Academic journal article Education

Awareness of Biotechnological Application: A Study among University Geography Students

Academic journal article Education

Awareness of Biotechnological Application: A Study among University Geography Students

Article excerpt

Last decades, most researchers have focused on biotechnology and it is applicatons which is effects on people, animal, and plants, however their geographical environment was overlooked. People have different idea about biotechnogy and its application on living organism. This issue is dilemma because some people think that biotechnology help human; but, other people think that biotechnogy have negative effects on living organism. (Ozel, Erdogan, Usak, Prokop, 2008, Lamanusas, Makarskaite-Petkeviciene, 2008)

Modern biotechnological processes are being continuously adapted for the production of crops, foods and pharmaceuticals which has lead to an increase in discussion about the benefits, or otherwise, of the technology (Cavanagh, Hood, Wilkinson, 2005, Sturgis, Cooper, & Fife-Schaw, 2005).

It has further been suggested that an increased understanding of biotechnology will assist people in making more informed decisions about this technology (Harms, 2002).The main aims of the genetic modification of products are purported to include the decreased use of synthetic chemicals (e.g., pesticides), increased yields, the ability to grow crops in previously inhospitable environments, and better nutritional properties of foods (e.g., "golden rice" with vitamin A) (Harlander, 2002). However, transportation of genetic material from one organism to another raised several ethical and political questions that are target of critique. Critics point out that companiens involved with genetic modification stand to make large profits this technology and it may pose risks for the environment and human health.

Biotechnology can be viewed as a typical example of high perception of risk (Slovic, 1987). DNA technologies were perceived to be very similar to hazards such as nuclear energy, radioactive waste, electromagnetic fields, and other technologies that use rays or chemical substances (Savadori et al., 2004). Although several studies deny the possibility of serious health hazards from the use of genetically modified (GM) foods (Jones, Clarke-Hill, Hillier & Shears, 2000), GM foods and crops claim to offer a range of benefits to a variety of beneficiaries, including higher productivity and lower pesticide costs for consumers; less environmental pollution from pesticides and herbicides, and new crop varieties to ameliorate hunger in developing countries (Welser, 1991).

Until to today, accountable study in this area has been analyze, in particular, students' knowledge of and attitudes towards biotechnology in Turkey. Ozel et al. (2008) reveal that high school students are not knowledgeable enough in agrobiotechnology, environment, biotechnology and food production, whereas they are well-informed about biotechnology, human health and pharmacy.

As mentioned above, although these studies have examined the development of school students' understanding of knowledge and attitudes toward biotechnology. Nevertheless, none of them investigated university school students' relationship between attitudes and knowledge toward biotechnology explicitly. Currently, Turkey still does not legalize GM products, but, on the other hand, biotechnology is a priority area for Turkey in near future (Severcan et al., 2000). This means that Turkish inhabitants do not have personal experiences with buying genetically engineered products, but they are partly influected by science curriculum that contains basic biotechnology topics although teaching Mendelian genetics and other parts of classic genetics greatly exceeds modern trends in genetic engineering. Turkish citizens are in conflict between impact by media that introduce biotechnology research and discoveries to general public (Severcan et al., 2000) on one hand, and by unfamiliarity with genetically engineered products that greatly influences perception of them (Savadori et al., 2004) on the other hand. An intriguing question, whether are Turkish citizens ready for introduction of genetically engineered products to their country and what is their perceptions of genetically engineered products therefore arises. …

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