Brussels, 15 Nov 2002
On 14 November, the European collaborative for science, industry and technology exhibitions (ECSITE) launched BIONET, an online project to encourage public debate on controversial ethical, legal and social issues in the field of contemporary life sciences.
The multi-lingual website has been developed by eight European science centres, and is funded under the human potential subsection of the Commission's Fifth Framework Programme.
Six topical life science issues that raise profound ethical, legal and social dilemmas are introduced on the site. These include: the latest research on stem cell technology, new methods for extending human life, genetically modified foods, the impact of HIV on society and the progress of drug treatments, the ownership of DNA information, and so-called designer babies.
Visitors to the website can study the latest scientific techniques and participate in online debates, as well as play interactive games, watch animations and videos and complete thematic quizzes. Online votes are also planned for the future.
Information on the site includes a comprehensive overview of the legal situation in eight countries, of the issues covered, and a programme of events at each participating institution where citizens can join experts for live discussions and debates.