Responsible innovation and political accountability: genetically modified mosquitoes in Brazil
de Campos, A
de Koning, C
Journal of Responsible Innovation
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
In this paper, we analyse the introduction of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes in Brazil and use this case to probe the notion of Responsible Innovation and its applicability to the development of new public health biotechnologies in the global South. OX513A, a strain of GM Aedes aegypti mosquitoes developed by the British firm Oxitec, has been used experimentally in Brazil since 2009, when it was imported into the country as a promising new tool in the fight against dengue. We discuss the regulatory history of OX513A in Brazil, as well as the forms of ‘community engagement’ that have accompanied the release of transgenic mosquitoes. We argue that the conduct of a scientific research project is only part of a broader effort to localise insect biotechnology in Brazil, an effort that has enjoyed very visible support from political authorities across the country. We conclude by arguing that if the framework of Responsible Innovation is to have purchase on this sort of transnational and multifaceted innovation trajectory, it has to include at its centre a strong notion of political accountability.
Research by Javier Lezaun was supported by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme [grant number 263447: BioProperty]. Research by Sarah Hartley was supported by the Leverhulme Trust ‘Making Science Public’ programme [grant number RP2011-SP-013].
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor & Francis via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 4 (1), pp. 5-23