Genetically modified animals from life-science, socio-economic and ethical perspectives: Examining issues in an EU policy context

L. J. Frewer*, G. A. Kleter, M. Brennan, D. Coles, A. R. H. Fischer, L. M. Houdebine, C. Mora, K. Millar, B. Salter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The interdisciplinary EC consortium (the PEGASUS project) aimed to examine the issues raised by the development, implementation and commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) animals, and derivative foods and pharmaceutical products. The results integrated existing social (including existing public perception) environmental and economic knowledge regarding GM animals to formulate policy recommendations relevant to new developments and applications. The use of GM in farmed animals (aquatic, terrestrial and pharmaceutical) was mapped and reviewed. A foresight exercise was conducted to identity future developments. Three case studies (aquatic, terrestrial and pharmaceutical) were applied to identify the issues raised, including the potential risks and benefits of GM animals from the perspectives of the production chain (economics and agri-food sector) and the life sciences (human and animal health, environmental impact, animal welfare and sustainable production). Ethical and policy concerns were examined through application of combined ethical matrix method and policy workshops. The case studies were also used to demonstrate the utility of public engagement in the policy process. The results suggest that public perceptions, ethical issues, the competitiveness of EU animal production and risk-benefit assessments that consider human and animal health, environmental impact and sustainable production need to be considered in EU policy development. Few issues were raised with application in the pharmaceutical sector, assuming ethical and economic issues were addressed in policy, but the introduction of agricultural GM animal applications should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-460
Number of pages14
JournalNew Biotechnology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2013


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