For the past several decades, the grand narratives of biotechnology as a key pillar in the knowledge-based economy or in national innovation strategies have pervaded policy documents in many countries. The visions promoted in many of these policy papers have centred on the rapidly advancing knowledge and its impact on individual organisms and ecosystems, with consequences from agriculture and food production, to medicine, forestry, and environmental resources and protection. As the knowledge base has grown exponentially, societal reflections have lagged behind. The experience of biotechnology in various countries has demonstrated that such reflections and the mechanisms that provide for these have occurred during commercialization, when early products came to market. By then, such reflective activities undertaken by different publics took place against a backdrop of controversies. These reflections, afterthoughts and responses have occurred in many forms – from letters to the media, to demonstrations on the streets, networking with like-minded groups, to political pressure on politicians and regulatory officials.