, we will report: 1) How the GS deals with the ELSI and communication with the society, 2) What we learned from the ‘Genome Square’ event and how we plan to improve it to have more effective communication.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Genome research and communication with the public in Japan

Kazuto Kato   Institute for Research in Humanities

Makina Kato   Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto

Kei Kano   Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto

Hayato Motokosh   Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto

Relationship between genome science and society has changed dramatically in the last several years. Human genome research is focusing on the diversity of individual genomes. For the organisms other than human, complete genome sequences of more than 200 species of animals, plants and microorganisms have been released. Genome research now has influence on much wider areas of society than before.

In order to get maximum benefit of genome research, it is necessary for genome science community to communicate with people in a variety of sectors of society. The genome science group (GS) supported by the Grant-in-Aid program for Scientific Research on Priority Areas from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan consists of more than 150 research groups of scientists. Among them, eight groups are dealing with social issues of genome science. Some are studying ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) and others are conducting surveys of opinions of the general public and researchers. Our research group, as one of the eight, is focusing on the practical method of public communication between genome scientists and non-specialists. We have organized a pubic event, ‘Genome Square’ from 2002 to 2004, which consists of lectures, panel discussions and exhibitions by genome scientists. More than 1300 scientists participated and the number of visitors was about 9700 in total. Next events are due to be held in the autumn of 2006. Based on the past experience, we plan to modify the program to have more bi-directional dialogue and exchanges of opinions between scientists and non-specialists.

In this presentation, we will report: 1) How the GS deals with the ELSI and communication with the society, 2) What we learned from the ‘Genome Square’ event and how we plan to improve it to have more effective communication.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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