Salmon Genes & Deliberative Democracy

From the Tyee: Salmon Genes, Discuss

Fish is not something that usually makes us tense, but we didn’t know what to expect.

We had invited 26 regular B.C. folk to Vancouver to discuss their hopes and concerns for sequencing the salmon genome. That is, obtaining all the genes in a salmon.

Fine topic for scientists, maybe policy makers, and perhaps salmon farmers. But for retired factory workers, students, nurses and everyday you and me, what would we talk about when we heard Canada, Norway and Chile are planning to decipher the genetic code of the Atlantic salmon?

If you’re perplexed by the topic choice, we prayed they wouldn’t be. But we were edgy since we hadn’t been at many parties where salmon genetics led the conversation. Now we take hope from a comment of one invited guest on what such a gathering of citizens can yield: “Scientists can teach us and maybe we can teach the scientists….”

The page for the research project is here: Sequencing the Salmon Genome: A Deliberative Public Engagement.


About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
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