Brussels, 17 April 2002
An international conference on the human genome has heard that total transparency in research is vital if the public are see the work of geneticists and cell technologists in a positive light.
The calls for transparency came following reports of controversial cloning research at two centres in China and concern on the part of US President George Bush at some of the experiments being done in his country's privately funded laboratories.
'I think scientists have a duty to tell the public that we are producing many, many interesting results first,' Professor Kazuto Kato from Japan's Kyoto University told the meeting. 'Scientists have to explain what can be done and what cannot be done correctly, so that people can judge what controversial news means,' he said.
Professor Kato criticised scare mongering by journalists, blaming inaccuracy on the desire to sell newspapers or raise viewing figures. He added, however, that some scientists' reluctance to communicate with the public is also unhelpful.
'I'm trying to convince many international scientists to follow my suggestions an show the public what work they do,' he said, adding that this is not likely to be an easy task.
For further information on the conference, please consult the following web address: http://www.hgm2002.org