The controversy over genetically modified organisms in the UK came to a head with the publication of three official reports in May 1999. A review of the three reports leads to the suggestion that the controversy is exacerbated in part by the conflation of three sets of issues: the underlying uncertainty of the physical processes involved, the nature of scientific investigation and the social context surrounding scientific research. This has implications for the nature of scientific research, and the relationship between research and policy.
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