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Americans and Russians share strikingly similar views on GMOs

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

When faced with something new, Russian lawmakers have generally found it easier to ban it than to debate it….A case in point: Russia’s [2016] legislation banning any production of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)….

The passage two years ago of the law….[was meant] to protect Russia’s slowly reviving agricultural sector from becoming dependent on seeds produced by big US biotechnology firms like Monsanto….

“Polls show about 75 percent of Russians are suspicious of GMOs, so it’s easy for politicians to take this step,” says Pavel Volchkov, head of the genome engineering laboratory at the state-funded Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. “But not many people are actively against GMOs; it’s just that most don’t know anything about the subject. There has been a lot of negative media attention, which influences the public mood….”

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Even in the United States, where GMO products are most prevalent, suspicions remain high. Two years ago, the US enacted a GMO-transparency law similar to Russia’s under public pressure.

Indeed, despite very different legislation and official attitudes toward GMOs, the public profiles of the US and Russia are not all that different. Polls show that while 90 percent of US scientists support GMOs, only 30 percent of Americans express “trust,” and there is a lot of vocal opposition to them.

Read full, original article: Russia’s GMO debate looks a lot like America’s – with more geopolitics

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